Norway and Sweden have a lengthy history of highly fruitful collabs.
There’s Ericsson Bakelite telephone, designed back in 1931 for one. There’s the EU/ non EU land border without customs checks for another… There are almost certainly others.
Back in 2009, Truls Brataas, a Norwegian product engineering boffin and space travel enthusiast, and Jon Olsson, Swedish pro freeskier and early YouTuber found themselves bobbing in the very same icy waters of a surf break off the spectacular west coast of Norway, on the very same day.
What started as random, polite lineup chat turned into a mission to change the way action sports travellers transport their gear.
Truls would come up with design for a ski bag that Jon could use in his quest to win the Internet, travelling over 300 days/year. It needed to be size adjustable, lightweight, protective and when not in use, it needed to stow away small for people short of space.
Most of all, it needed to be really, really good.
Db was born around Truls’ initial ski bag design and went on the market to rave reviews, a flood of orders from dozens of countries, and a slew of product and design awards from the snow industry and beyond.
Travelling doesn’t only involve snow equipment of course, and Db’s range of backpacks and holdalls soon developed around the same revolutionary design principles, high functionality and joined up thinking.
Literally, joined up; the various bags attach to each other with a patented hook and loop system, meaning you can roll with just one handle, carrying multiple bags.
“Real men don’t let the Earth carry their bag” said Peep Show’s Super Hans, perhaps the only known argument against wheeled luggage, ever. Hans, who by his own admission was incredibly high after hitting his pipe, failed to stem the wheeled luggage revolution, and wheeled bags are everywhere.
Perhaps with just one exception – sailboats. Taking a bag with wheels on a sailboat is about as welcome as bringing aboard a rat-infested pirate.
For a recent sail trip down the north coast of Spain during Storm Epsilon I had, as luck would have it, access to the Db range, including their 65L Carryall. Big enough carry a week’s worth of cold weather gear in clever compartments, sturdy enough to keep out drenchings from a leaky forward hatch. Not having wheels doesn’t mean you can’t go hands-free of course; smart design means it can be also be worn as a backpack, with hidden straps.
On the way home, the bus driver threatened to stop the bus and call the Guardia Civil if he caught me eating on board (facemasks not even to be lowered to eat). I defiantly slow munched three croissants between Gijon and Santander, fear of getting caught thrill more than mitigating the Spanish pastries’ sub par taste and texture.
Db’s fast-developing surf program already includes ambassadors like Jordy Smith, Sage Erickson and Noah Wegrich. Jordy was so convinced by the brand, he even invested in the company. Spies tell us plans for a range of game-changing board bags is very much in the works.
With major shifts in the way we consume very much afoot, high quality, long lasting gear seems certain to replace throwaway society’s cheap n’ nasties.
The Scandis have long been ahead of the curve in that regard, their famous engineering needed to soften the edges of an at times too harsh reality. Icy darkness outside, hygge in. First they came for your front room, now they’re coming for your backpack.
Sure, it’s the very same folk that came up with roast sheep brain and potatoes, and snus tobacco pellets you stuff up your lip look and like you’ve just been punched in the mouth.
Cover photo: Sage Erickson. Db/Alana Spencer