Twitter Contest: Ethnotek Handwoven Backpacks

by Michelle Schusterman Aug 1, 2011
Matador is giving away three backpacks courtesy of Ethnotek.

A few weeks back we announced that Matador community member Jake Orak’s awesome new company had launched. Ethnotek creates backpacks with beautiful, removable front pieces, called THREADS, that are handwoven and dyed by indigenous tribes – and we’re giving three of them away.

I got to check out the Guatemala woven bag; honestly one of the loveliest bags I’ve ever seen. All the THREADS for Ethnotek’s bags come from different places and have their own stories, and the Guatemala bag is no different. Says Jake:

“It speaks to the “tribe” portion of our brand. Because we can’t be everywhere at once, we team up with fellow travelers, NGOs and fair-trade fabric sourcing agents around the globe to find these amazing textiles. Guatemala 1 fabric was sourced by an American ETK tribe member who travels all over the world and grew up off and on in Guatemala most of her life. When she’s not traveling she lives and operates a small import boutique in Boulder, Colorado.”

It takes more than a few weeks to really test out a backpack, but I’ve done what I can. What has my Ethnotek bag been through so far?

1. Shoved in a public locker for hours
2. Crammed with the sweatiest gym clothes and drippingest swimsuits possible
3. Attacked by a lab who suddenly, after five hours in the backseat with it, realized it concealed a sack of dog food
4. Transported drumset hardware (a serious test of strength)
5. Survived an epic mosquito attack (I didn’t fare so well)
6. Made for a great cushion when I finally pulled the Explorer over, popped the back, and spent the evening writing at the edge of a quiet lake

I’ve made use of as many of the bag’s features as possible. The zipper pocket on the right side – perfect spot to stash my iPhone. The slip pocket on the right is great for headphones, and the mesh pocket on the left is actually deep enough to hold my weirdly long BPA-free water bottle. Yoga mat strapped to the bag with compression snap-buckle straps – check. 15” Macbook in the laptop compartment – check. All manner of clothes, shoes, dog dishes, towels, balls and bones, journals and pens, fruit and kibble stuffed in the main compartment – check.

I mentioned the front panel, the THREAD, is removable, which means it’s also replaceable. Ethnotek doesn’t request certain fabrics and designs from these workers, they just show up and see what looks cool, meaning all bags are limited editions. If a new THREAD pops up that catches your eye, maybe something from Indonesia or India, you don’t need to buy a new bag – THREADS are sold separately, ranging from $29 to $99.

I don’t throw the word “unique” around often, but I’ll do it here – Ethnotek is a unique company with a unique product, well worth checking out.

Contest closed

And the winners are…

Winner #1: Evan Hindle

Winner #2: Timothy Coles

Winner #3: Christina Fields

Congratulations! Stay tuned for more Goods giveaways.

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