It wasn’t that I was looking for a bag. Heck, the entire under-the-stair compartment in my home is filled with luggage options, but this is how we met…
So it was that time of year again – Winter Outdoor Retailer show. For most of you, this won’t mean anything at all, but for the past 20-years I’ve attended what is affectionately known as the O.R. show, twice a year – winter and summer. Winter is a big show for me, because as the owner of SnowshoeUtah.com all my main contacts and gear reviews happen at this show.
I’m on the last appointment for the week and I’m meeting with Alli Noland of Terra Public Relations, not because I think she has a great line, in fact, I’m not even sure which lines she is representing at the moment, but more because we are friends. We’ve worked together over the years so I’ll check in with her just to see what she’s got and if any of her companies line up with my press outlets.
I walk into Eagle Creek at our allotted meeting time and she’s talking with someone else, so I meander, pretend to take pictures of her with my phone, sit at a table close by and stare at her to see if she’ll feel the stare. She does, and without taking her eyes off the man she is speaking to she says, “Lori, get over here and listen in. I’ve got some great bags to show you.” Bags? Yes, Eagle Creek is about making travel bags, and snowshoers definitely need bags to carry their snowshoes, but I’m not sold that it will be a good match. We don’t usually review bags.
The guy sitting next to her is a big guy, apparently getting ready to head out on some set of adventures, and though he keeps babbling on about this and that, once I lock eyes on the Cargo Hauler Duffle I don’t hear anything he says. Alli hands it to me to heft. It’s so light I can hardly feel the weight. Made of some super light-weight abrasion resistant fabric (which I later learn is also waterproof) it floats in my hands–similar to melting on your tongue. And, here’s the best part, handles. Yes, handles. It has reinforced grab handles on the sides so I can heft it like a tray. It has backpack straps on the back so I can picture myself running (slow motion) between airport terminals with this carry-on on my back. And, it has a side handle so you can carry it like a suitcase. My heavens, I can manhandle this bag anyway I need to. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the colors were exciting too – red, blue, green, orange and black. I couldn’t find one thing I didn’t like about this new bag. This was bound to be the start of a lovely relationship, BUT, I didn’t really need it – I wasn’t going anywhere.
Flash forward – Two weeks later I’m booking my trip to the Bahamas (the one I wrote about in the last blog). “Yes!” I thought! I’m going to buy those bags for all three of us (me and my two boys). “Pick your color,” I announced, excited as I pictured each of us with bright new carry-ons. What a cool gift to go along with the trip. They both chose black. What??? “Look at all these fabulous colors,” I crowed. To no avail. They wanted black. Well, spoiler alert, in the end I got all the colors I wanted because when I went to order they were out of stock. In rides Alli on her white horse and rescues me, heck, rescues the cool idea of new bags for our trip. “I’ll send you my samples,” she says. (Hear hero music playing in the background.) She pulled her samples in gorgeous candy-apple red, bright blue, and a limey green and overnighted them via Fed-Ex. We got them on Thursday, we flew out on Saturday, and every leg of that trip we were in love with those bags. Yup, not just me, but my boys too. Just as I had pictured, they were easy to carry on our backs through the airport. I think we made quite the site with the three of us carrying the same bag on our back, just in different colors. Very family. We used the side handles for tossing them on the bed. We used the top handle to hand them over to the luggage loaders on the cruise ship. Always a handle. Oh ya, and with the two big side pockets we could separate swimming suits from books, sunscreen and snacks from toiletries. And it’s a darn good thing because I took a boiled egg to the beach, didn’t eat it, and it ended up being smashed in a side pocket. No problem. Cleaned up super easy and didn’t get on my book, passport, or towel. Damn, I love that bag.
They say to really get to know someone you need to travel with them. That’s how you’ll know if you can really get along. That’s where you see their quirks. Well, I’m still in love, after 6 days on planes, scooters, cruise ships, and shuttle buses. I think it’s going to be a permanent thing. Eagle Creek and I now have a relationship, and more specifically my cargo hauler duffle and I shall have many great adventures ahead. So, why am I telling you about this? Yes, it’s because I want to give a shout out to Alli and Eagle Creek for their part in this story, but honestly, even more so it’s because I want you to know about this super, duper cool bag that is the right size to fit as a carry-on on the plane, but also has lots of space in it, is easy to carry, flashy fun and super durable. Best and most favoritest (I know that’s not a word) bag in the stash under my stairs. Just sharing the love here.