“So are you guys really brothers? And what do you actually do?” were the two questions I posed to Minaal brothers when I ran into them at the top of Toronto’s CN Tower back in June.
We had a few friends in common so I kept running into them all through the weekend during TBEX travel blogger conference in Toronto. We briefly chatted about this and that, but after a quick and vague introduction, I still wasn’t exactly sure what they did besides helping Jodi eat soup in Vietnam. They sure seemed to be seasoned travelers but they didn’t have a blog. What’s up with that? I was slightly
As it turned out, they weren’t brothers after all. Although, both being from New Zealand they do represent roughly half of Kiwi population (a tenth if you count the sheep). And they weren’t bloggers. Instead, they were hard at work making a bag.
A travel bag.
A better carry-on bag.
As we came down to watch a 3D movie at the CN Tower’s theater (a rather odd ‘propaganda’-ish for Boeing’s Dreamliner), Minaals gave me a brief hands-on demo of the bag prototype they were carrying with them.
Now, being on the road a lot, I do get pretty picky about my bags. I like to travel light with just a carry-on, saving myself time, $, the frustration of checking things in and having the flexibility to switch flights at moment’s notice. And while I do believe I found the perfect backpack for my long-term travel needs, I have been struggling to find something smaller and more practical I could use for shorter trips ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
And ProTravel carry-on might just be it.
From lie-flat, suitcase-like packing and access convenience to pockets for seemingly everything, to built-in rain cover as well as a straps cover that instantly turns the bag into something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to take to an office meeting (although sometimes I do enjoy the odd looks when I show up in shorts and flip flops with my backpack at a Regus business lounge). Not to mention the durable material and high quality zippers – another thing I struggled a lot with my daypack, needing to have the insides torn out and resawn in South Africa, clip replaced in Australia, and lots of duct tape applied inside and out throughout the world.
So fast forward three months from that accidental meet-up at the CN Tower. Minaal ‘brothers’ have finalized their ProTravel Carry-on bag design and just launched a Kickstarter campaign this morning to raise funds for the first production run. In less than an hour, they already have 68 backers and almost a third of the way up to their funding goal. That’s pretty impressive and I would encourage you to check it out and consider contributing yourself if that’s the kind of bag you are looking for.
While I am not buying the bag just yet, I have put my money where my mouth is and contributed the $25. My reason for not getting the bag at the discount price is rather typical for me and has nothing to do with what seems to be a perfect carry-on bag. And this reason is my unusual height – being 6’8″, I pretty much have to “try it on” first before getting it, just like any other piece of clothing or travel gear designed for “normal” human beings.
That said, I am sure it won’t take long and I will run into Minaals somewhere around the world soon enough. Heck, when I was visiting San Francisco as part of my Epic Road Trip this summer, I went to one of dozens Regus business lounges in that area and after spending an hour there, finally looked up to see who else was there. Sure enough it was Minaals. Now, what are the chances of that?!
Quick update: less than two hours after their campaign started, they are already half way to their funding goal. Amazing! Check it out for yourself.