The Launch: Archival Clothing Roll Top


As regular readers of this site already know, I’m a huge fan of the Portland, OR based blog-turned-brand Archival Clothing. So, when they asked me if I would premiere their newest offering here on Well Spent, my answer was a very honored and enthusiastic yes. Wanting the introduction to be a good one, I’ve asked AC co-founder and lead designer Tom Bonamici to answer some questions about the release, which, all fanboy-worship aside, is looking to be one of the co.’s best yet. And now, without further ado, it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to the brand new Archival Clothing Roll Top.


Well Spent: What is it?
Tom Bonamici: It’s a simple, mid-sized backpack with a roll-top closure and a few pockets inside and out.


What’s good about it?
Like all of our baggage, it’s made in Oregon by a family-owned sewing contractor’s shop, the same folks we’ve worked with from the start. It’s made from highly water resistant canvas duck, mil-spec cotton webbing, and Horween leather.


Why’d you make it?
As a cyclist and (very) occasional kayaker, I’ve used quite a few roll-top bags and backpacks. Roll-tops are so easy to use, super expandable, and beautifully simple. But when they’re made of a truly watertight material, they can get musty inside, and those materials don’t always have a very friendly hand. So I always loved the closure, and was eager to take a stab at doing a roll-top with our beloved natural materials.


Why do I want it?
Even though it’s made of cotton canvas, it’s still seriously water-resistant and totally appropriate for the daily cyclist. Also, since the canvas can breathe, your stuff doesn’t come out of the bag smelling like a musty truck tarp – which can definitely happen with a completely watertight bag. The outside pockets are perfect for a mini U-lock, keys, or a cell phone, and the outside attachment point can hold a blinkie light or, with some string and imagination, just about anything else! Finally, it’s simple to use, comfortable to wear, and tough enough to last the long haul.


Anything else I should know?
I found out that I was on to something when I was testing out the first prototype. The first ones are always quick and dirty, just to test the idea and get a handle on rough dimensions. So my first roll top prototype was sewn fast and sloppy of some bright yellow fabric I had kicking around the shop. But the first day I wore it out, I got complements from just about everyone – my barber, a couple of teenagers, a homeless guy, a college professor, a professional violinist. That was definitely encouraging!


For price and purchase info, visit Archival Clothing.