For years, Adam Wood struggled with the quality of gear he was using on overlanding trips. When poorly created hi-lift jack covers became an impediment to his adventures, the California native saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market by creating his own.
Years later, he found another unmet need in the market: high quality soft cases to help adventurers store and access their travel gear. Naming his company STEP 22 Gear after his childhood idol, the sweet-swinging San Francisco Giants first baseman Will Clark, Adam was ready to step up to the plate.
It was May, 2020. You probably remember what the spring of 2020 was like.
The world was in the throes of a pandemic and, well, launching a brand isn’t easy in the best of conditions. Fortunately, the timing was right for outdoors gear, as people weren’t exactly taking trips to crowded metropolitan areas.
It was then that STEP 22 rolled out a line of high-quality, long-lasting soft cases. “When we started STEP 22, we decided to use the highest quality materials in the world. Our goal is that our product never winds up in the trash.”
At Overland Expo West in 2021, Adam encountered adventurers who were enamored with the look and utility of his cases. “Guys were buying our cases and saying ‘I want to attach this to my roof rack!’” remembers Adam. “I had to say to them, ‘Wait a second! I can’t sell you that if it’s going right on your roof rack. Get yourself a hard case!’”
It was around this time that Adam became acquainted with the Zarges brand. “I saw overlanders who were using Zarges cases to store their stuff. I saw YouTubers who were using Zarges cases. Some of them were extremely organized, but for some, their case was like a black hole.”
As we all know, one of the most vital camping hacks is intelligent storage: finding your stuff right where you left it, and being able to quickly pivot at a moment’s notice. While some overlanders organize their Zarges aluminum cases in a manner that would make Marie Kondo proud, there are others who have struggled to do so. That’s where STEP 22 comes in.
“Diehard overlanders are telling us that packing gear in several STEP 22 soft cases housed within a Zarges case is an ideal setup,” said Adam. “Everything is right where they left it and they can swap gear out in seconds if the conditions dictate.”
Zarges and STEP 22 are complementary brands, but the fact that the STEP 22 bags nestle within Zarges cases isn’t the whole story. Zarges cases are fabricated from environmentally friendly aluminum and carry a lifetime warranty, and STEP 22 offers the same warranty as well as an environmentally conscious repair or replace policy—again, keeping in mind Adam’s goal of never seeing a STEP 22 case in a landfill.
As for the legendary ballplayer after whom STEP 22 is named? Through a stroke of luck (and a former teammate who happens to be an avid overlander), Adam was able to meet Will Clark and partner with him on a limited edition patch to raise money for autism research.
We are proud to collaborate with STEP 22 Gear as Zarges cases continue to focus on protecting what matters most. We will have a limited quantity of gear available at Overland East from October 6-8, 2023, as well as on our website after the show. Be sure to shop early for the best selection!