The vacation equipment market lost a hefty hitter yesterday, as Eagle Creek declared that it will shut down operations by the finish of this calendar year. Its mum or dad corporation, VF Corporation, the Colorado-based mostly conglomerate that owns other huge out of doors names like the North Experience and Altra, available scant aspects about the factors that led to the brand’s demise, just indicating that holding the label functioning “no for a longer time can make strategic or money perception.” As a recurrent traveler and operator of quite a few Eagle Creek-stamped luggage, I’m remaining to mourn the 100-liter-sized gap in higher-quality, rugged vacation gear.
All through its just about 50 years in small business, Eagle Creek, which was began by Steve and Nona Barker in San Jacinto, California, in 1975, became renowned in the tough-riding journey journey community for the sturdiness and progressive structure of its luggage, backpacks, and components. In the course of my time as a journey editor and equipment reviewer, I have analyzed a lot more than 50 percent a dozen Eagle Creek choices, which includes the bombproof Cargo Hauler duffel, the adaptable Switchback carry-on, and the smart Wayfinder backpack. I was usually amazed by the thoughtful layout facts: not like some other vacation manufacturers, whose products contain bells and whistles that present little practical value, it is crystal clear that the minds powering Eagle Creek’s creations are vacationers themselves and that they imagined tough about what would truly work best on the road. For illustration, the Wayfinder’s hidden tech pocket has a cord go-as a result of among the shoulder strap and laptop compartment for charging your cellular phone on the go from a powerbank. I’ve edited a lot of writers who swear by the brand’s hardiness, including a person whose luggage has held up for about a 10 years. The brand’s Caldera International Have-On, an update of the Switchback, even nabbed one of Outside’s coveted Equipment of the Yr awards.
Away from my desk and out on the highway, I’d normally obtain myself inventing products in my head that I wished existed (this sort of as a wheeled carry-on with backpack straps and a zip-out personalized item), only to obtain that Eagle Creek by now produced it. My favourite case in point of this phenomenon is the Pack-It Isolate packing dice. Lengthy plagued by my two arch nemeses—overpacking and a absence of organization—I dreamt of a dice that didn’t choose up cherished bag room, could compress items down to 50 % their sizing, and showed what was within. Eagle Creek, of system, built this far too.
No other merchandise in my several years of tests and globetrotting has improved the way I traveled as significantly as this packing cube. At all-around two ounces each individual, the Pack-Its punch well higher than their pounds when it comes to functionality—I would like I had them when I was residing out of a backpack in Asia and Australia for additional than three years. The compression zippers permitted me to squeeze a week’s worthy of of outfits into a suitcase typically intended for a couple times, saving me additional than a several checked bag service fees. Their stand-out element, though, is so evident I simply cannot imagine it is not conventional almost everywhere: they are translucent, so I can know what’s in the cube with no opening it. That, mixed with the wide variety of dimensions and models that will allow me to organize clothes by day or use, has saved me a great number of minutes of unpacking and repacking as I transfer from location to put. Basically speaking, this intended that when my mom rushed to squeeze all the things back again into her suitcase as we hopped accommodations in Italy, I was enjoying my 3rd espresso down in the café. Listening to the information about Eagle Creek’s downfall experienced me pondering how many Pack-Its I could obtain in bulk in advance of they disappear endlessly.
Extended before they perfected the packing cube, Eagle Creek begun out creating customized backpacks. In 2007, the company was acquired by VF Company, with the goal of turning humble beginnings into a $100 million brand name. It is unclear regardless of whether the COVID-19 pandemic’s decimation of the worldwide vacation sector had a hand in the brand’s sudden disintegration. Though some employment will be eradicated, VF Corporation says many Eagle Creek staffers will be shifted to sister brands like Jansport and Eastpak.
I, for one, will be unhappy to see Eagle Creek’s logo disappear from shelves it is a single of the several luggage companies that almost confirmed a a person-time acquire. The brand’s “No Make any difference What” warranty—which integrated alternative or repair service of many products and solutions, irrespective of the cause of failure—was just one of the couple of left in the company right after L.L. Bean and REI introduced that they were being ending equivalent return programs in current a long time. It’s not obvious if or how VF Company will honor that warranty now (the company did not react to a ask for for remark). Irrespective, I hope that Eagle Creek’s staff will have on the spirit of the brand’s easy-nonetheless-major innovations and obtain-it-for-life quality at other labels in the field.