The Perfect Pack aims to provide readers with the best community generated content, focusing on the search for a pack that fits a user’s functional needs, personal style and tastes, and often, the size of their imagination. However, there is a sewing wizard so intimately tied to the pack game that he warrants honorable mention and a discussion of his work (as well as a previous collaboration with The Perfect Pack). I had seen superb photos of his creations and read hundreds of positive recommendations about his products, so it was a no-brainer to reach out to David Valencic of DMade Bags when I needed a new dopp kit.
Most will look at the bag and immediately refer to it as a “dopp kit”, in reference to the trademarked Dopp Kit developed by leather goods craftsman Charles Doppelt in the early 1900s. Dopp kits have since seen a resurgence of late because of craftspeople like David, Eric at Skinth, Dan at Sample, and Eva at Dyborg who recently released a collaboration with The Perfect Pack. All of these makers are pushing the boundaries of colors, fabrics, and designs well past the boring bags of old that our fathers used during their business travels and family leisure trips to Niagara Falls.
I first met David virtually, during a Summer 2020 Zoom meeting between community acquaintances who were just hanging out and talking packs. David gave a TED Talk-level breakdown of fabrics, color palettes, sewing techniques and material design concepts which illustrated his amazing depth of knowledge on the topics. I left the virtual discussion a lot smarter than I arrived.
I reached out to David separately and ordered an Original Dopp, sized 9” L x 4” H x 3.25” W, constructed of an original twill Desert Night Camo outer shell and a Dimension Polyant VX-21 Bamboo liner. The result is simply beautiful.
During a later conversation with David, he relayed that his work is merely a side activity. I asked him how he started in the soft goods realm, and like many folks, it started early in life:
His first time behind a sewing machine was not all that unlike many other artisans – Jayberry Miller of Tuff Possum Gear comes to mind.
David is quick to point out that one-off bespoke creations like my custom fabric dopp kit are a rarity. He’ll take on unique projects every now and then because they are interesting, but he is a strong advocate that custom work comes at a custom price. One-off projects cut into time available to sew up orders from customers seeking more standard combinations, and he’ll point a customer to his Instagram or the DMade Bags Facebook page first for research.
Like many folks forging their own path—small batches of product at a time—David grew into things gradually. You can sense the expertise and excitement in his voice when he mentions his design and sewing work, because he has invested a considerable amount of time getting to a level of expertise where so many pack junkies swear by his work and own many of his creations.
I asked David about his thoughts on the “Maker Movement” that we’ve seen of late:
When you need to add a splash of color to your pack loadout, check out DMade Bags and the nearly limitless combinations of colors and fabrics available. You can browse these on his website, his Instagram, and his Facebook. Sign up for his newsletter and you’ll get notified of something new that David has been cooking up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
If you want to dig deeper into the maker movement, you can check our TPP Makers, a spin-off community focused on letting makers collaborate, show off their work, and sell their goods to the community.