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I Travel, I Cook

  • By Brittany Davis
  • 11 May, 2017

An Origin Story for the Traveling Knife Case

To begin, here is a real life sample pack list for our typical weekend away:

We move around a lot in our lives. Whether we are meeting friends at a weekend house rental, or embarking on a solo fly fishing float down a remote Alaskan river, the one thing at the top of our packing list is always our knife. Or maybe two knives… After getting our food and gear together, we carefully wrap our oh so versatile Japanese santoku knife in a dishtowel, and carefully pack it away. We did this for years-  because if you cook, you use a knife. But if you love to cook, you use a very sharp, nice knife. So, if you travel and love to cook, you probably recognize this routine.


Our knives have come to cook with us all over California, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico… But when we booked a month-long wilderness and van camping trip in Argentina and Chile’s Patagonia region, we had to seriously step up our knife-packing game. 

Chile's Corcovado Volcano and the knife case in this photo are somehow overshadowed by a surprisingly full bottle of Jack Daniels...

We were going to be traversing rugged terrain for a week on horseback, staying in a remote rental cabin fly fishing for four days, and then exploring the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile in a two-person camper van for two week (complete with “kitchenette”…and you know they’re not providing a nice knife.) Since not cooking was out of the question, not bringing our knives never even crossed our minds.

 

A kitchen town can keep your knife safer than nothing, but being a believer in the theory that most problems can be solved through better design, I got to work in my studio to build the best traveling knife case possible. It would have to be simple and relatively lightweight, exceptionally durable, and easy to pack, use and clean. I am of the belief that in addition to a pocketknife, having two cooking knives is more than sufficient for any and all camp cooking needs. If you need more than that, you’re probably a professional chef and already have and use a knife roll.

 

After multiple not-quite-perfect prototypes, I arrived at my ideal two-knife leather case for convenient, safe knife transport and away we went.

 

Talk about product testing! After one month of cutting up whole lamb and goat assados with gauchos, filleting trout, slicing up choice Chilean fruits and veggies, the case gets an enthusiastic  two thumbs up! It fit nicely in a saddlebag, resists water, is easily cleaned of grit, grease and food bits, and kept our knives in perfect condition.

The interior sheath is thick, stiff leather to protect the blades from the possibility of bending, while the outer case cover is durable, yet pliant to allow for movement in soft shell luggage. The closure is a simple wrap around strap- this is not only the easiest and quickest closure in my opinion, but eliminates the pressure you put on your blades if it were a snap, and the fiddling if it were a buckle.

We have officially added a new item to our “essentials list” for camping, glamping, and weekends away! Check it out- you may just have found your next favorite thing.

Click here for in-depth sizing info and glamor shots


By Brittany Davis 11 May, 2017
To begin, here is a real life sample pack list for our typical weekend away:
By Brittany Davis 22 Jan, 2017
I was approached a few months ago by a lovely editor from Rodale's Organic Life Magazine , asking to feature my Las Pampas purse in the March issue of their magazine.  All press is good press and I was thrilled to take part. 

She asked me a series of questions that really got me thinking about my business- mostly how I started, and why I do what I do the way that I do it. 

When the magazine went to print she wrote me and said that my bag was featured in their "Top 100" section and her exact words were "find attached the small but mighty! blurb on Brass + Blade." She was unable to include a longer piece (I got 8 words!) but the interview questions prompted me to put into writing the more personal and in depth story behind Brass + Blade. 
By Brittany Davis 21 Mar, 2016

Just like it’s impossible to pick a favorite child (or so they say…) I have a hard time picking a favorite Brass + Blade bag. They’re all so different, and each with its own qualities and use cases that picking a favorite wouldn’t just be an act in futility, it simply doesn’t make sense because it always begs the question, “favorite for what?”

However! (of course there’s a “however,” otherwise this post would have stopped right there) However, every so often I find that I have made a bag, usually just a first attempt at a new concept, that I absolutely will not part with.

This backpack design came together quickly and I decided just as quickly (before I was even finished) that it was my new go-to bag….for test purposes! That’s what prototypes are for, right?

While testing for strap length and comfort, weight limit suitability, magnetic snap strength, interior pocket position, and all around easy and joy of use, I traipsed around the East Bay for a week collecting compliments on my new bag!

The most recent and final test came on a two-hour waterfall hike in the Hawaiian mountain rainforest (poor me) when half way through the hike it started to rain enormous Hawaii rain drops. Both the backpack and I got very wet while the contents of the bag stayed surprisingly dry.

By Brittany Davis 20 Feb, 2016
I've heard that there is no such thing as an original idea- and I accept that that may be the case. So what does the creative process look like for designing a new bag that I've never seen before and never made before? I'll see if I can break down the making of my most recent bag into the many influences, requests, stolen ideas, inspirations, bits of acquired knowledge, and other non-original ideas that go into making one very original bag. 

First, I had a return customer who requested a woven lanyard made out of bison the day I left on a road trip to Montana. I had made him a bison leather bag and he needed a holder for his dog whistle. The problem was (and still is) that nobody makes bison "lace" for weaving...it's all kangaroo and cow leather lace. But as I was on my way to Montana, I let him know I'd look around while I was there. 

In Montana I stopped by saddle makers, tack shops, antique horse equipment stores, and even a custom hat maker (check him out- most incredible hats I've seen  http://www.rockymountainhatcompany.com/  ) where I leaned so much about the beauty of braided leather and about Deer Lodge State Prison where the inmates make incredibly beautiful horsehair hitched hat bands.
By Brittany Davis 02 Feb, 2016
Looking for The West? If you're in California then you've gone too far. You've passed it, it was back there surrounding that expansive, triangular state that people hate driving through so much that they think its best use would be to dump nuclear waste in it. 

When you stand on the West Coast, and you see the Pacific Ocean, maybe you think that you're as far West as you will go (at least in the lower 48). By geographical measurements you might be right. But this winter I traveled East, across Nevada covered in a sheet of snow (a state that I personally love driving through) and then North, and into country that embodies a history, a culture, and a kind of wild beauty that until now was somehow never fully impressed upon me. The West, with a capital W, the one that I hold in my mind as being distinctly different from the rest of this country, is hundreds of miles to the East of where I live on the west coast. 

Soon after driving out of Reno, NV, the ground was covered with snow every day of the trip. The open rolling fields of Southern Idaho waiting for spring potato planting were blanketed with thick, perfectly smooth white snow. Driving over Pine Creek Pass into Teton valley the full moon rose behind the Grand Teton mountains and the valley and the mountains glowed blue-white in the bright moonlight. Snow fell in tiny, perfect snowflake shapes in Big Sky, Montana. 
 Somehow, I wasn't expecting that the whole of the 4 states we drove through would be totally covered in snow, but covered they are.

I stood on the edge of the river where the Oregon Trail forked South West to California, and North West to Oregon. I stood overlooking the stunning Shields Valley, named and crossed by Lewis and Clark in 1804. I stood on peaks of the Rocky Mountains with 360 degree views of an endless, craggy  expanse of rock and ice. 

In The West, snow boots have fur because they need the warmth, men and women wear cowboy boots because they're good for riding horses, and if you slide into a snow-filled ditch on a back road while looking at a heard of elk, the first four people (including a semi truck driver) will stop to help get you out. 

East of California, the gas prices are consistently hovering under $2 per gallon so far this year. That should be more than enough of a reason to jump in your (all wheel drive) car and drive East to get to The West...even if you hate driving through Nevada. 

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