My aim is true. North.

When I started 48North, it was about more than making good-looking bags. It was a passion to create world-class bags with a soul—and to do it in the USA—with the ultimate attention to detail, style and aesthetic. I wanted to design bags that could withstand the conditions of the toughest northern climes, but look just as good on the streets of New York or L.A.

Today, my design goals remain the same: To create bags that you trust to make you look good and get the job done. It’s the only way I can feel confident that, even years from now, your 48North bag will feel like it was worth every penny you paid for it—and then some.

Paul Jacobson, Owner, 48North


The legend of 48North

Way back when, during another ridiculously cold and snowy Wisconsin winter, 48North founder Paul Jacobson was just a scraggly teen with penchant for creating cool stuff. He sewed his first backpack from a kit at his family’s laminated woodgrain kitchen table. Even then, he added extra stitches and some inspired design modifications. Soon after, he was onto parkas, down jackets and sleeping bags. Those kit projects led to his love for customization, as he increasingly made things that meant something more for himself, his friends and family (and a handful of paying customers).

Then, it was off to college in Missoula, Montana and Madison, Wisconsin where he spent a better part of his free time hiking, biking and exploring the paths less traveled. He finished college with a Mechanical Engineering degree, and eventually a real life engineering career. But he never lost his desire for a more hands-on approach to creative expression (albeit, with an engineer’s eye for quality).

What began as discovering outdoor equipment and do-it-yourself resources in the immortal Whole Earth Catalog, soon extended to a fascination with old-school brands like Sierra Designs, Frostline Kits and Eastern Mountain Sports. 

Today, after hundreds of projects, his aesthetic is well defined. Still inspired by the highest handmade quality, do-it-yourself spirit and Paul’s seemingly eternal desire to make things that are much more than things. They are trusted companions on life’s fine journey.

About Paul Jacobson

I’ve been a builder/maker from day one. Badgered my mother into buying me model cars and planes to build before I could read. Disassembled my bicycles to tweak them before I knew which way to turn the wrench. I taught myself to sew on mom’s old Singer so I could make down jackets, down sleeping bags, and outdoor gear in high school, and bought my first sewing machine for my 18th birthday. I sewed my own bicycle panniers and built a bike and wheels from the ground up for several weeks-long solo bicycle tours in college, and spent a summer guiding high school kids on canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Fast forward through a career in Mechanical Engineering designing semi-conductor fabs and data centers to a desire to return to my roots. 48North was born at the kitchen table of a family holiday gathering. It’s coming home. Welcome to my world!