50 Years of Tough Traveler - A Virtual Tour!

A virtual tour of the Tough Traveler bag-making process & history!  

We make bags with the same heavy-duty materials & painstaking techniques we've used for over five decades.  Here's how we create both beloved old designs & exciting new ones in our Schenectady, NY factory. Learn more about the history of Schenectady, one of the oldest cities in the USA, at https://www.cityofschenectady.com/!

1) Everything happens in our building on State St - located on a bus route so our employees can arrive easily & sustainably:

 
Our current building in winter                   ---------------    Our then building in the 1970s!

2) We design all our bags in-house - from the ideas of our designers, other employees, and customers!

 
Designer Christian Timm at work  --- A student team works with our staff to design a new bag

 3) We keep a large supply of fabric & other materials in stock!  We purchase 95%+ USA-made materials.

4) Once the materials are stacked, they are ready to be cut:

 
Cutters Joe Mahabir & Dewan Singh

5) And then individually sewn.  Every seam is reinforced, and straps are triple-stitched at stress points. With good care, Tough Traveler bags can last many decades. And we always repair, no matter the age or damage level of the bag.  It's part of our commitment to creating durable products that don't contribute to waste.

 
Sewers Rebecca Daniels & Bonnie Cox


Bibi Lodin demonstrates techniques for a school tour

6) Our building is large enough to make as many bags as needed!

7) Once the bags are made, they are ready to be shipped or displayed:

 
Shipper Lakshmi Singh


This picture must be from the '80s, right?

7) Over the years, our products have been displayed in museums, our factory has been featured on Mister Roger's Neighborhood, and our company has won awards both local and national. We are well-known both for the quality of our product and our focus on fair, local, and sustainable manufacturing.


Crew from Mister Roger's Neighborhood with Bonnie Cox --- Our Kid Carrier featured in a display at the Schenectady Museum of Science & Industry

8) But despite the heavy weight of our legacy... our diverse team manages to maintain its comradery & sense of humor!


Unidentified sewer in need of a nap

The crew has a party, circa 2000

An important request: Will you join our new email list?  Our sales & special offers are typically for this list only.  And we need our long-term customers so that we can continue manufacturing in the USA!  As you probably know, it's faster and cheaper to buy an import, although it won't be the same quality or follow the same manufacturing standards.  So, it's crucial for us to keep in touch with our valued customers.  Thank you so much!

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