Has anybody encountered a travel gear mfr that intentionally makes crappy-looking gear?

Has anybody ever encountered a travel gear manufacturer that makes gear that is solid and durable, but that is intentionally designed to look old and crappy? For international travel, I want good, durable gear, but I’m uncomfortable walking around with slick, brand-new-looking, expensive-looking gear (especially with my family in tow). I’m happy to snatch up any good used gear (reduce, reuse, recycle) that we’re lucky enough to encounter, but selection is limited, and durability is often compromised. Seems like there’d be a decent market for some durable but ragged-looking travel gear. What i have in mind is luggage, backpacks, laptop cases, smartphone cases, camera bags, infant/toddler carriers, etc. I’m sensitive to the preppy fad of clueless, well-off westerners dressing up like the poor in naive but trendy mockery, but that’s not what I’m after, here. I just want good gear that doesn’t put a target on my back as we traipse around various parts of the world. Anybody have any thoughts on this…?

I intentionally weathered my brand-new Tortuga by very lightly dry-brushing some parts with dark grey paint. I also blacked out the bright green logo. Makes it look old and crappy while still being a top-notch pack.

This is what I mean when I say “drybrushing”:


Basically intentionally using a very very light, subtle, almost-dry amount of paint, so it only hits the high-points, the parts that would get their color worn off first. On a much more macro scale, though, obviously.

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Yeah, cool, that’s a reasonable approach. I was thinking that I might do something like this (I was thinking spray paint, but your suggestion here is much more elegant), if I don’t find what I’m looking for. Was partly thinking that this might be a good business idea, if there’s actually an underserved market for this (I see 78 views of this post so far, while only one reply), but it wouldn’t bootstrap well, and I’m personally daunted by the idea of getting into the gear mfr game. Anyway–thanks again!

This comes to mind. Might be useful - https://joeyl.com/blog/all/post/5-critical-tips-for-travel-photographers

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I so agree here! I made the mistake of getting the Everyday Messenger Bag by for my business travels by Peak Design. Amazing bag, but it looks so good people want to steal it, and steal it they did! :stuck_out_tongue:

Currently looking for a crappy looking but quality backpack for my upcoming trips to berlin->italy->india->canada->japan so I’m all ears!

Great article too iamsukizoe -> I need to crappify my Nikon :slight_smile:

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I agree to go with Tortuga. Solid stuff not too flashy and super durable.
Here’s a list of all the stuff I bring

Hey gang, before you intentionally destroy your brand new gear you might want to stop and ask yourself if you think taking your new bag out around home is likely to get you robbed, beaten and thrown into a dumpster. Generally speaking, people are no worse villains abroad than they are at home.

You don’t need to wear rags, camo or a false mustache to travel internationally. You need to be smart and look like you know what you’re doing. When a thief sizes you up, they’re sizing YOU up. The way you act is more of a tell than your gear.

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Thanks for your input, here, but I’d encourage you to put a little more thought into your replies before casually and pedantically dismissing topic questions, especially if exaggeration is required to make your point. Nobody’s talking about destroying their gear, or wearing “rags, camo or a false mustache.” And we’re not worried about getting “robbed, beaten and thrown into a dumpster.”

Walking around with new-looking and expensive-looking gear increases your risk–whether you can admit it nor not. And the risk of “villainy” is not magically the same in all cultures and all countries at all times. We’ll do our best to “look like we know what we’re doing,” but this is sometimes difficult, particularly when you’re in a foreign culture and you actually don’t know what you’re doing.

Therefore, my original question is legitimate. In my original post, perhaps I should have made it more clear that I’m more generally looking for gear whose design focus deprioritizes appearance. The Tortuga recommendation was a good one. As was the link to a blog entry describing a photographer’s efforts to scuff up his camera somewhat, and de-emphasize/remove the brand label. These are the types of suggestions I’m seeking.

Heya Wayne, I was trying to provide a counterpoint with a bit of humor. :wink: There are all kinds of security measures one can take, and ‘getting prepared’ is kind of fun in itself, but if you find yourself going much beyond what you’d consider normal behavior at home, you might not have to bother.