When you practice ski touring, conversion is an exercise you cannot escape. The mountain can be explored both in its verticality and in its horizontality.
To get to the top, we draw lines wide and across, gaining a few tens of meters on gravity each time. Ski touring puts the effort needed to climb where it deserves. We push on the legs, the arms, we take the time, the body heats up, we take a break, we listen, we watch. Ski touring allows us to venture where the ski lifts do not take us. The ratio between physical effort to climb and enjoyment of the descent is balanced. On the fringes of ski areas or in spaces devoid of any human presence, the relationship with the mountains regains all its humility.
Copyright Julien Donnadieu
If there is a brand that makes us dream in this environment at La Virgule, it is ZAG. Created in 2002 in Chamonix, they innovate in ever more technical and demanding products, placing the responsibility of the skier and his equipment at the center of design choices. The sourcing of raw materials, ever more responsible; and European production sites are the perfect example. When a pioneering brand in its field chooses to get involved, obviously we like it.
The name of the brand and its logo reflect the conversion to skis. But 20 years after its creation, it evokes so much more. The outdoor industry must reinvent itself quickly, must undertake a conversion like it has never done before.
With ZAG, we therefore decided together to open a new path, to make our mark. We must show that it is possible to design, produce and practice differently.
We have therefore launched an unprecedented project, unheard of in the outdoors, as in upcycling: to co-design and market an upcycled ski touring bag, which competes in technicality, quality and style with the references of the sector.
DESIGN THE RIGHT PRODUCT
For months, we designed, prototyped, sourced, tested. Different concepts, different materials were considered before validating the pillar of the bag, the lifeboats.
Copyright The Comma
They equip sailboats and ocean-going vessels, are an essential element for the sailor, a guarantee of survival. For this, the most technical materials compose them. In France, they must be revised every 3 years in specialized centres, and are reformed every 15 years. They are designed to save lives, but who is to save them from destruction, from burial?
No need to draw you a picture, we pulled out all the stops to convince industry players to trust us to give them a second life. The first canoes arrive at the office, and there is obviously excitement. We trigger the inflation system and 'psccchhhhhhht', the canoe unfolds, it takes all its volume. Black, orange, ropes, large pieces of canvas to give new life to.
We optimize the cuts and assemblies of the bag, the product takes shape little by little. The prototypes make A/R between Lille and Chamonix to validate the details, the functions, the volumes. Nothing is left to chance. From the drawing to the sewing machine, the team makes the project grow every day.
For the back, we ask Quechua, which sends us its defective self-inflating trekking mattresses. The test is conclusive, the comfort they provide leaves no room for doubt. To keep the back breathable, we line it with a 3D mesh, it's not upcycled but it's necessary for the product. For the liners and pockets, we use prototype kitesurf wings from F-One. The fabrics are ultralight and bring color to the bag. The ice ax passage is made with climbing rope offcuts from Petzl and with crashpads from Simond.
Every seam is tested, every component scrutinized to make sure we're headed in the right direction and finally… the bag is here!
FROM PROTO TO PROD
Finding the right factories has always been a challenge in the history of La Virgule, garment makers who are competent and above all motivated to meet the challenges we offer them. With this collaboration, the bar is still a little higher as the expectations are high.
Fortunately, we met Richard Dorgnon and his teams. At MKM, they specialize in the manufacture of technical backpacks with a workshop in France and a factory in Slovakia.
It certainly took courage to say yes to this project, and we would like to sincerely thank them for trusting us.
Copyright Quentin Iglesis
TAKE IT EVERYWHERE
He has already had adventures with this bag, and yet he only asks for one thing, to experience new ones with you. It bears slight traces of the past, just to remind you that old monkeys are not the ones who are taught to make faces.
What we promise you is that this bag is a major project, a product that has mobilized a lot of intellectual resources, courage and willpower. The result, we are very proud of it, is beyond the expectations of the beginning.
We cannot thank all our partners enough, ZAG, MKM and of course D-Multiple who cut and cleaned all the lifeboats.
Every project is born from the will of one or more people. If all of them counted in this project, there is one in particular who will have marked this project and who we miss so much today.
Antoine, you had become a friend to us, and we can't imagine the void you left when you left, so radiant were you and you punctuated the daily lives of the people who shared your life. This optimism and this simplicity, you immediately transmitted them in this project. You can trust us, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that our project sends wood.
The Virgule team
Discover the best bivouac destinations in France to test the La Virgule X ZAG bag.