Chester Wallace made in the Northwest totes do the heavy lifting
At 4E we are always in need of a well made bag to protect our prized possessions from the elements. During a recent trip to Portland, in a store called Canoe, we came across the Chester Wallace tote. To the touch it felt like Filson’s tin cloth. We were sold.
Patrick Long makes them all by hand in his Portland studio, with his locally-sourced team, and releases a few colorways at a time. The standard bag uses #10 waxed canvas, a water repellent fabric for the mildew mornings of the Northwest. Bottoms are reinforced along with every seam, handles are made of nylon and according to Long it’s carried everything from “hammers to watermelons” without a hiccup.
The idea was to design a bag to “carry a six-pack of beers across town on a bike,” he is fond of saying. Long made the prototype 20 years ago and still has it. The brand he named after his two grandfathers has been experimenting with wild fabrics like Swiss and English technical wovens, polyurethane used in aircrafts, heat-sealable options… but the form remains. This is the bag that does the heavy lifting, and has never been called a “murse.”
Long makes around 1,250 a year according to Dwell Magazine, and also earns a healthy living as a freelance illustrator in the advertising world.