What's Old:Unfurled sails dotting the blue waters of lakes and coastline herald summer. (U.S. Sailing counts nearly 150,000 boats among its members alone.) As sails convert wind to power, they degrade with exposure to sun, wind, and water. But what happens when a sail is worn out? The fabric gets bundled away in a basement, boathouse, or landfill.
Upcycle: Sea Bags began collecting used sails in 1999, upcycling them to create everything from duffel bags and purses to wallets, shaving kits, and throw pillows. At first, founder Hannah Kubiak made 45 items each year. Now Kubiak and business partner Beth Shissler, along with 25 employees, design and create 2,000 units per month. All products are made in Portland, Maine, and the location inspires nautical themes.
What's New: One of the latest creations from Sea Bags is the Vertical Striped Duffel Bag. The synthetic polyester of upcycled Dacron sails makes the duffel durable, water-resistant, flexible, and wrinkle-free. Sail rope encircles the bag, offering strong handles and reinforcing the duffel's shape and strength. Inside the 10x22x9-inch bag, I found ample room to pack for a weekend getaway or five-day excursion. A marine-grade zipper pulls the duffel together, standing up to heavy loads and full volume without budging. The woven, detachable shoulder strap makes the duffel functional as a carry-on for plane trips and the perfect candidate for road-trip stowaway or gym bag. Overall, the upcycled sails offer a jaunty look and unique feel for a functional travel companion. $180; seabags.com —Olivia Dwyer