Playing in the NBA for over a decade will teach you a few things about traveling. Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has perfected his process, from packing the perfect bag to making sure his airport style will get him through security with ease.
Wade’s love of travel and his reputation as one of the most stylish athletes in the world means he knows what makes for a good bag to travel with. Wade put that knowledge to use on his collaboration with Away on a line of luggage, the Dwyane Wade x Away collection. Wade worked closely with the brand to design the collection, adding some personal touches to the line to help make the stressful world of traveling and packing a bit easier for everyone.
“I travel a lot and I wanted to put some of my own personal experiences into the design of the collection,” Wade says. “The little things and the details were important to me, and I thought about the process of travel and how difficult and uncomfortable it can sometimes be, and my main idea was about how we can make things easier. I wanted the collection to be versatile and useful for people, and I think we achieved that.”
Following their first launch of luggage in the collection, a second series of pieces are available on September 25, including a hard-shell carry-on suitcase that comes in four sizes, a versatile leather duffle bag that can go over your shoulder or on your back, clear packing cubes, an extra-big grooming kit, and one of Wade’s personal favorites, a wine case carrier bag.
“I love wine and I wanted to be able to travel with bottles and not have anything break,” Wade says. “I wasn’t sure how we could get that done, but the Away team came through with a great design so you can easily travel with wine. But I also wanted it in a certain way so that it was versatile and people didn’t just have to use it for wine. People with families can use it for stuff for their kids, it can really fit whatever you need.”
Take a quick look at how the wine case works in this video:
Wade will be back traveling quite a bit this NBA season. After spending the summer contemplating his future, Wade announced on social media that he agreed with the Miami Heat to return for a 16th season and final in the league, or as he described it: “One more dance.”
Wade spoke with Men’s Journal about his second series of his Away luggage line, his love of wine, all the places he wants to travel, and how he trains to stay in shape for the NBA season.
What was the collaboration like between you and Away on the collection? What did you want to bring to the design of your line?
For me in my career, it’s always been about creation. Even when I was designing my logo over 10 years ago, I enjoyed the creative process and that’s what it was like on this line. I’ve always had an eye for luggage and from traveling so much you learn and develop ideas about ways you can make things easier and simpler for people. That was the inspiration for me. I was excited to sit down and collaborate with Away, and the whole thing was seamless, we basically designed the ideas for the new collection in just one meeting. The main idea for me with the design was to make packing easier for people, getting through security easier, and just making travel overall easier for people. Sometimes traveling can turn into a crazy process, and my idea was trying to take the stress out of that.
What pieces of the line are you most excited for people to use?
All of them [laughs]. The inspiration for this was to make everything versatile, but also fashionable and uniform. I’m a big product guy, I love products of all kinds, so for the Dopp Grooming Kit I wanted to make sure the storage was big and had room for everything. For guys, I feel like it’s always hard to find a grooming bag that fits everything you need. Especially for me, I’m always bringing a lot of products and when I’m traveling for weeks at a time, you don’t want to have to buy everything once you arrive. It has different pockets for everything you need and it was important for me to make it fashionable and have the size to fit everything you’d want to bring.
The packing cubes are great because it can really help you organize things in your bag. You can clearly see what outfits you’re bringing and can put outfits together without having to unpack and repack the bag just to remember what you packed. They fit easily and they take out any extra air pockets that might make your bag seem bigger than it is. Versatility is important to me too, that’s why with the duffle pack we designed it so it can be used over your shoulder and as a bag on your back. You can even put that bag into your carry-on if needed, so that you can have an extra bag when you pack for the way home.
Where did your love of wine come from and how did that factor into the design of the wine carrier piece?
I think for me it just developed over time. I wasn’t really into drinking for the first 7-8 years of my career. Then I started to learn about wine and get into it more, and many of my friends were all in places where we started getting into it at the same time. It became a conversation piece for us, collecting and drinking wine, and it became something we did a lot. I really enjoyed learning more, and then I got into a place where I went out to Napa and now I have my own winemaker and line of wine. It’s a fun passion and you never know where it can take you. I have enjoyed the experience, I’m learning more about it and I’m actually headed out to Napa in a few days to meet with some people to see what more I can do in the wine business. All that was part of the inspiration for the carrier, because it’s hard to find ways to travel with wine and this has become an easy and safe way to get it done.
As someone who travels so much, what advice and tips do you have for people to help make their travels a bit easier?
This sounds obvious, but just making things easier for yourself is my main advice. The whole process of travel can be stressful, from going through security and making sure your carry-on has the right-sized stuff. So for me, one example, I just don’t travel with belts. I make sure to wear something where I don’t need a belt so it’s easier at security, and I’ll wear shoes that are easy to take off. Another thing is always get to the airport early so you don’t have to rush. These are little things, but all those things can add up and make your trip more stressful than it needs to be. Traveling can be a beautiful thing but it also can be a headache as well. That idea goes into the collection too; my main idea was how can we make things easier for people to travel, because that little extra effort you put in before you leave is going to save you time and stress later on.
Do you have any essential gear or products you always travel with?
I don’t have anything specific, but one thing I do is that when I travel, I like to have one main smell. What I mean is, if I have Dove body wash or something like that, I also want the Dove deodorant, the spray, and the soap, too, so everything is the same. I also like having backups for everything so that when I travel, I don’t have to get into a city and then go find everything I need. I always want to make sure I have what I need and not have to worry about tracking everything down.
What are some of your favorite places to travel and activities to do while you’re on vacation?
When we [Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union] go away we are trying to relax and get away from it all. I like to check out all the best spots in the city, we want to get on the beach and also get out on the water too. We have busy lives and so we always want to relax a bit when we go away. When I go away with the guys, we want to go play some golf and see some nice courses when we can. I recently went to the Dominican Republic to Casa de Campo, and we played at the Teeth of the Dog golf course, and it was amazing. It’s beautiful and they had some awesome holes and it was just laid out beautifully.
What places would like to travel to in the future that you haven’t been to?
I’ve never been to Fiji and that’s one place I really want to go. I’ve never been to Thailand, Colombia, or Cuba, those are all on my list. There are so many places I still want to go; I’ve never been to India or the Philippines either. I’ve been to Australia, I went to Sydney, but I haven’t been able to go to Australia the way I want to go where I can explore more and spend some time there. I’m excited for my next phase after basketball when I will have time to travel. It’s exciting to think about that because I love to travel and see new places.
What are some ways you train for the NBA season?
It’s funny actually, sometimes when I’m traveling or on vacation I’ll workout more than I do at home. When I’m away, I’ll always get up every morning and train, whether it’s running a couple miles, getting on the bike or treadmill, or doing some weightlifting. It keeps things in balance for me and I enjoy working out that way because you can kind of get a moment to yourself and zone out on what you’re doing. Training the right way and keeping my body in shape is so important and even when I’m on vacation I’ll get in workouts as much as I can.