Gals Who Knack

(and who swear that Knack is the best work backpack for women)

Laura Foley Ramsden is a mother, wife, amateur chef, seasoned executive, and served as the fourth-generation fish mongress for the business founded by her great grandfather. Her salty sense of humor and boatload of grit helped her drive delivery trucks, author cookbooks, travel the world, and become an expert and passionate advocate for sustainable fisheries management in the United States. As a busy Knackpacker with a distinct perspective, we thought you may enjoy her unique reflections as she takes over yet another Knack blog… 

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best backpack for women

Do you have that friend who is your “go-to” for recommendations - the hottest new restaurant; the best-fitting jeans; the latest Netflix series; the perfect gifts to buy for your hard-to-please, 20-something daughters (thank you, Liza M.); or the latest and greatest in everything? I have never been the “go-to” friend - I am always the “recommendee” not the “recommender” - except this one time, with one very special item. Yep, you guessed it, my Knack bag.  

First, some background. It was 2019 and my college besties were all going to celebrate a momentous birthday during that year. We had spent the prior decade dreaming up the best city to gather for a girls’ weekend to mark the big occasion and had finally settled on Paris. 

Before I flew to Paris, I spent the night in NYC with our daughter who was turning 21 (yes, mom provided the credit card for her “first” cocktail), so I needed a bag for my night in the City as well as my large wheeled bag for my Paris “wardrobe” (a gal needs options). I grabbed my Large Knack backpack figuring I could not only keep my NYC outfits/toiletries separate, but also I could use the expandable extra suitcase compartment for any purchases I made once I got to Paris. It was the perfect plan: I wore that Knack all over Paris and my friends availed themselves of the extra storage at every stop. I carried passports, presents, sunglasses and much, much more! And, as an added bonus, I walked the streets hands-free: no annoying tote bag slipping off my shoulder or shopping bag slowly cutting off the circulation in my fingers until they turned blue.

Well, during our time in Paris, my friends became Knack converts - not only for travel but for their daily work lives as well. Since our trip, they’ve talked to me so often about their Knacks that I had to share how three women, in completely different career fields from completely different parts of the country, are living their best Knack lives with the best work backpack for women out there.  

The Best Work Backpack for Women - Legal Version

Jody Weinberg was the first adopter. Jody is a top lawyer and Vice President for Pixar Animation Studios. She frequently commutes overnight from her Los Angeles home office to Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, CA and thought a Knack would make her commute easier. She purchased her Knack immediately after coming back from our trip. She liked it so much she purchased a second size and color in November 2019! 

Jody loves her Knack because it keeps her things (work and travel) super organized. Her favorite feature? She keeps her lens wipes in her Knack’s glasses pocket so she can easily access them at all times. As an attorney, she needs to have clear vision for the minute details in all the contracts she writes and reviews. She also loves the extra protection that her Knack’s separate padded computer pocket provides her laptop (where she saves her many highly sensitive, “can’t lose” documents). Also, Jody epitomizes the “One Bag” lifestyle as she uses only her Knack bag for business travel. According to Jody, when she travels for work, her colleagues often ask, “Where’s the rest of your stuff?”. They compliment her on her efficient packing and the sleekness of her Knack; she views it as her secret weapon! Finally, her kids are big fans of the expandable suitcase compartment because it allows her to bring home Pixar goodies from all the movie openings she attends - not every mom comes home from business trips with Toy Story swag!

The Best Work Backpack for Women - Design Version

Michelle Holland, owner of interior design firm Nantucket House, (located on the tiny island of Nantucket, 20 miles from the mainland) and mother of three busy kids, is our next Knack gal.  Michelle is constantly traveling for design sourcing, meeting with off-island clients and, on most weekends, her kids’ hockey games. She wanted a Knack to help her work and travel out of the same bag.

best backpack for women

A fact of living on Nantucket, and working all along the East Coast, is that the ferry to the mainland becomes your go-to form of transportation. Michelle’s Knack backpack allows her to board the ferry hands-free (a requirement when shuttling kids and their gear as invariably someone needs mom to hold something and sometimes there are dogs with leashes complicating matters). Michelle recently boarded the ferry for a visit and I got a glimpse into her busy world. She had come from a hockey rink in New Bedford, MA before spending the night with me in RI. She was then heading directly to clients in Greenwich, CT;  Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Burlington, Vermont. Immediately after meeting with her clients, she was going home for a one day layover before traveling to MOROCCO (yes, the Morocco in Africa!). And Knack was with her every step of the way. 

Michelle studied engineering at the University of Michigan so if she says a bag is well-designed, we all take notice. She showed me how she had her bag fully organized with cords, client binders, personal items, keys to the various properties, and fabric samples. A busy gal like Michelle does rely on a steady supply of caffeine so, for her, it was of the utmost importance that Knack’s hidden water bottle pocket was the perfect size for her favorite travel coffee mug.  Knowing that Michelle was a full-feature utilizer of every pocket Knack had to offer, I was surprised when I saw her struggling to stuff her extra layer Patagonia coat into her Knack.  I thought that she surely knew her Knack could expand and easily handle her coat. Nope, she thought her model didn’t have the expandable suitcase compartment. It was a big moment when this English major, with ZERO spatial relation skills or engineering ability, revealed her Knack’s suitcase compartment expansion zipper which opened to not only provide ample room for the coat, but also the hostess gift she was bringing to her next client. I have a feeling that her newly-discovered suitcase compartment is going to come in handy in Morocco during her visits to the souks.

The Best Work Backpack for Women - Photography Version

The final, and most recent, Knack adopter is none other than Jane Beiles of Jane Beiles Photography. Jane specializes in interior design photography and shoots often for the New York Times as well as major home publications and interior designers throughout the country. Recently, Jane moved to Fairfield, CT which made her commuting time longer to key shoots in NYC, lower Fairfield County and Westchester County, NY. After yet another traffic jam on her longer commute, she began to ponder whether she should start taking the train, rather than driving, to save time. She took time out from the bumper-to-bumper traffic to give me a call to ask about my Knack and whether it would work to help her carry all her gear on the train when she traveled to shoots. Side note: she remembered Knack because I recently stopped by to see her new house in Fairfield but had mistakenly gotten off at the wrong train station - not the one where my car was waiting (signs of aging abound!). So when she came to pick me up, I was able to pull a thank-you latte and blueberry muffin from my Knack for my inconvenienced, in the middle-of-a-move, beloved friend.

Fast forward and now Jane’s Knack bag lets her navigate the narrow aisles of Metro North trains and the labyrinth of Grand Central train platforms hands-free so she can wheel her camera case behind her. I’m stunned by the plethora of petite, yet important, items she always needs with her for a successful shoot. Her Knack is now home to her MacBook Pro, gaffer tape, lens polarizers, Allen wrenches of all different sizes to adjust camera brackets and tripods, lens caps, lens lights, white balance cards - all small but essential items that need to be organized precisely to allow her to be nimble and time-efficient on shoots. Jane uses the expandable suitcase compartment for some of her bulkier gear like light reflectors and laptop stands. Her Knack has made her commute much easier and has given her time back during her hectic days as a traveling photographer.

best backpack for women
best backpack for women

The friendships with my college besties are threaded with funny stories, school memories, shared experiences and a great group text where we share advice on parenting, good books, and new discoveries that make our daily lives easier. It’s been rewarding for me to be the “recommender” for a change and to see how fully integrated Knack has become in the daily lives of my dear friends. Bottom line, it is always good to have friends who have your back and even better when their backs are sporting a Knack!  

Stay tuned for a future blog to learn about how their kids and husbands use their Knacks. 

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