Gear Patrol and the Power of Cross-Category Collaborations
About a year ago, Gear Patrol launched a notable collaborative product: the Hamilton x Gear Patrol Special Edition Watch. Obviously, the team was both excited and anxious, but — to our delight — the first batch of 50 watches sold out in less than a week and is now on its third small batch release. With that success under our proverbial belts, the Gear Patrol team has spent the past year identifying brands with complementary values: high design, focused quality and purposeful functionality to create new products with a Gear Patrol spin. Hopefully, you’ve seen them all. If not, I’m happy to point you in the direction of cross-category collabs that range from gear to fashion and from home goods to transportation: Topo Designs, Priority Bicycles, Dims. and Knickerbocker.
Behind the scenes, we’ve talked a lot about how these collabs come to life. A couple weeks ago, I asked the GP Founder and CEO, Eric Yang, about our approach. His response:
“Product collaborations aren’t new. There are a lot of great ones out there, but we feel that for a brand like ours that covers products across an array of enthusiast topics, we needed to think harder about who it is we’re trying to reach with our collaborations. We think a lot about form and functionality here (and price). So how can we plus up products from brands we’ve come to love that people can hopefully further integrate into their everyday lives? How can we make them more essential for our audience-turned-customers without losing the original product’s purpose or taste? These are questions we aim to answer with our collaborations.”
Personally, I’m a big fan of the new Topo Designs x Gear Patrol Backpack Tote. It’s a perfect synthesis of everything Eric referenced. Topo Designs makes gear rooted in mountain culture and outdoor living, but with a lens on urban exploring and world travel. We asked Topo’s design team to dig into the archives and refresh an old favorite with enhancements driven by Gear Patrol staffers. (Yes, I am one of those staffers.) The result: an everyday carrier that travels however you need it to travel, whether over your shoulder, on your back, in your hand, or across your body. It’s made in the USA with a unique lightweight laminate material originally developed for sailing (called X-Pac) and is perfect for city dwellers, suburban commuters and people on the go. These collabs aren’t just great for Gear Patrol. There’s also value for our partners. I asked Topo President, Jedd Rose, about how things worked from his perspective:
“We’re always excited to work with people who are clearly doing great work. Getting to know our friends at Gear Patrol over the years has been fantastic and we’ve been able to constantly nerd out over our favorite products. There was a specific piece from our archives that kept resurfacing in our conversations so we knew we needed to resurrect it. They know their audience well, and were able to provide insights that elevated the structure and functionality of the product which was our Backpack Tote. At the end of the day we were able to bring a classic to life and have a great marriage of the two companies.”
Here are some recently launched and upcoming co-creations aiming for that same “great marriage” vibe.
Knickerbocker x Gear Patrol Defender Tee: A heavy duty tee constructed in Portugal from 100% pre-shrunk cotton with double-needle cover stitch and blind stitch sleeves and hem.
Dims. x Gear Patrol Utility Cart: The custom utility cart (based on the Barbican Trolley and developed with California furniture designers Dims.) has almost too many uses to list, serving as an elegant bar cart, a handy side table, or even a sleek workshop caddy.
Priority Bicycles x Gear Patrol Commuter Bike: Launching in the Gear Patrol Store on December 9 2019, this is the ultimate two-wheeled commuter complete with a low-maintenance grease and rust-free Gates Carbon belt drive paired with an internal 7-gear hub.
This is all to say that we love discovering — and making — unique products with great partners, regardless of the category. And we can’t wait to keep the ball rolling in 2020 with our sights locked on high design, focused quality and purposeful functionality.