In Search of the Perfect (Beach) Bag in Hawaii

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In Search of the Perfect (Beach) Bag in Hawaii

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Oahu
Jul 08, 2009

For some women, it’s shoes. They line and stack and organize the floor of their closet with the boxes in which their addictions arrived. There is the section for snazzy pumps. Another for strappy sandals. And an area devoted to athletic footwear.

For other women, it’s lipstick. I am thinking of one friend in particular. She cannot open her purse without a half dozen tubes of lipstick tumbling out. Tasty shades from “orange sacree” to “amber cuir merlot.” Discerning shades from “rose nocturne” to “rose nature” and “rose nu” to “rose cashmere.” Her rose garden rivals my mother’s.

For me, my penchant is bags. I am a bag lady. A bag-a-holic. A bag nut. I like the right bag for the occasion. And by bag, I do not mean purse. I am a one-purse woman—a square-ish, Fossil number with a long strap to sling across my body. It is just large enough to carry the essentials—wallet, phone, notepad, pen, business cards and two tubes of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, one in toffee and one in cocoa.

I have so many bags that I have devoted one whole closet to my collection. It used to be the guest closet; now guests will have to live out of their suitcases, I guess.

I own a backpack that works for a short, overnight trip and another for anything longer than that.

I own a messenger bag for a laptop session at my local coffee house and a larger one when I head to the library to check out a stack of research books.

I own a tote bag for the beach that is waterproof and another one for wet swimsuits and towels.

I even own a backpack with a beach chair attached. (Or is it a beach chair with a backpack attached?)

I own a suitcase with wheels that fits in the overhead bin and another that stows in the plane’s belly. I even have a one with hidden backpack straps for those times I travel to, say, Europe and have to negotiate cobblestone streets.

When it comes to briefcases, I have two with wheels, one for my laptop and files and another for that and a change of clothes.

Get the idea? When it comes to bags, I cannot resist. I cannot say no. I am a kid in the candy store stuffing my pockets with Milk Duds, Good & Plenty, Starburst Fruit Chews, M&M’s, Snickers, Twizzlers, Reese’s and Payday bars.

When I purchased my first Sherpani bag—Tosca—I was impressed enough to order a couple more products—Zoom and Luca.

Apart from the quality and detail I discovered in each product, I also appreciated a tag hanging from the bags. The Sherpani creed is printed on one side and their design philosophy on another. A few bullet points from the creed:

• We have an appreciation for the tranquility of nature and a craving to breathe fresh air.
• We are independent but we are aware of others and we look for opportunities to give something back.
• We stretch ourselves mentally and physically for balance and well being.
• And above all else—we go; we never stop moving and never stop enjoying the ride.

Then, I ordered the Laptop Sleeve and Vida. The Zoe and, finally, Trevina. (I told you I have a problem.)

I think the reason why I am not just a Sherpani fan but a fanatic is because of these points. Yes, they offer a quality product with a smart design—both functionally and aesthetically. But something more is at work here. I identify with the company. I see myself in their words. It’s an intangible something with tangible results—I tell my friends about Sherpani, and I comment on their Facebook wall. Women are like that; we love to share a great find with all our girlfriends.

So, when Sherpani offered to send me a big box of some items—Jetta, Meridian and Flite—from their new line of luggage, I said, “Bring it on.” When I found out the line was made from 67% recycled material, I said, “They know me well.” Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Amen.

I fly to O’ahu next week and the week after that. I will take my Sherpani bags made from 67% recycled materials, drag them through airports and, even, check them as baggage. I’ll let you know how they hold up.

Oh, and while I am on Oahu, I plan to check out another bag company: Kini Beach. The company converts beach trash into, among other things, beach bags.

You know those inexpensive, inflatable air mattresses and inner tubes people use at the beach? And those cheap, grass beach mats? Many visitors buy them when they arrive in Hawaii and discard them in the nearest trash bin when they leave. By one estimate, there are enough mats and plastic beach toys dumped in Waikiki to fill 30 swimming pools a year. And on an island—where land is a finite resource—we definitely do not need more landfills.

Enter Kini Beach. Their idea: Collect the beach mats and plastic and make something useful. Their first “customer:” Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. The hotel’s housekeepers collect the left-behind refuse and save it for the folks from Kini Beach. Now, Kini Beach is collecting from other hotels, as well. Go Kini Beach.

I’ll search out a Kini Beach treasure next week when I am on O’ahu. I am sure I can find one. Because, you know, I have a nose for bags. 

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