Living in a small space, clutter can be the bane of your existence. This is especially true when you inherited obsessive cleaning habits from both sides of the ole family tree. Enter Ketzal organizers. They are hands down the most stylish junk drawer you’ll ever own. Ketzal organizers were developed by fellow van lifer Miles (@totorothevan on instagram) while driving overland from California to Patagonia in his VW Vanagon Syncro. While on an extended stay in Guatemala, he collaborated with artisans in Antigua to create this unique and beautifully crafted organizer to keep the clutter at bay while living on the road.
We used to keep a number of things we wanted to keep handy hanging from hooks, various bags, or in a small basket all behind our passenger seat. It was a disaster, but it worked at the time and we had played the game with the cheap organizers you can buy from truck stops or at the auto parts store. They’re poor quality and their function is questionable once they’re actually loaded down with all your gear. In contrast, the Ketzal organizer’s many pockets hold a surprising amount of gear and the heavy duty button snaps keep things tidy while still easily accessible when you are standing in or outside the van’s sliding door. We currently keep some recovery gear (for offroading), air compressor attachments, some camera gear, bear spray, a knife, a battery jumper, emergency flares, and various other random things in our Ketzal.
Originally made to fit the back of a stock VW Vanagon seat, Miles and co. have since expanded the line to fit various other vehicles including the Toyota 4 Runner, Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, and more. Check out KetzalBags.com to view their current offerings and more pictures.
When we initially heard about these organizers we thought they were gorgeous but were wary of another back-of-seat organizer that would sag and droop and not actually hold what you need it to hold. Now that we have one and have experienced not only it’s superb functionality but also it’s custom fit for our vehicle all of those fears are gone. We weren’t too keen on the large black elastic strap that fits around the back of the seat to keep the organizer snugly in place and were worried it would be a pain for the passenger, but you actually don’t notice it when you’re sitting in the seat. I’d say that given the care and thought that went into the rest of the design it’s definitely the one weak point aesthetically but not a deal breaker.
Also, keep in mind that the Ketzal organizers are a bit pricey, ranging from $175-$199 depending on your vehicle so you’ll have to determine if the value is there for you. For us, the Ketzal bag is a highly functional piece of craftsmanship that fits in with the aesthetic of our interior and adds valuable storage to an otherwise wasted space in our interior. We highly recommend it.