Carry On

A travel bag company that’s thinking outside the bag

The concept of travel is evolving so quickly the world can barely keep up, with the popularity of travel agencies and package tours plummeting faster than Trump’s approval rating. Long gone are the days of travel being preordained; a onesize-fits all product to be bought like a TV dinner. Independent travel is fast becoming the only conceivable choice for millennials, and Vancouver-based Kosan Travel (kosantravel.com) sees this truth. Equipped with a radical vision of the future of travel, they may just be redefining the concept of a travel company.

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As founder Alex McAuley puts it, “Once you’ve traveled, you know you’ll never stop.” The 12-month-old startup has been made by travelers, for travelers. With decades of experience (both business and travel) between the three founders, their insights compel them to enable others to travel.

To Kosan, travel is not so much a leisure activity as it is an education. A form of education that replaces bigotry and prejudice with empathy, awareness and insight. Throughout the trio’s travels, one recurring truth became glaringly obvious; that those with the strongest, most bigoted ideas about ‘the other’ had never left their community, let alone their country. With this in mind, Kosan settled on one goal: to make travel easy. How will Kosan achieve this?

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Alex, Karyna and Joel began this journey with a question: When you’re about to depart where do you go to get everything? With no apparent answer, the trio forged their vision: a one-stopshop for millennial travelers. The essence of their mission can be found in their tagline: “clothing, gear & inspiration for those who travel the world.”

While in their humble beginnings, Kosan has a clear, actionable plan to take their identity well beyond a travel gear company. They envisage a total travel service; providing everything you could ever need (or want) for your voyage: gear, travel insurance, vaccinations—the whole nine yards, and then some. This is the ultimate goal, yet the company’s current dynamic still sets it aside from others.

What makes Kosan different? Their products are organic outcome of the founders’ travel experiences having undergone field testing; this gives them an immediate relevance and practicality, and sets them aside from other travel companies’ preconceived notions of what might be useful on a journey.

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Kosan clearly endeavors to recognize that every journey is different, and offer an innovative solution to ensure you have all your bases covered before you board the plane. They verge on travel consultancy with this idea; offering gear that is tailored to the exact dynamics of your trip. In purchasing a Kosan package, you are not so much a customer as a client, having your specific requirements catered to with expertise.

After providing Kosan with the rough plan of your trip, they will assemble and deliver a customized kit in time for your departure date. A three-week trip to south Vietnam in monsoon season? No problem. Your kit will leave no stone unturned, while taking a minimalistic approach that takes culture and context into consideration when choosing products.

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4-in-1

The drive and vision of Kosan come through not only in their products but also their processes, committing to “ethically and socially responsible sourcing,” also expressing desires to become involved in philanthropic projects.

Scheduled for November this year, the launch of a kickstarter campaign will see their flagship backpack come to fruition: the ultimate 4-in-1 “convertible carrying system.”

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The 4-in-1 has been made for rugged encounters; Kosan have chosen some seriously hardy materials, including Cordura ballistic nylon (originally used for military body armour) and a tarpulin with matte finish. Both fabrics are abrasion and water resistant, making them incredibly durable.

Kosan has partnered with Aerotech for this product, a Cu Chi-based factory specializing in paragliding equipment. With experience manufacturing in almost every continent, Alex explains that manufacturing abroad usually requires huge efforts to find production quality that’s up to spec, and even harder to maintain it. Yet, Alex stands by the Vietnamese manufacturing plant as being the cream of the crop.

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He explains that owing to the intense quality-control standards associated with paragliding, naturally Aerotech’s production standards are simply world-class. If you can put your life in the hands of a paragliding harness, you can rest assured you’ll have durable travel gear.

Although in their infancy, Kosan Travel has all its i’s dotted and t’s crossed—with both a groundbreaking destination and a roadmap firmly in hand. The company’s concept goes well beyond the skin-deep, with a challenge to transform the whole notion of conventional travel.

Images Provided by Kosan

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