I used to have an Element hat. It was a classic trucker hat with brown mesh, a (formerly) white front panel with the tree logo in red. I stole it from a buddy, wore it non-stop, it was sick, then I lost it. This was in college, towards the end when I was hitting my “what am I going to do with my life – guess I’ll just move to Wyoming and become a hippy” stride with gusto and needed a solid lid to keep my exploding flow from becoming too unruly. Those were the salad days in more ways than one.
Anyway, I loved that hat and it served me well. I was always intrigued by the circle and tree logo, and saw it around, but never dug any deeper because honestly at that time in my life skate apparel was not for me; despite the fact that I played THPS2, like, all the time. This was before I started wearing skate shoes exclusively because they are the most comfortable, and before I was a super-radical snowboarding hero, so if I wore too much skate stuff I would be labeled that which cuts to core of the human psyche – “POSER.”
That’s a little dramatic, but skate kids were skate kids, and I ran with a preppy crowd, so I wore the hat and that was it. Flash-forward to present day, and the term poser is pretty much extinct from our lexicon. Now we call people “hipsters” and “anti-hipsters” and “sub-ironic” and “how-come-your-pants-don’t-fit guy.” Basically, it’s impossible to pose as anything because style has eclipsed genres and labels and everyone has some sort of ‘traditional” skater element built into their wardrobe. This is both good and bad. Good because we are moving away from putting people into boxes; bad because we can’t put people into boxes.
So, now I have plenty of clothes that a decade ago would have put me in a box inside a box, but currently make me a regular human. Which is nice.
Element, as I came to find out, is primarily a skateboard company or at least that’s how they started out. They sell a vast array of decks, trucks, wheels, risers, ball bearings, and grip tape (I had to look all that up because I’m a poser). But like any other skate company they sell apparel and accessories like jeans, hoodies, and backpacks (I know what those are).
Element also is giving back in several ways. Their “Changing Lives Through Skateboarding” program travels to spread skateboarding and gear to positively transform kids’ lives by promoting social awareness, environmental responsibility, and encourage healthy, active lifestyles. The program operates under the direction of the Elemental Awareness Foundation which aims to “give youth the tools to survive in any environment” by hosting skate events, career day seminars, scholarships and even wilderness workshops. I all sounds very cool and you can learn more here.
Let’s take a look at some packs, because everyone, even posers and hipsters, can use those.
Element Ten Year Messenger
The messenger bag is the utility infielder of the pack world: versatility is its finest attribute. Whether you are heading to the gym, library, work or bodega, a solid messenger bag usually fits the bill.
The Ten Year comes with an internal, padded sleeve for you computer or precious documents. It is also spacious inside, with a rectangle bottom capable of accommodating a jacket or office picnic.
No frill on the inside, but the outside is where this bag shines. The major feature is a two-pack of deep pockets sizable enough for anything from water bottles to shoes. They are also zippered with tiny flaps to keep the elements (!) at bay.
The shoulder strap also goes above and beyond the norm. It features a beefy buckle and strap combined with a shoulder pad placed very near the bag itself (you can see it peaking out on right side in the above picture). This allows you to cinch it up tight high up against your back almost like a backpack. This is awesome when riding a bike or sprinting to class if you woke up in the morning and your alarm sends out a warning and you don’t think you’ll ever make it on time – go ahead sing that last part.
Another great part about this shoulder strap is its adjustability. It has a quick release tab that allows you to pull it tight and loosen it all the way with one hand. The possibilities here are endless and you can come up with your own uses.
Element Mohave 2 Tone Backpack
The 2 Tone is your basic backpack with several key features that separate it from the masses. First, lets start with the basics. The 2 Tone comes with an inner lap top sleeve, an ample primary compartment, mesh sleeves for coffee cups or Jolt Cola, and an outer Velcro flap pocket. Sweet.
This backpack also features straps on the outside to carry your board and a handle at the top for grabbing and toting. You could also use the handle for grabbing and swinging; this would be especially effective with the board strapped to the outside. Touché, Element.
Also featured on this pack are 4 way adjustable shoulder straps to ensure a snug fit during any activity. If you are on the go, this is essential for comfort, especially if hiking or skiing. The shoulder straps also have a chest clip for security and a media pocket for your iPod with a little opening for the headphones. I say iPod because I don’t think my Discman would fit in there. Add in the mesh back (with the tree logo – nice touch) and you’ve got yourself a very versatile pack, from school to the slopes to the streets.
Both the Ten Year and the 2 Tone are bomber, constructed with heavy stitching and polyester so they can take more abuse than an office intern.
Element has also expanded their line to include Element Eden, a very non-skate, very chic collection of women’s clothing. Along with standard skate shoes, they also feature the Emerald line of classy leather and canvas footwear when you need to step your game up for the ladies, or have dinner with your grandma – also a lady. All elements covered, indeed.
Needless to say, Element has come a long way since they sold a trucker cap to a buddy of mine.