Sam Davy of travel bag company Crumpler, tells Elisabeth King the things to look for when choosing your luggage.
Even celebs don’t travel well. Some schlep shabby bags, while others never lean to pack light. But there’s no need to travel with more suitcases than the Rolling Stones’ road crew, says Sam Davy, Brand Director of Crumpler.
Davy knows a lot about focusing on practicality and high-tech design. The softly-spoken Englishman was the Global Director of Apple Inc for over six years. The Crumpler story is as much of a maverick tale as Apple’s. In the early 90s, founders Dave Roper and Will Miller were operating a courier company in Melbourne called Minuteman. Tired of bags that didn’t go the distance, they roped in one of their couriers, Stuart Crumpler, to whip up the first of the brand’s signature striped messenger bags. Today, Crumpler sells over a million bags a year in 300 stores worldwide, including 14 Crumpler shops in Australia and standalone stores in key global cities such as New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Shanghai.
Davy joined the tight-knit Crumpler team in Melbourne five years ago and has pioneered the brand’s move into ‘serious’ luggage. “My goal is for us to be known as a real travel company – travel and technology.”
What should men look for when choosing a good travel bag?
The handles and grab points. Apart from zips, the first things to break on a bag are the handles. Always check how the handles are attached and how firmly on wheelies, carry-ons and suitcases.
Many men try to stay fit when they travel. Has this trend impacted on bag choice?
For sure. Backpacks have made a strong comeback because today’s models are ergonomically better and don’t put so much strain on the shoulders. They’re as good for going to the gym or for cycling to work at home, as they are overseas on a morning jog. You simply can’t beat a backpack for stowing a change of clothes, a laptop, a camera and your smart phone.
Are trends in bags global or local?
Seventy-five per cent of trends are global. There’s local nuances mainly based on body size. There’s local nuances mainly based on body size. Black is still the go-to colour worldwide with red coming in a distant second. We’ve also seen a trend towards bigger suitcases in Australia because the continuing strength of the dollar means that shopping is a priority for business and leisure travellers.
Crumpler’s hard-case collection called Vis-a-Vis. What’s different about it?
It’s a four bag line-up with great appeal for men. There’s an attache case, cabin bag, medium and large trunks. All the bags are made from a lightweight custom polycarbonate/ABS blend and come in black gloss or black gloss with orange strips for easy identification. One of the biggest bugbears when travelling is a burst zip on your bag, so we’ve designed safety straps that take the pressure off the zip when the case is closed. The Vis-a-Vis collection has a patent-pending clothes compression system, so nothing moves after you close the bag.
What’s your best-selling travel bag?
The Dry Red No 5. It’s a multi-tasking backpack that’s good for business and leisure travellers. There’s a mini office organiser in the front, a padded sleeve for your laptop at the rear and an expandable cargo space for extras picked up on a trip. It’s a real guy’s bag with a side access that allows you to get straight to the laptop so you can get through airport security quickly.