In a Nutshell: Carbon fiber is a lightweight and durable material, and its advantages are well-known — especially among motorsports enthusiasts who know strength and performance go hand in hand. And Carbon Fiber Gear allows consumers to experience the versatility of carbon fiber travel and lifestyle products through its growing online marketplace. Carbon Fiber Gear offers a wide variety of consumer products, including bags, briefcases, wallets, and phone cases. And the company continues on its mission to show discerning travelers just how innovative, durable, and stylish carbon fiber is.
Dave Pitlyuk is a self-described car guy — a lover of vehicles both fast and loud. Around 2007 he was tinkering with a project car with the ultimate goal of boosting its speed while also making it look stylish.
That’s when he began to understand the appeal of carbon fiber. Its lightness and strength make it ideal not just in fast cars but also in all sorts of applications where material refinements can yield better results.
Pitlyuk happened to come across a wallet made with carbon fiber as he worked with vendors to build his car — and it was a light-bulb moment for him.
“As a car enthusiast who had a connection to the material, which has a particular look and a coolness factor to it, I thought that was incredibly interesting,” he said. “I started thinking that a lot of people like me would have an appreciation for products like that.”
Pitlyuk developed a business relationship with the wallet producer, and, within six months, was purchasing the wallets directly and investing his earnings into expanding his operation into a company called Carbon Fiber Gear. Today, after more than a decade of growth, Carbon Fiber Gear offers more than 300 carbon-composite products, including its own branded line.
The site offers many items in categories consumers might expect, including iPhone cases. And frequent travelers looking for the ultimate in tough-yet-stylish luggage and accessories will find plenty of high-quality options.
The online marketplace also includes carbon fiber versions of everything from sunglasses to home decor items — and even wedding bands.
“Our slogan is ‘Carbon Fiber is the New Black,’” Pitlyuk said. “And seeing anything black in carbon fiber gives it an added touch.”
An Elite Performance Material with Aesthetic Appeal and Luxury Status
Carbon fiber is a filament made primarily of carbon atoms that align in crystalline structures. Those individual fibers, each much thinner than a human hair, are twisted into yarn-like strands and then woven into a fabric that often — but not always — forms a familiar cross-hatch pattern. And the resulting fabric can be molded into just about any shape or form.
The material is typically stronger and lighter than any other and can be used in many applications. Pitlyuk and Carbon Fiber Gear understand those applications well, as the company is located in Maryland near one of the world’s most popular sailing destinations — Chesapeake Bay. Many of the sails and structural parts of the elite yachts that compete in the famous America’s Cup race incorporate carbon fiber.
The problem, Pitlyuk said, is that carbon fiber doesn’t just grow on trees. The raw materials needed to produce it are expensive, and fabricating actual end-result products is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.
“Labor costs money, so that’s why you see carbon fiber on a lot of high-end items,” he said. “The most expensive cars, the most expensive bicycles, the most expensive sports equipment — it’s all carbon fiber because competitors want strength, light weight, and they can justify the high price tag.”
But as carbon fiber makes its way into new markets and production processes become more streamlined, costs have come down. An increasing familiarity with the cross-hatch pattern has also led to a common association with quality — and for good reason.
Products and Accessories Made for Traveling in Style
Its durability and light weight are two reasons why carbon fiber translates so well to travel gear, and why Carbon Fiber Gear offers a wide selection of products in that category.
Among the site’s selection is a line from Swiss Luggage.
“It’s constructed from 350 individual pieces, so it’s very modular,” Pitlyuk said. “If you ever have an issue, you can replace one component and not the entire bag. But I’ve been using them for a few years now, and I’ve never had an issue.”
The locking mechanism on the Swiss Luggage bags works with a sort of piston action — just a button press makes the case pop open.
“And they look amazing,” Pitlyuk said. “It’s one of those things where you’re walking through the airport, and everybody’s talking about it.”
A carry-on from Zero Halliburton brings its own unique style to traveling, and the company produces a briefcase made famous in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
“We offer a carbon fiber version of that design in a suitcase,” Pitlyuk said.
Many bags and accessories on the site use carbon fiber for both its strength and its style. Londono’s Easy Travel Carbon Fiber and Leather Weekend Bag, while strong, emphasizes the style side.
“It’s one of my favorite bags — high quality, handcrafted, and individually numbered,” Pitlyuk said. “It’s Louis Vuitton-level craftsmanship in something that’s quite affordable.”
Sometimes, however, strength matters more than style. That is the case with umbrellas, which can be a traveler’s best friend. One product, made by Hedgehog, especially fits that bill.
“It’s pretty indestructible — they tested it in Category 1 hurricane winds, and it had no problems,” Pitlyuk said.
Carbon Fiber Gear: A New Way to Communicate Quality
Carbon Fiber Gear products make lightweight, durable gifts that travelers can enjoy for decades. Pitlyuk and his team at Carbon Fiber Gear have curated a collection of items for anyone who appreciates distinctive design and high quality.
And carbon fiber proves that quality doesn’t need to be heavy.
“I got married six years ago, and I wear one of our carbon fiber wedding bands,” Pitlyuk said. “And I’m a guy who didn’t like rings at all. It’s great because it weighs virtually nothing, so you get used to it super quick.”
The platform also offers responsive customer support built on feedback through social channels and its site. And it often uses that feedback to inform its decisions on future offerings.
“It’s important to us to receive feedback in any way we can,” Pitlyuk said. “Product reviews are essential — that’s where we learn the good and the bad so we can make improvements.”
Carbon Fiber Gear also conducts post-purchase surveys on orders from new customers. The company’s ultimate goal is to bring the latest in carbon fiber to a loyal, growing clientele.
“Our key is always quality — we have to feel confident selling to our customers,” Pitlyuk said.