Accompany me on a visit to the ultralight candy shop that is the HUCKEPACKS Workshop in Cologne, Germany!
Disclosure: Mateusz is a long-time friend, but I paid this trip myself and was not paid to write this article or produce the videos. I received a PHOENIX Lite for testing and giving feedback. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is – I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on affiliate links & blogger transparency.
I remember the first call from Mateusz about the new company. I was backpacking in Vålådalen in September 2018, and was just at the beautiful turquoise lakes having a short break when my phone rang. I answered, and as usual Mateusz talked and talked and talked, until I had to tell him that I was about to continue hiking again and would like to know what it’s about. “Well, I plan to open LAUFBURSCHE Gear again. But it won’t be called LAUFBURSCHE anymore. What do you think about the name HUCKEPACKS?” I like it, I answered, it connects well to the old brand. From then on forward my phone would regularly ring and I’d chat for an half hour or longer with Mateusz about the new company and the new products.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019 and the family and me are on a train to Cologne. We have been travelling for two weeks around Germany, visiting Berlin, my home town and other places, and now we arrived in the city with the cathedral. We stayed at a nice Hostel in Ehrenfeld, and one morning I was able to steal away from parental duties and visit Mateusz at his Workshop.
Now I have seen photos of the workshop before when friends were visiting him, and it was with much anticipation that I entered these “holy halls”. And amazing they were indeed. I was welcomed by the four new packs – the PACKL and PHOENIX – in their DxG and Cuben versions, and Mateusz walked towards me with a coffee in hand. I gave him a big hug and was happy that he was still with us. He made me a coffee, and then we sat down to chat.
It is always enlightening to sit and talk with Mateusz, and realize how much thought he puts into the smallest of details. Case in point: The new roll-top closure of the PHOENIX backpack. Where other companies are happy to use a tried & tested roll-top, Mateusz found it neither practical nor aesthetically pleasing. When he showed me the new roll-top closure, which folds and opens like an accordion, my jaw dropped. So easy, so beautiful, so practical, and such a smart continuation of the old HUCKEpack closure. And what is most amazing: He had this design already in 2015, and tested it on his HRP thru-hike that year!
We shot two more videos after the Interview above, about the PHOENIX and the PACKL, drank another coffee and talked about the launch of the company, backpacking, and much more. Sadly, and you likely see this coming, parental duties called and so, after several hours, it was time to say good bye to Mateusz and head back to the city, so I could play with the kids and we could go have some lunch with the family =)
I am so excited that my friend Mateusz not only won his battle with cancer, but that he decided to return to sewing the finest ultralight backpacks which he is well-known and loved for! A few weeks later I was fortunate enough that a PHOENIX Lite pack arrived here, which I used on a backpacking trip in Lapland, and I still am using my old PACKsack regularly. If you are in the market for a pack for everyday use and Overnighters, or need a pack for long backpacking trips, give the new HUCKEPACKS packs a good look! I for one am really loving these packs, and wish Mateusz all the best with the new business!
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