San Francisco Cool and as tough as Pittsburgh Steel
When I was 14, my parents bought a SAAB 900. I thought it was rad. It didn’t look like anything else on the road.
Bear with me. This is about a Mission backpack.
It was 1984. The big three were rolling the worst cars in American history off the lines in Detroit and I guess my parents wanted something with more grace and less maintenance.
That summer my grandfather came to visit. When we picked him up at the airport he took one look at the car and grimaced.
“What is this?,” he said with true abhorrence. “Why didn’t you buy American?”
Grandpa Stephen had true grit and hands built like sledge-hammers. He emigrated from (escaped) the Ukraine during the First World War. He was just a grommet at the time. He toughed in out in America—went on to serve in the next World War—and forged a career as a steelworker in Pittsburgh, PA. For grandpa, made in America wasn’t just a sticker on a product. It was beyond pride and definitely wasn’t a marketing pitch. It was about jobs and economy and his true dedication to the country that gave him a second chance at life.
I think I’m finally starting to truly appreciate that now. Outsourcing all production to China—as great as it may seem to get cheap labor so we can all afford more stuff—in the end just means we’re sending a portion of any value created to China or somewhere else.
When I see a company like Mission Workshop step up, start a cottage industry from the ground up and create something of value from hard work, great ideas, and superb quality, I take notice. This is good for us all. And don’t complain about the price: it represents the true cost of making such a fine product.
The Mission Rambler backpack is their medium sized pack. It can expand from a compact, back-hugging 1350 cubic inches to a generous 2500 cubic inches. The roll top design allows for easy loading while keeping the entire pack watertight when closed. When fully expanded you could stuff this pack with a load of groceries, change of clothes and extra shoes, and still have room for your laptop.
The Rambler has two weatherproof compartments—one is just right for a laptop—an expandable cargo compartment, a large roll top pocket and a small external accessory pocket (perfect size for a phone or wad of cash). All the zippers are urethane coated, the straps and buckles are sturdy and the pack is built with a wide stance to sit snug against your back while you dodge through traffic.
The pack is built with bike-commuting in mind but it’s a great travel pack too. The only thing it could use is possibly another small internal pocket for keys or change as the external accessory pocket fills up quickly. The design-sensitive individual will appreciate the stealth, straight-up style of the pack.
Just holding the pack in your hands, the quality is tangible. The Made in USA tag on this Mission Workshop pack is honored with the quality of workmanship those words are expected to represent. Mission Workshop makes a ton of other similarly well-made goods from messenger bags, jackets, and even sick looking shoes. And they back it all up with a lifetime warranty.
The Mission Rambler Packs are built as tough as Pittsburg steel. I’m sure my Grandfather would approve.—B. Riepe
Price: $239 missionworkshop.com