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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

The World’s Best Travelled Backpack

The NIN Lifestyle x Gunnar Garfors in Northern Norway. Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

So, this is totally crazy! There’s a backpack that has been to every country in the world. It only took 15 years. And, perhaps not surprisingly, it belongs to me.

I never intended to be the owner of such a backpack, at least not until I started counting the countries I had taken it to one fine day in 2018, and I realised that my old faithful friend had been to 193 countries. That meant it only lacked five; San Marino, Monaco, Mongolia, Uruguay and Peru. How convenient that I had already decided to visit every country twice and that the latter three were still remaining.

But what about San Marino and Monaco?

My girlfriend happily accepted my invite to join me to Italy. It did however take a couple of amazing dinners to compensate for the many hours of driving. I had conveniently “forgotten” to mention the little detour from Milano via San Marino and Monaco to Milano. Or 14 hours by car.

The best travelled backpack is a Norrøna Integral 35 from 2004, although it is no longer in production. Nin Lifestyle, an accessory company in Thailand loved the story about the worldly backpack and asked to use it as a prototype for a new model of their own. NIN Lifestyle is well known for their clean and stylish design, and I was happy and honoured to work with them. NIN’s products are handmade in Bangkok, using small local suppliers and manufacturers. That it is environmentally friendly is also important, the leather is tanned using acids found in plants while the waterproof canvas is sourced locally. I also love the hidden pockets and the convenient padded laptop compartment that is easily accessible from the side.

But there is more to it. Nina Pimpisa is the CEO of Nin Lifestyle, and she totally loves books. The company has produced three other bag models, and they are all named after authors:

  1. The John Steinbeck is a tote with leather straps

  2. The Oscar Wilde is a tote with a detachable shoulder strap.

  3. The Pablo Neruda is a full canvas tote.

Slightly better known writers than me, in other words.

The new backpack model will, and I cannot believe that I am saying this, be called The Gunnar Garfors. Or NIN Lifestyle x Gunnar Garfors, to be exact.

I am deeply honoured! Although I am fully aware that I will either be dragging those world-class authors down a trillion notches (or they will be lifting me up a gazillion ones). My books will never quite compare with Odes to Common Things, Of Mice and Men or The Importance of Being Earnest, and I feel very privileged.

Thank you NIN!

The backpack launched June 12, 2019 and it is available to buy internationally. European customers may find it easier and faster to buy the backpack from Nomaden, a Norwegian shop specializing in travel books and travel gear. Nomaden has shops in Oslo and Trondheim, and sells online too.

Do note that I do not hold any ownership in NIN Lifestyle.

Gunnar Garfors (me) posing with the Gunnar Garfors (backpack) and a Gunnar Garfors (book). Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

Detail of The NIN Lifestyle x Gunnar Garfors. Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

The backpack in a small harbour in Træna. Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

Let’s see if I have everything. Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

Backpack detail. Photo: Haakon Hoseth.

The original Norrøna Integral 35 has been a faithful friend of mine since 2004. Perhaps a redesign was overdue.

Norrøna Integral 35 backpack

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