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Introducing Chip Bags

As we travel through Africa and beyond, we are searching for traditional craftspeople that we may develop products with to market and sell through our online shop, Vagabond Van. In this way, we aim to help communities be self sufficient and maintain vanishing handicrafts. Where possible we encourage the use of recycled materials, adding to the unique story which each product has to tell and minimising its impact on the environment.

Onalenna modelling Vagabond Van Chip Bag in Maun, Botswana.

Onalenna modelling a Chip Bag.

Across a bartering market in Maun, Botswana, we spied an incongruously space-age looking hand bag, twinkling on its owner’s arm as she jostled with change and bananas in the sunlight. Like magpies we pursued the bag and discovered that its owner, with babe balanced on hip, was called Penane and that she had woven the bag herself! We visited her well swept, solar panelled home across the way and with chicks twittering around our feet, Penane’s children proudly showed us their mother’s handiwork. Penane’s daughter called Onalenna (which means ‘I am with her’) and her friends collect discarded chip packets and sweetie wrappers (this is what gives the bags their futuristic shine) and Penane expertly recycles these by weaving them with reeds to make the bags. They belong to a tribe called Okavango Hambukushu.

We ordered bags from Penane and they have arrived and are now available to buy! We hope that we can continue to help Penane and her family by marketing and selling her beautifully crafted Chip Bags to the world.

20% profit from all Vagabond Van sales is donated to wildlife conservation.


Close up of Vagabond Van Chip Bag.

Hand woven with reeds and reclaimed plastic.


Vagabond Van Chip Bags in the sky.

These one-of-a-kind shoulder bags have a zip closure...


Lucie modelling a Vagabond Van Chip Bag on Kalk Bay pier.

and are the perfect size for your purse, keys, phone and lipstick.


Vagabond Van Chip Bags on display.



Lucie with the Chip Bags on Kalk Bay pier.



Fisherman holding the Chip Bags in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

While taking photos of the Chip Bags in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, this fisherman thought he could do a better job than Lucie.


Penane and her baby holding a Vagabond Van Chip Bag, Maun, Botswana, Africa.

The highly skilled Penane and her beautiful babe.


Penane's yard showing materials used to make the Vagabond Van Chip Bags, Maun, Botswana, Africa.

Penane's yard where she weaves the bags and which she shares with a curious chicken.


Penane's children showing the Vagabond Van Chip Bags, Maun, Botswana, Africa.

Her children all help to gather discarded sweetie wrappers and chip bags for their mum.


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4 Responses to “Introducing Chip Bags”

  1. Lara-Ann says:

    Lucie – you look lovely with that ingenious bag over your shoulder! The fisherman however looks a little more intimidating. I would buy one bag from you but probably buy four from the fisherman!

    What an amazing and exciting way to source Vagabond stock and help creative people like Penane and her family. Globalisation at it’s very finest!

  2. lavenderhill says:

    Lucie,love your lifestyle !!! can you let us know what size these bags are – hard to tell from the photos.
    Merci -

  3. Thanks! This is the life we love to live.
    The actual bag diameter is 17cm and the bottom of the bag to the top of the handle is 39 cm.
    Sorry to have not included this information, we are adding it now. :)

  4. shen says:

    really wish this was still being sold ! it’s amazing ! the whole idea of it is just wow . was just wondering , because it was made of crisps bags , was the whole bag quite flimsy ? how did it stay in shape ? might have to learn how to make this myself ….. or go to Botswana …..

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