Ditto for the duffel bag: The brand’s Airstream model bag is the shape of its namesake camping trailer, though the futuristic case is made from material used on yacht sails.
Founded by a group of competitive sailors in 1997, the made-in-the-USA products from RAGGEDedge stand out in a sea of sameness. The company designs luggage tags, sunglass cases, checkbook covers, bags, and billfolds — categories that do not often see innovation.
But by using technical sailcloth as their base fabric the products are both strong and functional. They are good-looking and unique enough to be described as artsy. Caveat: The prices (to keep with the nautical theme) are slightly off the charts.
For $65, the brand’s Bifold ID wallet is advertised to last a decade or more with hard daily use. Mine is a month old but still shiny, crisp and new.
The wallet’s durability comes from a carbon-fiber laminate sailcloth material and strong, “triple-step” stitching, as the company calls it.
I like the wallet’s unusual look, and I get lots of comments along the lines of “cool billfold!” when taking it out at stores to pay.
The Airstream duffel bag is an even more unusual creature. It’s far pricier, too, at an off-the-deep-end cost of $375.
I am not sure why it’s so much money, but for what it’s worth the duffel is neat: Its flexible, waterproof material is slick to the touch and semi-translucent, letting light glow through.
Big-tooth zippers seal it up, and there’s a neoprene pad on the handle straps for grip. The bag is strong and can haul heavy loads. Or use it as carry-on luggage.
You can hose it off if dirty — mud and grime cannot easily stick to the sailcloth bottom. But it’s not waterproof. Drops flow right through the zipper, where water can pool inside. Despite being designed by sailors, this is not a technical product for use in marine environments.
In the end, the products from RAGGEDedge Gear, all handmade in a Floyd, Va., studio, lean far into the “artisanal” end of the outdoor equipment spectrum.
I love that the crew is pushing limits with design and material types. Despite the fact that I don’t have the “clams” to afford most of what they sell.