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Plans to Make Backpacks in Guatemala

I have a 90 percent perfect design ready to make long-term traveler bags. I will travel to Panajachel, Guatemala in a month or two and make between 50 and 100 Traveler Bags or Backpacks. I have been working on this project for about five years, in this time I have made about 14 prototypes. I have made about five in Nepal, three or four in Peru, a couple in Thailand and just a mess in the Philippines. I have visited Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia in search of parts, and probably a few countries I forgot.

This is a simplified drawing that explains a backpack; the backpack will include DVD, Manuals, online videos, and a never ending updating of educational materials.

Sosua, Dominican Republic --- Saturday, January 30, 2010
By Andy Graham of
Travel Gear |  | Top Travel Site

Educating Buyers
I have hired a girl from Egypt to work on a PHP Database directory on that will do have two functions.

Educate readers and buyers about Backpacks, this will be a continuous evolving process. The hope is a reader and user of the backpacks, realize finally, a backpack for travel should be different from a backpack used for mountain hikes; this is a different genre of backpack.

Sales of Travel Bag:
We will install a shopping cart system, which will sell the Windmill Backpack. It is named because I have been working on this Backpack and dreaming so long, it is as if I am chasing Windmills.

Collecting Parts and Fabrics in One Location
The most important aspect of a backpack is first the materials, fabrics, clips, buckles and hardware. This is difficult; each part has a function, the trade jargon, and a manufacture that is probably the best on the planet. I must learn these words; I have been talking with many suppliers around the planet, and have decided I must stay with USA distributors.

The parts will often be made in Asia, but I will purchase them from a USA company to guarantee the quality, utilizing their experience. These parts then will be collected in one location and shipped or carried by me to Guatemala.

Contract Sewing Machines
I will either purchase or contract people in Panajachel, Guatemala or neighboring villages to do the simple sewing. I suspect I may need to purchase a sewing machine for shoes, and bring it to Pana, maybe a rivet machine.

1. Make list of all parts needed.
2. Purchase and have shipped to Indiana or my home.
3. Carry or ship these raw materials to Panajachel, Guatemala.
4. Identify each part or component of the backpack, and slowly make and assemble a couple samples.
5. Revisions
6. Fabricate 50 to 100 Backpack

This is not as complicated as it could be, we can rather stumble our way towards the goal. There is a need for fortitude, and persistence, with enough patience to slow down this project to a stop if needed until the quality is perfect. I am in no hurry; I have been working toward this goal for years.

Difference Between Prior Attempts
In the past, I tried to find a company to assist me in the manufacturing of the backpacks. I have given up this aspiration; I have not found any up to my standards of perfections. I will create my own production team of sewing machines and people, this way I can guarantee the quality. It is more hands on then I wanted, but it has to be this way to make the perfect traveler bag. I will be doing the sewing myself at times, until I know the process is correct.

I suspect after I am selling enough bags we will move production to Shezhen, China just on the other side of the border North of Hong Kong.

Win Free Backpack
I will give two free backpacks away, roughly a 275 Dollar value.

Best Suggestion as chosen by me, Andy Graham the

Best suggestions as chosen by readers. (We will put up a poll for voting soon, this stuff will be assigned to the Egypt PHP Coder.)

Complete this online Google Docs form; the best two suggestions will be sent a free backpack.

Click on Contact above for advance purchases.

Plans to Make Backpacks in Guatemala


There you go again, Andy. Chasing windmills and dreaming dreams until they happen. Best of luck and I hope you sell a million! : )


Yes, it will be carry on size, however with many options to expand.

Haiti Trip on
I encountered an interesting problem, for years I have carried two carry-on sized bags, however a few Low Cost Carriers have been cracking my head with extra prices. Airlines assume you start at home and return to home, this is not the way I travel. As best I understand, a person traveling from the USA to Haiti from the USA on can only have one checked bag. I normally check two, I have never lost a bag. This is a horrible situation, I could get to the airport, and they would only allow one bag.

Therefore, because of the airlines I have downsized to one bag now, and accept this as the best way to travel But, when I got to Haiti, I purchase a ton of items, and attached to the outside of my bag, (Not secure enough) so I had sort of a marsupial bag or kangaroo bag, and I have used it every since. I have optional gear, versus I want to own and keep gear.

The checkin guy said, you could have gone bigger. I like to carry two carryon sized bags for balance.If my two bags would have attached, I could have went talller or wider. The Windmill bag will have expansion opions, but stay smooth as Chris also mentioned.

The bags like the one Chris pointed at is nice sometimes, but not always, it will not slide under the seat of bus, or go in overhead with that attached bag. It truly is not a good option as a permanent attachment, but is ok sometimes.

We are going to giver various ways to attach the extra bags, but the videos and manuals will have to demonstrate to buyers how to use.

The bag is only 30 percent, without knowing how to use, a person would not optimize their trip.

Generally, the normal traveler returns with more than they left with, or ships things home, this is normal, not for me, but it is normal, this is the option needed. But if you like to be only carry on, the bag will do that also.

There are many different situations, I may have encountered more than other people, therefore I have work-around situations.

But yes, simple use, it is carry on size.


Dreams appear to be easier to share than I realized, I truly appreciate the comments. I was looking over the backpack Chris recommended, then all the nurses bags, I knew that sailboats used some great materials, never thought about nurses. Yes, I want to make money, but in a way, I want to do one thing perfect in my life.

I am good traveler, I travel safe, sensible, and I am not afraid to walk the planet, I am a lucky man. I will stay the course, put on my persistence hat, Thanks

Another person sends me an email with one of the best of the best sewing machines.

Sewing machine

sewing machine, heavy enough for sail making. Maybe suitable for backpack making? Just a help.


Andy, I wonder if you might not be heading towards problems when you switch from being an outside buyer to, essentially, a local manufacturer. Problems with work permits, shakedowns, all sorts of nasty things come to mind. No, it shouldn't be like this, but I rather suspect it may be.
Love your work, by the way, my favorite read of the day. Hope you don't change it just to please others!

Phil J

Finally we have a product designed and produced by someone who uses it every day and not by a madison avenue executive who doesn't even pack his own pen to the board room.
Let me know when you get it in production. I want one. What dimensions do you plan on.