5 San Francisco Brands I Will Never Leave Behind
I’ve always been a ‘shopper’. In San Francisco I grew to love shopping local and supporting small businesses. This was something San Francisco always made easy with the abundance of motivated entrepreneurs creating amazing things. I don’t do much shopping anymore, but these brands created what are still my favorite ‘things’.
My friends have come to know me as the one who has a gadget for everything – heavily weighted around crafts, camping gear and clothes (of all variety). I’ve always felt that there’s something special about finding a piece of gear that perfectly serves it’s purpose for an activity or situation. I like testing different products, learning about the design and finding out what works or what does not.
The problem is this can translate into a lot of ‘stuff’ and I always struggled to fit all of my gadgets into my tiny San Francisco apartment. You know what’s even smaller than a San Francisco apartment? A van. Let’s just say there was some significant downsizing required to make that move happen. #Vanlife.
Scaling down my belongings was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. I started early and was able to do it slowly over a 2 month period before moving out. Tools like Craigslist, LetGo and OfferUp were a huge aid in helping me sell as much of my stuff as possible before making the final goodwill drop-offs. But don’t get me wrong I still did many different loads to goodwill throughout the process. I was able to whittle it down to everything I have in the van and about 5 boxes of stuff stored at my parent’s house (thanks Mom & Dad!).
I’ve gained a new appreciation for simplicity, space and efficiency. It’s no longer about finding the one thing that perfectly fits that one activity. I’d prefer the one item that can adapt to 12 different situations. This is also a trait of Matt’s that has started to rub off on me, so I can’t take all the credit.
Despite my new appreciation for having less – there are a few items that I am not willing to leave behind.
These are 5 San Francisco (Bay Area) brands that I will never leave behind:
Plaid. It’s hard for me to explain my love affair with plaid. Finding a well made, well fitting, stylish plaid for women is harder than it sounds and Pladra does it right (their men’s clothes are awesome too). They know how to pay attention to the details with their unique cuff and collar prints (that include things like bears, trout, deer, and more). My flannels have become my favorite layer as they easily adapt between sitting outside enjoying my morning coffee in Big Sur and hiking a mountain in the Olympic forrest. Their (unofficial) tag line says it best – outstanding clothing for standing outside. I’m not even a big dog person and Pladra’s shop dog Brooke can still melt my heart every time I walk in. Check out their flagship store in San Francisco on Hayes Street or online.
Do you love the idea of being outside but hate being cold? I may have something for you here. I first heard about Rumpl when a friend’s “beer blanket” caught my eye at a potluck. Soon I found this little beer blanket was just an appetizer for the main show – a technical blanket made with the same material as a sleeping bag and my favorite puffy jacket? Sign me up.These blankets encourage two of my favorite activities – cuddling and the outdoors so I actually signed myself up for 3. These blankets are water resistant, durable and pack up small enough to tag along to sunsets at the beach, picnics on the hilltop and cozy nights stargazing in the mountains.
Oakland’s Edgevale came across my radar not long before we left the Bay Area. Matt had about 5 t-shirts and 1 pair of jeans when I met him (maybe a slight exaggeration, but not far off). Although his simplicity always impressed me, I started to think that he may actually need a few more items to add to his wardrobe for the road. He was easily convinced when he heard about this American made clothing company making ‘cast iron’ pants for everyday utility and ‘tripper’ shorts that I now literally can not get him to take off (unless it’s snowing). Let’s just say we were fans before we left the Bay Area and are now quickly making our way to the top ranks of their fan club from the road. I’m just waiting for them to come out with a women’s line…until then I’ll continue to steal Matt’s clothes.
Alite Designs is a local SF camp shop that sells all of the best goodies and shares a common goal to make getting outdoors easier and more fun for all. My obsession started with their Mantis chair – which quickly became the highlight of all my outdoor gatherings due to its small packable size and spider like simulation when I pull it out of the bag and put it together (look it up and you’ll know what I mean).
Pro tip: Like their Facebook page to be notified about their next wharehouse sale for sweet discounts on some awesome products. That’s where I added to my Alite collection with an awesome cooler backpack, meadow matt and a couple other goodies that I still use daily in my camping lineup.
Creativelive is in a slightly different wheel house than these other brands but a favorite all the same. It also happens to be one that I can literally take with me anywhere.
The first thing I ever watched on CreativeLive was an interview with Mark Cuban which was part of the 30 days of Genius series. When Matt & I started dating, he had told me a lot about what he did at Creativelive (like help shoot and produce this series) so I decided to take a look for myself. This entire 30 Days of Genius series is free to watch and includes 30 different interviews of the brightest minds of our time (such as Richard Branson, Tim Ferris, Seth Godin). You should check it out! What’s next for me? Probably a course on the Fundamentals of photography or how to “Become a travel hacker”.
CreativeLive provides a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for the creative soul. You don’t even have to be a photographer to benefit from their courses. They believe that there is a creator in all of us and are actually willing to give you the practical tools to help you find the confidence to explore your inner creative.
As you can see, we take these things with us on adventures everywhere…