From Billboards to Bags

Did you know that billboards are made out of waterproof, lightweight, durable vinyl? I sure didn’t. In fact, I never paid much attention to billboards, because like many people, I have been trained to ignore them. However, there is one company that does not ignore them, and they aren’t even in advertising. They look for billboards to re-purpose the material into something magical. Well, not quite magical, but it’s still pretty cool. It’s so cool, that the company made a deal with Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary on Shark Tank recently. The company that looks for these billboards is Rareform.

I’m sure you at least know that billboards have an expiration date where they are taken down after a period of time before another one is put up. And as you can tell, billboards are really big. Usually around 12′ x 48′. So, what happens to the billboard vinyl after it gets taken down? It typically ends up in landfills. Here’s where Rareform comes in. Rareform has made a business out of re-purposing the billboard vinyl into making bags, wallets, phone cases, duffle bags, surfboard bags, and more. You can go ahead and take a look at their list of products on their website.

Rareform backpack_3


I am not the biggest tree hugger in the world, but when I first heard of Rareform about a year ago I was intrigued. The story as to how they came up with the idea is pretty neat. I won’t retell it here because you can read about it on their ‘Our Story’ page. Also, the way that it works is fairly simple. They collect expired billboard vinyl, cut it into the shape of whatever they are going to make it, and then sew it up. They also have pictures and descriptions of the process on their ‘How it Works’ page. Rareform says that they re-purpose 20,000 pounds of billboard vinyl per month. To think that much less billboard vinyl is ending up in landfills is pretty cool.

Let me be clear that I’m not sponsored by Rareform or anything like that. I truly think that their product is unique and worth checking out. I picked up one of their backpacks a few months ago because I want something to carry my camera equipment around in that was at least waterproof on the outside. So far, I have been really happy with it. The one I have is big enough to carry most of my GoPro equipment, and it’s comfortable to wear. Also, one thing I must have on my bags are good zippers. I can’t stand when zippers get jammed or go off track. The zippers on my Rareform bag are like butter.

Rareform backpack_2


I haven’t had my bag long enough to see what will become of it after some significant wear and tear. Part of me wonders what will become of the vinyl after it has sat out in the elements for a decent amount of time as a billboard. All of that is still to be determined. Either way, the bags are decently priced and if I have to get a new one even after a year or so I won’t complain. Plus, I wouldn’t mind adding a few more to start a collection.


This is where Rareform’s biggest strength and weakness lies. One thing you can be certain of is that the bag you get from them will almost never be the same as someone else’s. On the other hand, if you see someone’s Rareform bag that you really like and you want the same design, odds are you won’t be able to find it. So, depending on how you look at it, it can be a good or a bad thing. Personally, I think it’s pretty neat that I have a bag design that no one else will have.

If you want to get in on the action, right now you can get a $10 coupon code towards your purchase if you go through this link. Just give them your email which they will send the code to. You can also get free shipping on orders over $75. More than likely you will be put on an email news letter list, which is okay because you will want to see new stuff they make out of the billboards they get in. In the end, you will be getting a unique bag that no one else has and you will be doing your part to help the environment in keeping billboard vinyl out of landfills. If you are a millennial like me, that is a match made in heaven!

Rareform logo



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