Yesterday, we released the Monterey backpack, based on our best-selling Camps Bay, in a more compact silhouette that still fits a full DSLR kit and 13″ laptop. Today, ONA’s creative director shares the story behind the name.
We named our newest backpack after Monterey County, California, the land of John Steinbeck, Doris Day, Edward Weston, and Clint Eastwood, to name a few. Where Ansel Adams spent the last two decades of his life, and thousands have cut their teeth trying to capture Point Lobos, Garrapata, and Bixby Bridge. Land that is tamed in parts, but mostly wild and rolling, which yields Pinot Noir grapes and artichokes, the latter served fried from farm stands off the highway. And about that road—the Pacific Coast Highway—the greatest drive in the world, full stop.
It’s also where I cultivated an early love of photography, with my dad’s Olympus and rolls of Kodak Gold. On weekend trips to “the coast,” I would jump in and out of my family’s Volvo station wagon, camera in hand, to explore the old tin canneries, the beach dunes, and the flowers and sandstone of Mission Carmel. Like all seasides, Monterey felt free, but also a beguiling blend of elusive and warm, like the Joni Mitchell and Chet Baker songs that are its apt soundtrack. Decades later, I would hop out of my parents’ (admittedly newer) Volvo and propose to my wife on Carmel Beach, and last winter we brought our daughter back to see the coast for herself.
The world knows the area, rightly so, for Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and one very notable HBO series. To me, it will always be a bounty of texture and light, sea breeze and pines, winding roads and discovery, hearty meals and family. We name all of our bags after places of meaning, and Monterey is a place that sticks with you. Where the road and the shot and the story all meet. – Bryan