In addition to design, the choice of material is what that has the greatest significance for how the backpack works, lasts and ages. Bestedreng's backpacks and bags are made of natural materials such as hemp, leather, wool and beeswax. They are comfortable to handle, last a long time and become more beautiful the more they are used.
The fabric in the backpacks is woven from hemp thread. Hemp provides one of the strongest plant fibers that can be used for fabric, in fact four times stronger than cotton. Hemp grows quickly, preferably on nutrient-poor soils and even in colder climates, which means that it can also be grown up here in the north. During its lifetime, hemp with its deep roots pulls up deep-lying nutrients, thus enriching the soil in which it grows. Therefore, it prefers to not be fertilized, nor does it require any pesticides. This means that the best way to grow hemp, ist to do it according to organic principles.
The hemp fabric in the backpacks is initially unbleached and uncolored. To get it in a shade I like, dyeing it by hand with different type of plant colors, such as onion peel, carrot tops or black beans. Herbal colors give kind but lively shades that you do not get tired of, and are of course kind to nature.
Finally, it should be pointed out that Bestedreng's hemp is of an industrial type, and thus not possible to produce any form of drug from. Smoking your backpack is thus uneconomical and inefficient.
Leather is made of animal skin. Leather is a material with many benefits. Above all, it is are strong and durable. With a little care it stays supple and strong for many years. It also has the nice property of shaping after the user and darkening beautifully as it ages. In other words, your backpack straps will only get better and nicer with time. In order for animal skins to become soft and durable over time, they must be tanned in one way or another. Vegetable tanning, with the help of bark, among other things, gives the best leather, and can also be made environmentally friendly with natural products, completely without toxins. All leather in Bestedreng's backpacks is vegetable tanned from Swedish Tärnsjö tannery, one of very few environmentally certified tanneries in the world. Unfortunately, vegetable tanning of leather is a slow and thus relatively expensive process. Therefore, chrome tanning is usually used in industry. About 90% of all leather is produced this way. It is an extremely chemical intense treatment, the only advantage of which is lower manufacturing costs. It is mostly no longer the toxic toxin chromium variant chromium 6 (carcinogenic, allergenic and generally bad for everything in the environment) that is used most, but another, allegedly harmless form called chromium 3. The catch is that chromium 3 can easily be converted to chromium 6 since it left the tannery. In addition, a lot of other dangerous chemicals are used in the production. When chrome-tanned leather is worn out, it should actually be handed in as hazardous waste, which I think says a lot. Overall, the process is rather lousy for workers and the environment, especially in factories outside the EU.
BEES WAX AND STEARIN
A fantastic natural product. Bees build honeycombs for winter honey stores and nurseries for their fry. When the beekeeper harvest the honey, she takes care of the wax (whereby the diligent bees do more).
Much good can be said about the beneficial properties of wax in skin ointments, wax candles, wood treatment agents and not least impregnation of fabric. Feel free to look around a bit on your own! In Bestedreng's bags, beeswax is used together with stearin, to make the fabric dirt and water repellent, but also to give stability to the bag. On top of all this, it has a wonderful scent.
Stearin is also a universal remedy, suitable for everything from candles to ski wax, or lubricants for the old bureau's sluggish wooden boxes. The impregnation of the backpacks requires some stearin (approximately 30%), as beeswax on its own is too soft.
Stearin can be made from a variety of oils and fats. The most common is, unfortunately, palm oil (which brings a lot of bad things with it). Environmentally best is probably stearin made from animal fat, tallow, which is a residual product from slaughterhouses.
It may not sound so romantic, but you should take advantage of leftovers. Stearin should not be confused with paraffin, which has similar properties, but is made from petroleum products.
The seat pad that is in the backpack is made of recycled felted wool. No artificial material comes close to the ability of wool fiber to insulate and regulate moisture. A fun property of wool is that it can absorb a lot of moisture before it feels wet. At the same time, it emits heat. So that´s part of what makes wool is ideal for warming wool sweaters, rag socks, long underwear ... and seat pads in Bestedreng's backpacks, of course.