Written by: Bill Horan. This article first appeard on Orvis News in 2015. Bill retired as President of Operation Blessing in 2018.
I’ve been an avid Orvis customer for over 30 years, but my travels around the world have made me a fan of their travel backpacks, and their Battenkill Businessman’s Backpack in particular. Unlike a hiking backpack, it’s the perfect carry-on backpack for international travel—whether for business, humanitarian trips, or vacation.
Travel Backpacks: Versatile, Tough, and Stylish
The Orvis Battenkill Businessman’s Backpack has class, and it’s designed to perfection. The leather trim is in all the right high-wear areas, and the high-quality brass hardware doesn’t rust: It separates this backpack from the rest. If you need a travel backpack that fits under your airplane seat, the Battenkill accommodates with ease, and you’ll appreciate the smart pocket layout when you need to work or pass the time on your flight. This backpack has a padded internal compartment for your laptop, and an external pocket with a padded section that fits a tablet.
You can spot an Orvis backpack from across a crowded airline gate or on a mountain trail. It’s distinctive and tells you that the owner has a highly developed sense of style. I own two of them: one green and one in khaki.
My closets look like Orvis storerooms, and many of the items are still in great shape after more than 20 years of intensive use: Leather jackets, leather vests, raincoats, at least 20 pairs of Orvis trousers, gorgeous tweed shooting jackets that never go out of style, sport coats, belts, shoes, boots, sweaters, heavy flannel shirts, backpacks, and luggage. I even have an Orvis watch.
Living in today’s fast-track rodeo of disposable everything, Orvis rides alone outside conventional fences. The company embodies old-school ethics and values, and offers high-quality but affordable products it stands behind. The customer gets his or her money’s worth every single time—even years after the sale, if you’re unhappy for whatever reason, Orvis will provide a refund with no argument.
If I had to choose one specific product to write about, which I do for this blog, it would have to be the Orvis Businessman’s Backpack. It has class and is designed with perfection. The leather trim is in all the right high-wear areas, and the high quality brass hardware doesn’t rust and separates the backpack from the rest. You can spot an Orvis backpack from across a crowded airline gate or on a mountain trail. It’s distinctive and tells you that the owner has a highly developed sense of style. I own two of them: one green and one in khaki.
Operation Blessing, the humanitarian organization I lead, has staff and operations in 27 foreign countries. Each year, I try to visit at least half of them, and my Bullhide-and-Canvas Backpack or green Battenkill Backpack travels with me. I’ve carried these travel backpacks all over the world multiple times, in all kinds of weather. They’ve been in the back of pickup trucks in dust storms in Sudan’s Darfur desert, in an open boat during a squall off Japan’s Urato Islands, and in a helicopter in Haiti’s Central Plateau.
What’s In My Travel Backpack?
I’ve carried everything you can imagine, from rock samples, whole fresh fish, live oysters, and bundles of dried seaweed, to life-saving medicines, satellite phones, and iPads. The backpacks never seem to wear and even get better with age.
No matter where I am in the world, I get compliments about my Orvis backpacks. I will be wearing Orvis clothes and using Orvis products until the day I die.
Bill Horan is the former President of Operation Blessing, an organization dedicated to “alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.” Visit Operation Blessing to learn more.