The World Has Changed... Our Quality Hasn't

The World Has Changed... Our Quality Hasn't

Zarges' 90th Anniversary celebration required an unprecedented trove of versatile prizes to complement the rig of even the most seasoned outdoorsmen and women. 

In 1933, Walther Zarges founded the eponymous company Zarges with a simple goal: use lightweight aluminum to improve the lives of people. His company grew, and by the time World War II was done, Zarges was fixing Allied planes in its Weilheim headquarters.

It is an understatement to say that the world has changed in 90 years. Walther could never have forecast just how his boxes would be used nine decades later. Advances in technology, manufacturing, and materials have created many competitors for Walther’s metal cases and ladders. But Zarges cases have continued to set the standard in a competitive industry. 

The materials of which Zarges cases are fabricated have not changed, nor has their attention to detail. Walther’s dream of using lightweight aluminum to build protective cases is still the goal of his company today, but while the painstaking manufacturing process has remained the same, their use has changed dramatically over the years. 

Here in America, Zarges cases are used for a variety of applications. The military relies on Zarges to protect mission critical gear as it is transported around the world. Industry needs Zarges to ensure that whether they are shipping electronic components or gear for a tradeshow everything arrives in one piece. Many other types of professionals from ski techs to roadies use Zarges to organize and transport gear.

Zarges has exploded into consumer markets in the last decade, becoming the case of choice for yachtsmen, fishermen, campers, and overlanders, among others. For this reason, the 90th Anniversary celebration required an unprecedented trove of versatile prizes to complement the rig of even the most seasoned outdoorsmen and women. 

Valued at over $7,000, the 90th Anniversary Grand Prize featured two matte black Zarges cases as well as a host of other highly desirable outdoor gear ranging from a rugged charging cube to a custom truck bed rack. (A full list of the 90th Anniversary haul appears here.) 

In a different time, our winner would have been more like the namesake for her truck, a 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad affectionately named “Bell” after the English explorer Gertrude Bell. (The name of the truck also pays homage to the nickname for the Tacoma, a “Taco.”) Gertrude Bell was one woman in a world full of male adventurers, and while she was a bit of a unicorn, nowadays female overlanders are a bit more prevalent. 

Jessica Kashou originally purchased Bell as a way to take dirt bikes out, and over time, she fell in love with driving trails in a truck, taking in a unique view from her cab. 

As any intrepid explorer would, Jessica has realized the necessity of learning the intricacies of her craft: namely, how to repair her truck and modify it to improve its utility. “I had to learn things like what size tires would work for me to get enough clearance. But when you really get into this, you find that there are so many cool things you can do to your truck. And just when you think you’ve found it all, someone comes out with something else amazing.” 

Being ready for the journey means rigging your truck to be as you want it, but it also means being prepared for anything. It’s the unglamorous stuff: recovery gear, tow straps, a good first aid kit with a tourniquet, and a reliable winch, especially if you’re by yourself. “A winch is one of the priciest things to get, but it’s absolutely necessary if you get into a jam.” 

Jessica stocks her truck with water and freeze-dried meals in case she’s stuck for a longer period of time. Those fit perfectly into her Zarges, carefully organized in the box behind the front seat. And for her, organization is the key. She’s not only overlanding, she’s also stopping along the way to work on her archery chops while sharing her story to Instagram.

“There was a lot to learn for me, and I was inspired to work on the truck myself, not just to save money but to fix it on the trail. Over time, I started to document camping trips, mishaps getting stuck, and life on the trail. Everything is a learning opportunity for me and an opportunity for me to share my experiences.” 

While she was excited to win a couple of stylish Zarges cases, she was also enthralled by Step 22’s packs. “I love storage and organization… I am sort of a storage nerd. There is more room for storage when I use things like Step 22 in combination with Zarges, and it’s a perfect spot for me to keep essential items like freeze-dried essential meals.” 

It was while wandering at Overland Expo Mountain West, seeing the Zarges cases with Step 22 gear comfortably ensconced, that she heard about the 90th Anniversary contest. “I don’t usually sign up for contests, and the one time I did…” 

We can end the sentence for her. She won over $7,000 in insane gear that will absolutely be put to good use. Congratulations to Jessica Kashou, the winner of the Zarges 90th Anniversary Grand Prize!