On the 2nd of May 2017 I wrote a post about tech clothing trends. In it I mentioned The Blue Crane Hoodie from South African company Youneek. At the time of writing the hoodie was merely a crowdfunding campaign. Youneek wanted to manufacture the garment and was looking for the necessary support to make it happen. You can read that original post here.
Fast forward a little more than a year later
The Blue Crane Hoodie has had its first manufacture run and can be purchased in stores around South Africa. It can also be purchased online. Because of my initial support for the hoodie when it was still at concept stage and because I’ve purchased a few garments from Youneek in the past, the team sent me a hoodie to try out. I was apprehensive at first. The original concept was a hoodie that could double as a bag. The hoodie was designed for those that travel often. It changed from hoodie to shoulder bag but also came with a host of features that would ensure you’d never be rummaging through a backpack again. The feature list is long. There are more than 20 features that the hoodie offers up. I’m not going to run through all the things, instead I’m going to walk you through my personal experience travelling in the Blue Crane Hoodie.
My first trip in the hoodie
At the end of June I needed to pack for 5 weeks in the Ukraine to film Overwatch Contenders. I’m a frequent long haul flyer so I’ve got some very specific requirements when I travel. I take select items with me and know what I need on my hand luggage and what can go in the hold. For a long trip like this it becomes a bit of a headache. I need to take a small wheelie suitcase with as I carry a large amount of tech with me and don’t feel comfortable leaving that in my check in luggage. However, while on flights it usually means trying to open a biggish suitcase and dig out my Kindle, charging cables and the like while then also adding my small handbag to the suitcase before putting it in the overhead bin. On landing I need to jostle a bunch of people out the way to remove the handbag with credit cards and passports before putting all my in flight extras back in to the suitcase. It is a mission and I’m yet to find a backpack that has the space for me.
This time I flew in the Hoodie. I didn’t need a handbag and I never once had to open my carry on luggage. The hoodie has a clever bottle opener zipper (never used but clever) and a waterproof drinks pocket. I used the pocket for my vape, which has a tendency to leak on flights for some reason. There is a passport pocket which I used for my passports and credit cards. My phone fitted neatly into the waterproof cellphone pocket and my kindle slipped into the Large iPad Pocket. I found another pocket that I could add a travel toothbrush and lip balm to. There is a small wrist wallet pocket on the side that I put my beloved jewellery in (I take it off on flights as it irritates me but felt much safer know it was zipped in to a pocket!).
There are a host of other features on this hoodie that I haven’t even touched on like the clever and well placed earbuds hole that allows me to run my earphones without ever having to take my phone out or the thumbhole cuffs which I love because it makes for a far more snug sleep. There’s even an attached microfibre cloth in one of the many pockets.
Oh the luxury
The one thing I really do struggle with is flying. I get so cold on long haul flights and constantly try bag extra blankets from empty seats. The Blue Crane Hoodie changed all of that. It is made from the most luxurious fabric and is SO warm (granted, with the amount of things zipped in to various parts of my body, I have no doubt that helps). The hoodie itself is lined with Mongolian Fleece and feels like a warm hug when you have it up. I felt like I was wrapped in a duvet which was wonderful. The hoodie also folds into a travel pillow but I haven’t tried that feature yet.
Talking about folding up
The hoodie is designed to fold up into a shoulder bag. It is the most simple and pain free task. You unzip a back compartment, fold the hoodie into two pieces of cotton fabric and simply zip it up. Everything stored in the hoodie remains and the new bag offers a zip pocket as well as a second space to store. When I landed in the Ukraine and had gone through passport control I was hit with the European summer, so I folded the hoodie up into the bag in less than 5 minutes (and without every having to put a thing down) and waited for my luggage. By the time I walked out of the airport I had a shoulder bag and two wheelie bags with me. Not too much of a hassle and never once did I need to open suitcases on the floor to get what I needed.
Should you buy it?
Last year, when I saw this hoodie I was in love. As someone who travels a lot I saw all the advantages. However, I still had my concerns. After using it those concerns are out of the window. Yes, holding all the things on your person is somewhat strange and I did feel a bit frumpy at points, but the security of knowing my valuables were on me at all times out weighed the frumpy feeling. The hoodie is so comfortable and warm that it made my sleep on the plane far more bearable. I think if you travel frequently this will be right up your alley and you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase. There is also clearly a large amount of love and thought that has gone in to manufacturing it and it rings clear in the quality. It costs R899, which might seem steep but if you see the detail on the hoodie the costing justifies itself. I also love that is manufactured completely in South Africa. I’ve shared the link above where you can purchase your own (there are four different colour options if you’re wondering).
DISCLOSURE: I was sent a Blue Crane Hoodie to review and keep.