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Founded by siblings Leonie and Fabian Stein, German-Australian sustainable brand WAYKS first hit the travel scene when it launched its Kickstarter campaign in September 2018. After a successful campaign, the company shipped its first lot of travel bags in March 2019. Since then, WAYKS has enjoyed organic growth, worn and coveted by sustainable fashion advocates and mindful adventurers alike.
Designed for the style-conscious traveler, Berlin-based WAYKS produces a minimalist range of contemporary travel and outdoor gear. Its signature product, the 45-litre WAYKS ONE is an all-in-one sustainable Travel Backpack made up of several modular components:
- Day Pack Original with removable back panel, padded and simple shoulder straps; and
- the WAYKS Cube Original with hip belt and shoulder strap.
Thus, the WAYKS ONE can be separated into a smaller, lighter Day Pack and stand-alone camera/cooler bag.
Most of the WAYKS travel products are made from a recycled PET that is bluesign approved (meaning that it at each step in the textile supply chain chemicals, processes, materials and products are deemed environmentally friendly and socially responsible) and all products are manufactured in a Fair Wear Foundation recognised factory in Vietnam.
Each Travel Backpack consists of roughly 30 recycled plastic bottles and is free from PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, a harmful chemical often found in waterproof fabrics and other products such as non-stick cookware, carpets and electronics because of their oil- and water-resistant properties.
As part of EWP’s ongoing partnership with WAYKS, I received a gift of the The Travel Bundle Original which included all the WAYKS ONE components plus additional items. These are the precise parts I received:
- Day Pack Torso
- Bottom Cover
- Back Panel
- Padded Straps
- Simple Straps
- Chest Strap
- Cube Torso
- Cube Shoulder Strap
- Hip Belt Padding
- Waist Belt Straps
- Mat Strap
- Small and Large Compression Packing Cubes
- Cube Inlay Original Insert
- Rain and Luggage Cover
Initially overwhelmed with the number of bits and pieces requiring assembly, after reading through the detailed instructions provided (filled with many step-by-step images), realised that what looked complex at first glance was much simpler to assemble than I first thought.
What I love about WAYKS
It’s a versatile travel backpack that comes with padding in all the right places (back, hip, shoulder straps) and contains many inner compartments, mesh and zip pockets for easy storage of digital accessories such as chargers and earphones, drink bottles and even your laptop. When you combine all the modular components together to form a complete backpack, it’s useful for carrying bigger loads.
As I am teeny tiny, standing at 5’2, I much prefer to lighten the load and separate the modular pieces by carrying the lighter Day Pack on its own (thus removing the hip belt) and using the Cube (with insert) as a shoulder camera bag (rather than strapping it around my waist if I were to use it as a complete backpack).
I also appreciate the thought and care that has gone into the design of these travel bags and all the travel accessories; from sourcing sustainable recycled fabrics, choosing a responsible manufacturer, the minimalist and modular design for easy assembly, the rolltop feature, adjustable straps, the compressible and expanding packing cubes (so helpful to divide dirty and clean items), rain cover to protect the bags and even the harness straps for carrying extra items such as a yoga mat. It’s clear to me that the bag has been designed with much attention to detail and the brother-and-sister duo did not leave any stone unturned in their quest for a versatile, functional and stylish backpack.
And I should point out that it packs like a suitcase. So unlike most rolltop backpacks where you need to take everything out to get to the items you’ve placed at the bottom, the WAYKS backpack has a big side zipper that allows you to open it up like a suitcase – so you no longer need to go rummaging around at the bottom to grab what you need. Huge time saver!
My only gripe
Because the colour of the WAYKS bag I received is the lighter sand colour (their bags only come in two basic colours, sand and black) I have to be a little more careful than I usually would when I’m traveling, to make sure that my bags don’t get dirty. So I’m a little more hypervigilant about placing it on dirty floors or leaving it near anything that may spill or stain it. And because of the fabric and design, the bag is hand wash only, which is a pain if you are a time-poor entrepreneur and farm owner, like I am.
But then again, for beautiful travel bags – as with all the things we love and own – it’s better to spend the time and effort to maintain and look after it the way the brand recommends, then to dismiss their care advice and have to buy new bags too soon. Because I’m not a fan of shopping nor do I enjoy the unsustainability of having to replace items sooner than I would like, handwashing and following the care instructions is exactly what I’ll do.
And if I can spend the time handwashing my vintage woollen knits, I can certainly make a little extra time for this gorgeous backpack. Especially if I want my WAYKS bags to travel the 15-year distance like my last set of travel bags.
To check out the brand’s full product range, visit www.wayks.com.
Disclosure: The backpack was gifted as part of a partnership. All opinions expressed are that of the writer’s. To learn more about our policies, visit this page. Credits: Model/stylist Jennifer Nini | Photographer: Ben McGuire.
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