A firm favourite both lo­cally and abroad, Camp Cover is the go-to brand for keep­ing your out­door gear un­der wraps. We vis­ited their one-stop shop in Black­heath, Cape Town, to find out ex­actly how they make their bags

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents - Text and pho­tos Kyle Kock

The com­pany opened its doors in 1991, pro­duc­ing soft cooler bags at their small fa­cil­ity in Mait­land. The Camp Cover range of bags as we know it to­day first came to mar­ket about 20 years ago, and al­lowed the fam­ily-run busi­ness to grow and thus ac­quire a new, larger 2 000 m2 fa­cil­ity in Black­heath in 2005, where all of its 80 em­ploy­ees are based. The fac­tory out­put av­er­ages be­tween 150 and 350 bags per day, while do­ing runs from any­thing from 50 to a few hun­dred or even a few thou­sand units of a par­tic­u­lar item. The staff might be able to man­u­fac­ture up to 1 200 sim­ple shopping bags in a day, but if more com­plex prod­ucts are also made, it might mean that only 60 bags move off the fac­tory floor that day. They are very adapt­able to the mar­ket con­di­tions, able to turn the fo­cus away from a prod­uct that’s not do­ing so well and even de­velop a com­pletely new item and have it on shelves within the space of two months – giv­ing them a dis­tinct ad­van­tage when it comes to ri­val brands from the Far East, who send out ship­ments of generic items in large batches ev­ery six months to a year. Apart from their flag­ship Camp Cover range they also do plenty of pro­mo­tional and cor­po­rate items, and pride them­selves that they have enough ca­pac­ity to serve big­ger clients who want big cus­tom batches but are still small enough to be so adapt­able, they can pro­vide sin­gle one-off per­son­alised items to the man in the street. The busi­ness has been grow­ing in terms of vol­ume in our tough eco­nomic cli­mate, and Camp Cover keep their fin­ger on the pulse by main­tain­ing a strong pres­ence at out­door shows and life­style ex­pos, where di­rect con­tact with prospec­tive clients and cur­rent cus­tomers is made. They lis­ten to sug­ges­tions, and in a few cases have also made al­ter­ations to ex­ist­ing prod­ucts based on feed­back from those who use them on a daily ba­sis. Cur­rently the range com­prises about 170 dif­fer­ent bags, but twice a year they look at de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts. Most re­cently they’ve ex­panded their range to in­clude a few bags for hunt­ing ri­fles, while also main­tain­ing a keen in­ter­est in South Africa’s grow­ing cy­cling in­dus­try – an­other niche mar­ket that could of­fer op­por­tu­nity for ex­pan­sion. Camp Cover has also started ex­port­ing to the Aus­tralian and Euro­pean mar­kets, who have come to ap­pre­ci­ate their ex­cel­lent South African qual­ity. At the rate the range is grow­ing, Camp Cover could be of­fer­ing up to 200 dif­fer­ent bags within the next two years.

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