A multi-function hydration bag with a twist

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An event filled with fun, laughter, friends, music, and the outdoors turned into a bad day but birthed the creative idea of a backpack. “It all started at a music festival, I ended up getting sick and dehydrated at a music festival, got separated from my friends, had a horrible experience, says Nate Williams, owner of Northside Bags. From that moment, Northside Bags was born during William’s college career.

Williams, a University of Iowa student shares that his journey to Duluth started when he attended a trade show. "I met two entrepreneurs who had an advertising company in Duluth. They really liked my project, and we really kinda kicked it off. That summer, they moved me out to Duluth, Minnesota, to work for their company.” The company officially started in 2020, but Nate began working on the project in 2018.

Their first bag ever created was this solar hydration bag known as the survival bag! "This survival bag is able to charge phones, drones, I watches, and any USB ports devices while you are out in the sun. It also comes with a two-point-five litter hydration tube. So, it can also be used as a normal hydration bag if you do not want to use the solar panel."

One of only two black-owned hiking backpack businesses in the nation, Nate shared with me how impactful he feels. "It is important to representation in the community. Since the start of 2020, there’s been a lot of bipoc initiatives and getting more black-owned businesses out in the outdoor industry; and I am really proud to be a part of that!”

Along with seeing more representation, getting more black-owned businesses into the outdoor industry is a goal that Nate and other companies are working towards. “We kind of have that similar mission to diversify the outdoors and really just doing more in the outdoor industry as a whole.”

Northside Bags has more products like hoodies, detachable solar panels, and regular hydration packs. The backpacks can be purchased locally at Great Lakes Gear Exchange, Trail Fitters, Superior Cannabis Company and online at Northsidebags.com. The company is currently in a 30-day campaign to help protect the boundary waters from sulfide-ore and copper mining. To learn more, visit Northside Bags Save the Boundary Waters Fanny Pack.