While Gomez and I were in Northern Michigan’s Mitten for the St Fattys Day event we had the opportunity to chat with Jason Snell from Barking Bear Bagworks located not far from the event location in Conway, MI. He had several bags built specifically for fat-bikes including the Pugsley and the Moonlander.
I followed up with a few questions for Jason recently so here we go!
What was your first sewing project?
My first sewing project was a light weight Silnylon tarp that came in a kit with a book for instructions from Ray Jardine, the lightweight hiking guy. It was fun, maybe frustrating at times but the end result was a very light tarp for camping. My next project was the quilt kit. Working with insulation is a pain in the ass but, again I ended up with a nice light quilt.
What led to the decision to have a go at bike bags?
I got interested in bikepacking and bought the whole kit for my Surly Karate Monkey from Epic Designs now known as Revelate Designs. I would love to do the Tour Divide one of these days. A couple of years ago I bought a Pugsley and wanted a frame bag for it. So, instead of buying one I started doing some poking around on the internet and found some tutorials on making your own. I got the materials and sewed one up. It worked awesome and I started making them for my other bikes. My friend’s wife ordered one for him for Christmas and it has kinda taken off from there.
How has biz been going so far?
With the fat bike explosion, I thought now is the time to see what I can do. I made up some bags and took them up to Marquette for the Noquemanon snow bike race. I sold one and gave the other one away as a prize. Pretty successful I thought. Then St Fattys Day was even better. I met up with you guys and sold a couple of bags and everyone seemed to like them. So I was pretty excited about it.
When we met you mentioned that you usually work in the AM before heading off to the bike shop. How’s that working out?
Well, instead of wasting all morning sleeping I get up and sew for a couple of hours before work. That way after work I can spend time with my wife, Heidi and our dog Bear, the namesake of my bag making endeavor. It’s just a good way to start the day with a cup of coffee and the sewing machine buzzing along very relaxing. After that I ride my bike to work. I am a year round commuter and love every snowy, rainy, windy, cold minute of it! Two good ways to start the day!
Bear is our 11 year old son, I mean dog. I lived in the upstairs of this guy’s house and Bear just sorta showed up there. We were buddies right from the start. After a couple of months Dave gave him to me and the rest is history. He is an awesome dog and has never really needed any training. He doesn’t get into the garbage or steal food from the table. His only fault is he barks a lot! So, I wanted a cool, unique name that reflected my life and Barking Bear is what I came up with. He’s the best!!!
How can people go about working with you and Barking Bear Bagworks?
If people want to order bags from me, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the best way to do it.
I currently have just been sewing frame bags. But, I am working on a seat bag which I should have a prototype of in a couple of weeks. I want one for an overnighter I’m doing with some fellas up in da UP, eh. Hopefully, I’ll also have a handlebar sling to go along with it. I used a prototype last weekend that worked great but, needs to be tweaked. I’ll also do a fuel tank and some bags that mount in between the stem and handlebar. I have some protos that I’ve used but they need to be tweaked as well. If you have an idea for a bag, let me know! Maybe we can work it out.
Thanks, Jason! Good luck to you and you fledgeling business. We look forward to seeing more of your work.