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ETK OPTIKS: Artisan Camera Bags with Traditional Handmade Textiles


Ethnotek has launched its new ETK OPTIKS collection, a series of “socially responsible” camera bags made by artisans using traditional textiles from five countries around the world.

The company partners with artisan villages in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and sales of the camera bags help sustain employment for villagers working in hand printing, weaving, and embroidery.

“Ethnotek is much more than just a bag; it’s a celebration of culture, community and a global movement,” the company states.

The ETK OPTIKS collection consists of three main camera-carrying products: the Raja Full Photo Camera Pack, the Desa Camera Sling Pouch, and the Kota Camera Strap.

In addition to the artisan-made panels, the ETK OPTIKS collection features water-resistant 840-denier ballistic nylon, strong Kifco hardware, YKK zippers, nylon seatbelt webbing, scratch-proof brushed nylex and honeycomb ripstop nylon lining.

The Raja (“king” in Hindi) Full Photo Pack 30L is covered with the Raja Full Photo Interchangeable Strapped Thread, an interchangeable front panel that gives the backpack its distinctive color and design. The thread allows the Raja to be one bag with many possible styles.

The Thread has two buckled straps and a hidden zip pocket for holding a tripod and other small items. Hidden behind the Thread is a zip compartment that provides access to the main compartment that holds your camera gear.

Included with the backpack are padded inserts that allow you to customize the internal space for your personal camera kit.

The side of the backpack features a quick access zipper for an alternate means of accessing the main compartment.

Space-wise, the backpack can hold two bodies, a drone, multiple lenses, and a host of accessories.

The Desa (“village” in Bahasa Indonesian) Camera Sling Pouch can hold most DSLR and mirrorless cameras with extra space for an additional lens and/or accessories. An internal vinyl-mesh zip pocket and two external slip pockets can hold various small items as well.

If you’d like to nest the Desa in the Raja backpack (or any other larger bag), the shoulder strap of the Desa can be removed and stored within to convert it from a bag to a pouch. What’s more, the optional removable waist belt designed for the Raja backpack can also be used to turn the Desa into a waist bag.

Finally, the Kota (“town” or “city” in Bahasa Indonesian) Camera Strap features a neoprene underside and edges, an artisan fabric top, a hidden stretch-mesh memory card pocket under the shoulder pad, a detachable anchor-point system with anodized aluminum snap hooks, and easy adjustability.

Here’s a 3.5-minute video introducing the ETK OPTIKS collection:

Ethnotek is launching the ETK OPTIKS collection on Kickstarter. Early birds can snag (if the project successfully delivers) the strap for $49, the pouch for $84, the photo pack for $245, or the entire bundle for $378. The company is aiming to ship the hand-made collection to backers in July 2019.

Full disclosure: Ethnotek provided a pre-release ETK OPTIKS bundle for the purpose of this article.