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
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.