A TRUE DIRTBAG BAG ~The story behind Gili Bags. By Chicago Toughill.

Over 500,000 tons of billboards are printed on and disposed of every year, adding a tremendous amount of waste to already overflowing disposal sites, and using massive amounts of energy. Misprinted billboards are also discarded, seemingly unsuitable for display or any other use… until now. On May 5th, Gili launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes to raise money for production Gili bags, unique and versatile bags created from upcycled billboards and vinyl mesh.  The mesh gear bags are indestructible and perfect for any watersport.  There is a larger version of this bag for true whitewater enthusiasts.

Founded by a raft guide from Vail, Derek Redd, Gili has created three Gili bags for all sports and outdoor occasions, and has combined durability and function with fashion and style.  Each billboard bag is one-of-a-kind and the mesh gear bags come in a wide variety of colors.  All materials are sourced in the US and the bags are hand-made in Colorado.
Redd explains Gili’s goal is to “reduce waste and raise awareness towards a sustainable future.” In further support of this goal, 2% of all profits from upcycled products will be donated to the Nature Conservancy. 

We caught up with Derek in the midst of this awesome highwater season in Colorado to ask a few questions.
DBP: What were you doing when you first came up with the notion of making Gili bags?
DR: I was traveling through Indonesia, training for my divemaster certification. I was using cheap gear bags and stumbled upon locals making bags out of old surf banners. I wanted to make awesome bags out of indestructible mesh and upcycled billboards when I got back to Colorado.

DBP: What’s the story behind the name?
DR: Gili means ‘island’ in Indonesian. I decided to start my own company while I was there so I named the company after it.
DBP: How did the Kickstarter campaign go?
DR: WE were successfully funded, raising a little over $28,000.

DBP: Nice! Where do you see this thing going? 
DR: Everywhere! Blowing up into a lifestyle brand like Patagonia. The main goal is raising awareness towards a more sustainable future, making products for every sport that last as well as using upcycled materials.
DBP: Dirtbags are always stoked to support one of their own. Give us a brief history of your rubber pushing career. 
DR: I’m a 7th year rookie guide in Vail, Colorado with Lakota Guides. We run the Ark, Eargle, and Colorado rivers. 

DBP: One last question… Always one of our favorites. Tell us about your personal most epic WALLACE. 
DR: I flipped a Class 2 private trip early season with friends and family. We weren’t rigged to flip, let alone dressed to swim. Thankfully the only thing I lost was a couple beers that were sure to be nice and cold for a couple random dirtbags downstream.
DBP: Awesome Derek! Dirt Bag Paddlers are stoked to be on your team, bro. Any last words for the community?
Derek adds: “Just a side note.. If anyone has an extra spot for a trip down the big ditch, contact me because I’ve yet to experience the Grand Canyon. Thanks!”

A link to the website
Derek contact info
[email protected]

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