Building the Amhara

By Azo Equipment ~ 18 October 2015

Our new design - now available

We have finally arrived at the release of the Amhara, our third major backpack. If you are interested, you can see the Amhara’s item page for more details.

We went through many iterations of this design, and have tested it over an extended period. Our initial aim was to create something simpler than the Bashilo, that leans towards adventure, with absolute attention to detail and quality. Sometimes the task of simplifying can itself be complex, and it has taken some time for us to get here. We would like to extend our gratitude to those pre-order customers who have waited so patiently to get theirs.

We design our backpacks to be ready for whatever you throw at them, a month-long journey or a daily commute. However, in particular we wanted the Amhara design to draw from our expeditionary beginnings. We hope that in style and use it evokes some sense of the classic explorer’s backpack, but with improvements made to comfort, durability and in most other aspects.

We cannot wait to hear where people take these backpacks and we hope that our customers will occasionally send us their stories as well as feedback, so that throughout the generations of Amhara backpacks that will follow, we can continue to improve.

The Amhara - in more detail

This time we used a dry finish waxed cotton as the main fabric, which gives us improved abrasion resistance and waterproofing, as well as being soft and tactile to the touch.

In our hardware we made use of the Austri-Alpin Cobra buckle, which we think is the best in the world. While this buckle cannot be undone accidentally, it can still be operated with one hand.

Included in the Amhara is a mesh pocket under the lid for keeping small items organised, as well as a top pocket for rapid access, which faces towards the wearer in order to avoid items falling out, even if the zip is partially undone. For city use, we have retained the laptop sleeve, which fits a device with a screen up to 15” in size.

The main compartment is opened and closed with a Snowlock drawcord, and the bag is less rigid than the Bashilo, meaning that it can be overfilled as required. To improve comfort, we improved strap length to allow for a greater level of tightening. This should mean that the Amhara fits an even wider variety of people.

The Future of the Amhara

It may seem odd to discuss the future of a bag at the time of its release, but we feel we can now give some insight in to what is coming up next. Firstly, we are currently designing and testing a new set of shoulder straps that will initially be rolled out with a future release of the Amhara as an alternative option. These will be canvas based and will be designed for users who need certain performance features, including space for a sternum strap. We hope this will be suitable for people who run, motorcycle or walk great distances with heavy weights in their bags.

Further ahead, we have a number of new Amhara variants in planning that will eventually form a range of backpacks, altogether offering a wide variety of use cases, some with distinct specialisations, but all based on the Amhara core. Look out for the first of these to pop up during sometime next year.

Thanks for reading. If you have pictures of your travels please send them, along with any questions or feedback, to