Although Jeff Graves might not be the pack-junkie household name the likes of Dana Gleason or Jack Barley, if you happen to stumble upon the Provision Handmade Gear Instagram you’ll be treated to a plethora of duffles, pouches, and even the occasional backpack that’s made to order in his vegas-based home workshop. When I first found out about PHG, I loved the classic looks and heavy textiles combined with interesting colors, and customization available and immediately commissioned two pouches for the Khard30 I was reviewing at the time. Jeff took my exact specifications and managed to turn around an incredibly high quality product for much cheaper than I was expecting and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Recently, Jeff took some time out of his busy schedule (he works full-time in addition to being a maker) to answer some questions for the TPP crew. Since we share the same (awesome) name, we’ll be using last names to keep things less confusing.
Wayland: Can you tell us a bit about you and your company?
Graves: I design bags, pouches, totes, duffle bags, backpacks, bike bags, rope bags and anything else I can think of. Provision Handmade Gear is focused on quality products, stitching and function. Utilitarian in most cases. Solid, hard use gear.
Wayland: How did you get into making your own gear?
Graves: I started sewing in my late teens. Sewing patches on my Navy uniforms. Years later I began hiking and fell in love with backpacks of various designs and functions. I thought, “That backpack is kind of expensive or I’d like that in a different color”. I had already been altering my hiking pants, adjusting the length or turning pants to hiking shorts. So that was the progression.
Wayland: What bags or designers have influenced your designs the most?
Graves: I really liked the American makers. GORUCK, Rivendell, Filson, Maxpedition although they are not made in the states, they have a quality product. I was influenced by makers like Ryan Wittemore Handmade, Recycled Fireman and Tactical Tailor, Duluth Packs and Frost River, Madden Equipment. The old cottage industry companies. The vintage pack makers like Frostline Kits and Gerry. I love the old teardrop backpacks.
Wayland: How would you describe your design philosophy?
Graves: I design boxes basically. Boxes with zippers, pockets, handles and straps. As multi functional and tough as possible. I’ve ripped up a lot of backpacks so I want them to be very sturdy.
Wayland: Can you tell us a bit about what your work space look like?
Graves: I work out of a spare bedroom that I converted to a sewing room. I started out in my living room but now it’s much more efficient. I use a Morse semi industrial machine. Similar to a Rex Machine. As the business grows I’ll get a better machine like a Juki.
Wayland: What bags or packs do your currently own and carry?
Graves: I have a few vintage backpacks, others like Maxpedition, Goruck, Camelbak, LL Bean Continental Ruck, Evergoods CPL30, USGI Alice Pack and many others. I hike with two Backpacks and a Duffle that I made every weekend.
Wayland: What’s in store for the future of Provisions Handmade Gear?
Graves: At this time Provision is a part time operation. When I start getting steady sales then I’ll sew full time. It’s a new adventure for me. I love creating new things to hold my Provisions. I make bags that I want. Bags that I would be proud to carry in public. Some of the bags I see out there make me cringe! So if your looking for a rock solid, long lasting bag or pouch, look no further!