At the Berlin Bike Show we caught a glimpse of some simple colorful backpacks made by hand in a workshop back in Prague where our European team is based. So when we got back from the show we figured we’d see about getting a closer look at the bags. Made to order in a workshop in the Czech capital, Braasi Industries is a small shop started a couple of years back by a couple of young designers. Their bags are mostly focused around the pretty standard roll-top design, but with some colorful fabrics based on contemporary wallpaper designs and some long-wearing military grade fabric and accessories. We borrowed this limited edition yellow, white & gray flowered PaperJoe bag to get around town for a few weeks to see what makes their bags tick…
With the popularity of their well-made bags they’ve already expanded a couple of times, and a currently about to make another move into a bigger workshop in the heart of the city as they look to double the number of machines and seamstresses putting together the bags.
The PaperJoe takes its name from the company of a friend of Braasi, who designs wallpaper. The two companies worked together the adapt the designs to be printed on a water-resistant nylon that Braasi sews into these limited edition bags. We we stopped by their workshop they had 9 different versions that they were working with, but said that the collaboration was ongoing, and as the went through the each batch of fabric they could adapt a new design.
The PaperJoe is one of their smaller bags, just 16l in size, and uses a simple roll-down top with a single buckle to secure it. It is lined with a second, more slippery gray nylon that makes getting stuff inside and out easy. We’ve been using it mostly to cart a 15″ MacBook Pro back and forth to the office, along with an extra layer and some small accessories. The back gets a simple padded back and padded shoulder straps, and three small open pockets inside for a bit of organization, plus a small external pocket hidden at the top of the shoulder straps that fits incidentals like a wallet & phone. There is no sternum strap or waist belt on this bag which is designed more as an urban accessory. That said we have carried in aback and forth on the bike a number of times and the small, compact size has kept it in place for the most part. We haven’t used it much more on the bike this spring though, as with the wet dirty roads this time of year, we’re a bit afraid to get this light-colored print dirty. We are however quite happy with the materials and construction, and look forward to spending more time on the bike with a variant more suited to our grimy exploits.