jan shooting a penguin

Everything has a story

Just call me Mister Jan! In my previous life as co-owner of a company called Singing Rock, our suppliers could not pronounce my Flemish family name. That’s why they called me Mister Jan. When we sold the company, I fell into a sort of limbo. My goals had changed and I had more time again to spend on my hobbies such as bird watching, nature photography, bookbinding, etc.

Mr Jan meets his new best friend

Mr Jan meets his new best friend

I’m an outdoor gear freak for a long time. The outdoor industry was my second home for nearly 25 years. It seemed logical to me that I looked with a critical eye at everything in the market which is used by bird photographers. Equipment happens to fail just when you need it most - not when resting on the shelf. It should meet the basic principle called KISS: keep it simple, stupid. When I look back at how backpacks used to be made in Australia, they were basically just one big bag to stuff with gear and they would not let you down under any circumstances in the wilderness. On the other hand there were also the designs originating from the USA; they were full of bells and whistles and were looking fancy, but they were not functional and the many zippers risked to break just when you needed to use the pack.

I bought a well-known-brand pack for myself, charmed by all the nifty features. By travelling and using it, I discovered that it had loads of unnecessary frills. Moreover it was expensive and not very functional. My friends were using different backpacks than me but most of them with their share of gimmicks. One evening they started to ask me “Why don’t you make a Mr Jan pack?” and they kept on pushing me. That is how the process started…

I started collecting ideas, pros, contras, first sample, testing, remarks, second sample, remarks, final sample, and here we are. What makes our pack better or different as the others, I will explain later.

What's in a name?

One evening on a trip in Norway drinking a beer (or two) with a bunch of friends, the topic was Spitsbergen (Svalbard) and a future trip to the archipelago and there it was decided: the name of our first backpack would be Spitsbergen

Captain Jan

Captain Jan

What the future will be of new products at MrJan-Gear ? I do not know and cannot predict, there are a lot of ideas, new improvements on existing product. Not only packs - but all kind of photography essentials and traveling gear. But between idea, prototype and production there is a long way to go.

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Looking forward to hear from you, with positive remarks, or with propositions for improvement of the product.

Now time to take a look at our fabulous photo backpacks in the Mr. Jan Gear webshop!

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