About this project
The campaign is over, but the journey is just getting started. To stay in the loop, keep in touch below:
And another beta tester, Pete, recently decided to check his bag on a flight from Canada to Indonesia. We didn't really mention this yet, but our durable Cordura fabric and zip-away straps mean the bag can also easily handle what baggage handlers throw at it, making it truly versatile – here's Pete's experience:
Finally, in addition to the above, we've announced our determination to stand behind the stuff we make. See our pledge here.
Stop and think for a second.
Think about every time you've waited half an hour for your check-in luggage to show up - after wasting half an hour, and a bunch of cash, checking it in the first place! Or think of that time your luggage didn't show up... ever.
Think about every time you've dragged a fat suitcase up stairs, across cobblestones or broken streets.
Think about that time you wanted to stay flexible and change your flight at the last minute, but your luggage was already checked...
If you already travel carry-on only? Think about digging around at the bottom of a backpack to find your gear (it's always at the bottom). Because of that, remember feeling the hot, judgemental breath of people bunching close behind you in security line.
Think about being forced to check bags because your backpack was made for school kids or day trips, and you need to carry more than that.
And think about poor-quality handles and zips that fail, just when you need them most.
Think how much of your life you've lost - and will lose - to waiting. To frustration and delay. To compromise.
The Minaal ProTravel Carry-on Bag takes intense bag-joy in overcoming these frustrations.
It's built from the ground up to:
- save you time and money.
- make your life easier.
- keep you looking good.
To make travel more efficient. To have you ready for any situation, in any environment.
We go into more detail further down the page, but quickly:
Who are these guys with the weird accents?
We're two regular guys from New Zealand who realised how dissatisfied we were with our travel gear, and thought it'd be a great idea to quit our jobs to make our own. Let's create products that make travelling faster, happier and more productive, we said. Sounds eaaaasy.
A few years, a few more wrinkles and seven million bowls of noodles later, we're here to show you what we're packin'...
We know who you are.
You're confident stepping out the front door. You're comfortable taking those first steps along the wide open road. Maybe you live your life on that road. Maybe you have no such thing as 'home' – just momentary pauses between destinations.
There's one problem. Your travel gear is holding you back; it's dragging you down. And for those of us who care about travel, there's one thing we should be fighting: travel drag.
Travel Drag = anything that slows you down, mentally or physically, from reaching your destination.
Whether that 'drag' is...
- 10 minutes wasted packing a bag that's not fit for purpose
- $30 cash thrown at airlines to check a bag
- 5 minutes extra spent sorting your stuff in the security line
- negative 5 cool points for feeling amateur because of all the straps hanging off your backpack...
- another 20 minutes waiting at the carousel for your checked bag
...all multiplied by however many times you do this a year....
...the Minaal ProTravel Carry-on is here to fight all of that.
To make your travels faster, happier and more productive.
Let's take a look at this bag.
[EDIT: the chest strap above has been upgraded – check it out here]
Tech Specs: see the up-to-date tech specs here.
You should use this bag if:
You want to travel light and move fast, but haven't found a specialist carry-on that can hold your gear, organise your digital miscellany and keep up with you. Or...
You travel often, and you want a carry-on that's designed with ease of use in mind; that gets out of your way & saves you time. Or...
You take your work on the road, but live an active lifestyle - so you need a bag that can handle the office, the street and the trail. Or...
You're tired of gear failing on you far too soon, so you're looking to invest in a tool with quality components - a piece of equipment that'll last. Or...
You have excellent taste.
You shouldn't use this bag if:
"There's nothing I enjoy more than killing time at a baggage carousel."
"I just buy the cheapest bag. They're all the same, right?"
"I wish I could spend more of my life waiting in line."
"Terminator 3 is definitely the best film in the series."
So, why are we here?
When all this started, we knew nothing. But after years discussing, sketching, investing & prototyping, we have a bag we're proud of; and more importantly, that other people have told us they need.
We've done our homework and tested the prototypes - both ourselves, and via others - all over the world, in wildly varied environments.
While we were prototyping, it was technically possible to get to the factory in 20mins in a taxi. We preferred to take the local bus, which involved 2 hours, 1 transfer, 1 intimate 3-person moto ride, 25 minutes walking in gasping heat and humidity, 150 chickens, and a whole lot of quality time to talk gear. And it only cost 35 cents!
Even when we took a break, we'd be the guys bringing along their bag to social occasions and making everyone talk about it. When the staff at one venue saw how we treated the bags, they organised 'special treatment' (see below) and said 'this bag is your girlfriend!'. How sadly, sadly accurate they were.
Just to be clear with all of these stories: are we complaining? HELL NAW.
While there are always tough moments, we're living the life we dreamed of, and now we need your help to take it to the next level; to reach a wider audience.
To achieve the minimum order quantity at the high-end factory we're working with, we're asking you to get on board.
Kickstarter = crucial funds for main production run.
Choose your reward.
Firstly, an important note: our Kickstarter backers come first.
Some projects get distracted when when they get popular; if retailers call on us, we'll be flattered, but even if we're interested, we won't stock any of them until our Kickstarter order is fulfilled.
Please note: you can donate any amount you want to the campaign, even if you don't want any of the rewards! There's an option on the donate screen.
You'll be eternally cool, and if anyone says otherwise we won't believe them. If we see you in the street we promise to high-five you (no house calls). We'll also put your name in the suitably-named Epic Thank You Post on our site (not compulsory).
You'll receive the e-book 'Personal Guides To Efficient Travel: 25 ProTravellers Share Their Secrets'. We'll handpick 25 experienced, savvy, and notable travellers to share their tips, packing lists, stories from the road - and more!
Of course, you also get the rewards from the previous tier: a street high-five and your name in the Epic Thank You Post.
Made from absolute best-quality New Zealand merino wool, and enhanced with serious travel technology, these socks are the perfect accessory to accompany you on the road & keep your feet healthy.
Just because you're awesome, we're throwing in FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING on these bad boys.
Of course, you also get the rewards from the previous tiers: a street high-five, your name in the Epic Thank You Post, and the travel e-book.
You'll choose one pair of the following models (yes, they're all black). Note that when pulled up, the socks rise to the lower-mid calf level of our 5'10" / 178cm tester (i.e. just below the muscle bulge).
Small: US 7-11; EUR 39-44; UK 6-10 ||| King: US 12-14; EUR 45-47; UK 11-13
***WHOA. All gone in less than 4 hours.***
There's no time to waste... the early birds are flying! We've put together a sweet special on these things for the quickest starters off the block.
This is strictly limited to 100 units.
What's more, you still get FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.
Of course, you also get all the rewards from the previous tiers: a street high-five, your name in the Epic Thank You Post, the travel e-book, and a pair of your choice of ProTravel Socks.
OK, so you weren't the fastest. We won't tell anyone if you don't. And don't worry, you're getting an excellent piece of kit for a generous pre-production price (final retail price will be significantly higher).
And because we're pretty cool like that, you also get FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.
Of course, you still get all the rewards from the previous tiers (except the $199 bag special): a street high-five, your name in the Epic Thank You Post, the travel e-book, and a pair of your choice of ProTravel Socks.
Here's where it starts getting really interesting. If you lay down $500, you're getting some serious added value on your bag purchase, in addition to everything from the previous tiers.
1) A personalised travel wallet for carrying your passport, boarding passes, and credit cards in style. The wallet is real, high-end Italian leather, and comes with an emboss on both sides -your custom word on the front, and a smaller MINAAL on the back. As below...
2) Two pairs of socks of your choice, instead of one (for details of socks, see $25 tier).
3) Added to the exclusive Minaal Beta List, at Bronze Level. The Beta List is something we've been considering and testing with a closed group for a while now. It's more than just a loyalty program (although being on the list will get you some great deals).
It's a way of being included in the private product development process, and the growth of the company, to get lifetime value out of your early support. While it's in early stages right now, we plan to make it an absolutely key part of our company.
Here's the sort of benefit you can expect to see at Bronze Level:
- Participation in prototype product testing is the cornerstone of the Beta List. You'll be included in this program, behind only Gold and Silver-level Beta Listers.
- Access to behind-the-scenes deals, events and experiences.
- Limited-release, early notification on anything new & cool we introduce.
4) Because we love to see the passion for product design & development spread far and wide - you get access to the digital/online version of the Minaal Product Design Workshop (as described in the $2K tier below) - a great way to learn the essentials of building and running a product business from scratch. Includes topics like:
- Product Design 101
- Product Conception
- Market Validation and Research
- Basics of Finding a Manufacturer
- Prototyping & Sampling
- Long and Short-Run Production
Now we're talking! In addition to all of the above, you're getting some awesome experiences out of this. Steve, roll the rewards...
1) Complimentary entry into the Inaugural Minaal Product Design Workshop!
Held in the bustling Thai hub of Bangkok, or Vietnam's wild city of Saigon (TBD), you'll spend 2 full days learning and discussing the ins and outs of product development and design, from idea to execution - and if applicable, working intensively on your existing product ideas. You'll gain access to (that is, probably hang out and drink beers with) our network of makers, do-ers and entrepreneurs.
As well as contributing to the Workshop ourselves, we'll have special guest presenter/mentor Ian Schoen, who owns and has operated a successful global product design company since 2008, with several established product lines. Ian will share his knowledge in manufacturing design, marketing and distribution, answer questions and provide valuable feedback on any product ideas you have (just as he did for us when we were starting out - brace yourself!).
This is an opportunity and interaction you just don't get in everyday life. We're gonna pack those 2 days full of case studies and lessons learned from experience; things like:
- How to come up with a good product idea
- How to validate your ideas
- How to find the right manufacturer
- Manufacturing/ Sourcing/ Samples/ Production
- The inside word on shipping/logistics
- Selling online vs retail
- How to integrate customer feedback into your production cycle
- How to market your product
- Business vs. consumer products
- How to develop a product as non-designer/ engineer
You'll need to make your own way to Bangkok/Saigon and back; once you're there, we'll take care of your accommodation and food for the 2 nights and days you're in the workshop. Of course, you're welcome to stick around and enjoy the sights and sounds of South-East Asia for as long as you like.
You can learn more about our product design philosophy here.
Event will be held in the first quarter of 2014. Travel details will be discussed after successful funding of the project. NB: Subject to physical readiness, visa eligibility, and other pesky but crucial legal matters. Please understand that the viability of this reward will rely on your eligibility for it - do some research if you're not sure.
2) We like to build community, so you'll get yourself – and your business, if applicable – a sweet profile on the Minaal website. We'll talk about your travels and how you plan to use the gear, and probably take a photo or two. (note: this is not compulsory. We know you really work for the Feds).
3) Added to the exclusive Minaal Beta List, at Silver Level. Just like the Bronze Level, only more exclusive. You'll be part of a tight circle getting the even more insider-er scoop on secret products, deals and experiences. You'll be ahead of everyone except the hardcore Gold members.
You get everything from the previous reward levels, plus FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, or you'll receive the products at the Workshop.
Hey, we just met you, and this is crazy, but OH MY GOD YOU JUST DONATED TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Alright, let's get to it - this is the big show. As well as all the Minaal products, you get:
1) An all expenses-paid, 10-day trip to South-East Asia from wherever you are in the world, to experience what it's like to live in the tropics and make products from scratch. We'll be your personal tour guides as you see where it all began:
- We'll start with your complimentary entry to the Minaal Product Design Workshop in Bangkok/Saigon (location TBD)
- In Saigon, you'll get to tour at least one factory as a visitor with investor status
- We'll experience the bright lights, business talk & chilled fresh coconuts of Saigon street life
- Finally, we'll head to the beach town of Vung Tau, for a few more nights of sipping coconuts and discussing products, business, life and how we wish so hard that Seal and Heidi Klum would get back together.
The trip may be photographed and filmed and if so, the end files will be provided to you. Travel details will be discussed after successful funding of the project. NB: Subject to physical readiness, visa eligibility, and other pesky but crucial legal matters. Please understand that the viability of this reward will rely on your eligibility for it - do some research if you're not sure.
2) You'll also be automatically added to the extreme inner section of the Beta List – the Gold Level circle, giving you the best deals, the most inside access. If you're with us for the long haul, this will provide, yeah we're gonna say it: insane lifetime value.
You get everything from the previous reward levels, plus FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, or you'll receive the products at the Workshop.
We may be biased, but that all sounds like a pretty good time.
You should join us.
Looking to the future.
It's taken many 3am calls to discuss zips; many debates over the ideal depth of a foam cut; and many sleepless nights musing over how people really pull their laptop out in the security line, to finally reach this point.
We don't want to make just one bag. We want to build a long-term business that truly cares about the travel experience - and you, the committed traveller.
We'd be stoked if you joined us.
Thank you. And you. Aaaand you.
Beyond the 'you know who you are' thank you to the improbable number of people who've helped in every kind of way over the years, there are a few people who produced media directly for this campaign:
Euvie Ivanova - for press photography, and a rare ability to live off snails
Quinn Neely - for product photography, video hustling & for single-handedly taking Uganda to the World Cup final (eventually)
Sam Flaherty - for design consultation, and wearing tearaway pants un-ironically for at least 3 years
And the music used in the video:
"Feed The One" by Lorenzo's Music
"Bust This Bust That Pt. 1 & 2" by Professor Kliq
"From The Heart (feat. Richie Campbell) [Bonus Track]" by Dengaz
Everyone else - we wouldn't be here without you. Thanks.
If you want to help, please head back to the top and donate any amount you want - there's no limit or restrictions - and / or share this project with your friends.
Also, cheers to the media who've taken an interest:
Risks and challenges
Manufacturing - we have experience living in, and sourcing from Asia, access to professional networks, and have confirmed price and delivery ability with a vastly qualified manufacturer that produces for the world's top brands. If (when! yarrrr!) this campaign is funded, we will both be moving to live near the factory so we can personally supervise the production process. The most important thing: THE PROTOTYPES WE'VE MADE ALREADY ARE WITH THE SAME FACTORY WE'LL USE FOR THE MAIN RUN. So we know they can do it, and do it well.
Complexity of order fulfilment - everyone knows that Kickstarter projects have had issues fulfilling orders on time. We've kept the reward tiers as streamlined as possible, and the tiers that will take us out of the game will occur after the production run is fulfilled. We want to match or beat our scheduled delivery date.
Product adjustments - as we continue to test and trial the bag we may need to make some small adjustments to improve the product. These will always be for the benefit of you, the user - and we'll let you know any time we improve something.
Customs - Kickstarter campaigns regularly fulfill orders worldwide without any issues, and we expect this to be the case with ours, too. However we don't pretend to have intimate customs knowledge of the entire world. We'll work hard to avoid your rewards getting held up at customs, but in the end we can't guarantee you won't experience delays or be charged. There's always a risk (just like stepping out your front door in the morning).
There will no doubt be some twists and turns in the road ahead, but with your help, we'll all arrive at our respective destinations faster, happier, and more productive.
If you'd like to donate, any amount helps - head back up to the top of the page, and look for the big green 'Back This Project' button on the right-hand side.
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