Last month, Colville Leather founder and master craftsman took his leather rolltop bag on a jaunt over to Canada. Here he shares some of his thoughts about his time exploring the Canadian wilderness and a few of his favourite shots of the trip...
Back in August, my wife Lucy and I celebrated our honeymoon with a trip to British Columbia on the West coast of Canada. The sheer vastness of nature and the expanse of wilderness was absolutely breathtaking and the whole experience was truly memorable.
I took the Colville Leather rolltop backpack to use as a day bag when sight-seeing and trekking. It was great to get the chance to use it extensively and I identified a couple of minor tweaks I could make to improve the design further. That said, it was incredibly comfy for carrying around all day and functioned well with pretty much constant use. I was pleased to get lots of compliments about it too as we went about our travels!
We were on the move a lot in the short time we stayed in Canada. Arriving in Vancouver we explored the surrounding area with some stunning ferry rides and epic road trips. Our circuit took us over to Victoria and up the East Coast of Vancouver Island to Nanaimo and Courtenay. We caught a ferry back over to the mainland via Powell River and made our way back to Vancover via Egmont and Sechelt.
Exploring the cities and local culture was great fun, but it was experiencing nature so intensely that really made the trip memorable. Finding solitude and connecting with nature was everywhere. Coming across three separate orca pods whilst whale watching was a highlight, as was hiking on trails and wild swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea at every given opportunity.
In the wilderness we were completely alone. The silence was breath taking and the feeling of isolation was like nothing I’ve felt before. As we hiked along forest trails the isolation gave me a sense of vulnerability that I don’t really feel back home in Devon. If anything happened, Lucy and I were far beyond human civilisation, on our own and relying on our own instincts for survival. We were constantly aware of the possibility of running into bears (not really a concern back in home territory on Dartmoor!) and the need to stay alert and vigilant for our own safety.
That heightened sense of my surroundings, that hyper-awareness of every twig-snap and every bird call, was new to me. I felt in tune with my surroundings in a way that I imagine every other animal must feel. It made me feel connected to nature more intensely than I’ve felt before. And that knowledge of my own vulnerability made me feel alive.
We’ve become so safe and sanitised in our Western society that often we forget that we’re not invincible. We lose perspective of our place in the grander scheme of things, and are numbed by the fast-pace of technology and smartphones. Being in the wilderness made me feel small, and it made me feel vulnerable. And it felt good!
Colville Leather's rolltop backpack is handmade by Matt from the finest quality Horween Derby Leather in our Devon workshop. It is 100% stitched by hand (not a machine in sight!) and features solid brass hardware. You can buy the leather rolltop bag on our website, or get in touch to discuss a bespoke item.