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Old 10-23-2013, 04:34 PM   #76
tmotten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideoff View Post
Thanks for all this input guys!! We're listening to all this with great interest.

The "what to do with excess strap lengths" was an issue of continual debate at Andrew's old company. Here's what they came up with:



The strap keeper is an elastic band which can be tighter/loser depending on how you sew it. You never actually remove the tail from the elastic, because when you tighten the strap the elastic slides with it. Then you pull the elastic to the end of the strap and it holds the extra strap length in place.

We also want to at least experiment with the Velcro tails idea that was proposed earlier in the thread, thought that was kind of a cool idea worth looking at, but definitely understand all the objections to Velcro.





Definitely like this idea: no sewn-on buckles. I hate it when a sewn-on buckle breaks. I think we've come up with a way to do this that will work for the compression straps (which have a very short throw).
Sewn buckles is fine. A D or ladder loc. Sewn straps is just a cheap method.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:23 PM   #77
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I agree that the elastic strap keeper is worthless. The ones on my packs are all stretched out.

Here's an idea for buckles: http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/images/Crash-Buckle.jpg

The metal buckles on my climbing packs have held up to some serious abuse. They also hook through a simple loop of webbing, which eliminates the mating side and concerns about it breaking.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:49 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
I agree that the elastic strap keeper is worthless. The ones on my packs are all stretched out.

Here's an idea for buckles: http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/images/Crash-Buckle.jpg

The metal buckles on my climbing packs have held up to some serious abuse. They also hook through a simple loop of webbing, which eliminates the mating side and concerns about it breaking.
That's the same design as the ones on my new preferred straps for gear:



The non-adjustable side slides off the hook so you can keep the same adjustment but pop it on and off.

My caving gear still uses the double D rings or oversized plastic pinch buckles, but also these: And that's been through hell and back. Dragged through mud, rocks, water, etc

IMO, if you want to get some serious designs for weatherproofing for off road, steal some caving gear ideas. Karst Sports I have a lot of Lost Creek gear:

This design has no loose straps.

So, speaking of totally badass for saddle or top bags. How about adding this as an option:

It's 4 bucks at strap works and offers at least a smidgen of security.

StrapWorks will have everything you'll ever need for straps and buckles.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:45 PM   #79
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Thanks again for all the input from fellow advriders! Here's the weekly progress update:

Before we started Andrew told me that designing a bag is similar to building a house: the frame goes up fast but everything else takes a long time. That has certainly been our experience. Getting to the first round prototype was relatively easy but now there are so many additional details to figure out. This week we spent a lot of time on seam lines, features, fabrics, and the mounting system. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go through at least 4-5 prototype rounds before we even approach a factory.

On the one hand I’m really excited to get to a finished product; but on the other hand there is a lot to be said for progressing slowly and taking time to reflect between rounds. I’m very glad we decided to design around physical prototypes instead of computer illustrations. I see now that a lot would be lost on a computer. Nothing beats having a prototype that we can touch and feel, even if it’s just a rough approximation of our final idea.

Here’s the current prototype mounted on Andrew’s KLR for a test ride.



Some things we’re discussing now:

Fabric: in the latest proto we used a 34 oz PVC for the outer facing panel. It is extremely thick and abrasion resistant and we like it so far. On the side panels we used a 1000d nylon (similar to cordura), but we’re not too crazy about it. Instead we’re going to experiment with “Ballistic” nylon/cordura, a fabric that was originally designed for military flak jackets and which is now used on a lot of outdoor and tactical equipment as well.



Compression: We want the pannier to have a lot of expansion/compression capabilities. Top down compression is supplied by the roll top, but for side compression we need compression straps. Our current prototype has 4 straps, two on each side, and they pull against the front stiffener, effectively sandwiching the contents of the bag between the stiffener and the rear attachment plate. This makes for a very secure load and clean look, and seems to work quite well. We are also planning to add a removable compression strap on the top, which would go over the roll top.

Keepers: One issue with compression straps is that when the bag is fully compressed there are a lot of loose straps that flap around in the wind. This looks crappy, plus it creates a risk that the straps catch on a moving part or rest on the tail pipe and melt. We need to find a way to control the excess strap material. Some options we’re considering:
  • Web Dominators
  • Strap Keepers
  • Elastic Bands
  • Velcro


Each of these has it’s own pluses/minuses. More testing required.

Pocket Closure: Our original external pocket had a zipper closure but we’re concerned about zipper failure, so we want to experiment with a roll top closure on the pocket. We’d like to avoid zippers if possible, because those are often the first things to fail over time.

Clips, Buckles, & Handles: we’re planning to use aluminum in all the high impact/abrasion areas. This will cost a lot more than plastic but it will also be a lot more durable. We have a parts book from the buckle factory and are sorting through it to find ones we like.



External Storage:
  • We designed the pannier with an external pocket that fit two MSR-style fuel bottles. The pocket can also be used for tools/tubes etc. It also fits a 6-pack of beer.
  • We also want to make full use of the bottom and sides of the pannier. To do that we are planning to use MOLLE strips & stix. MOLLE is a military acronym that stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It’s used in tactical and military applications for attaching pouches, ammunition clips, first aid kits, holsters, and other accessories to tactical vests and luggage. It’s easier to see than to explain, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqeSxjZGap4
  • Using MOLLE, the three non-impact sides of the pannier can be used to carry things which the rider needs quick access too, or which the rider does not want to store inside his/her drybag. Some examples include tools/tubes, water, and fuel.
  • In addition to this the MOLLE panels would be usable for all sorts of existing tactical pouches and gear that are already designed and out on the market, and we could create some new moto-specific accessories as well.
This week we also made more progress on the mounting system doing our home-made prototypes in MDF wood. We’re meeting with Hein next week and would like to get him started on the CAD drawings so we can machine our next round of prototypes in HDPE.



Also this week we started brainstorming our duffle design, lots more to follow on that.

Oh yeah… and there was more of this:


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Old 10-24-2013, 02:00 PM   #80
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Looks great so far. For strap keepers why not use plain slotted ladder
keepers, ie web dominators without the elastic? Use them at the end
of the loose end. The strap should not have more than 2-3in of loose
material when the bag is full so the amount to control should not be
more than 50% of the total extended length.
No need to make straps to long, if someone wants to lash on then
they use the lash points you provide with straps they buy from you
or make and cut tothe length they need.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:26 PM   #81
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This thread is great, and I wish you the best of success.

Since we're obsessing over the issue of loose straps (something I too HATE about much of the soft gear out there), can I just toss this in:

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail." - Kaplan / Maslow

I wonder if there is another means of fastening / cinching / binding that does not involve 1" nylon webbing and the extra length that has to be dealt with? Someone else mentioned lacing - that's an option. It works great in boots. Stuff in the laces and fold over the flap to cover them. The ideal of accordion pleats was also offered. And also a folding design. Are there other materials that might work. ... elastic? rubber? Maybe there's another approach that would work that you just aren't considering.

Good luck.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:12 PM   #82
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Very interesting seeing this come together, and the suggestions are quite useful. lots of stuff I never knew existed. I'll be ordering some web dominators.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:15 PM   #83
tmotten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btao View Post
That's the same design as the ones on my new preferred straps for gear:



The non-adjustable side slides off the hook so you can keep the same adjustment but pop it on and off.

My caving gear still uses the double D rings or oversized plastic pinch buckles, but also these: And that's been through hell and back. Dragged through mud, rocks, water, etc

IMO, if you want to get some serious designs for weatherproofing for off road, steal some caving gear ideas. Karst Sports I have a lot of Lost Creek gear:

This design has no loose straps.

So, speaking of totally badass for saddle or top bags. How about adding this as an option:

It's 4 bucks at strap works and offers at least a smidgen of security.

StrapWorks will have everything you'll ever need for straps and buckles.
Those ali g-hook buckles are popping up more and more on backpacks (arcteryx, one planet), now sea-to-summit and also kriega. I'm not a fan of buckles that need sewing on and seem to be made only for them. The ali ones don't have alot of strength either except the climbing ones but they are excy and bulky with the curve.

ITW do a great one which looks great and affordable for this purpose.





I agree on molle and the PALS webbing. Why reinvent the wheel. There is so much available in that market.

Rubber as no place in the outdoors. I can't handle the UV. UV is the biggest kill joy as it destroys everything from rubber to stitching.

This is another strap keeper option. I like the ones Kriega use (either duraflex of ITW) for what it is, but they always seem to get in the way for me, so I wouldn't mind not having any.




Not sure on ballistic nylon though. Cordura might look similar but yields better abrasion resistance with less denier. The difference is in the yarn. I found a mill that produces dual 840 genuine cordura which forms D1680 with excellent abrasion resistance.

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Old 10-25-2013, 05:31 AM   #84
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I like the direction you're heading. Here's some more info for you:

Here's a peek into the Rocky Mountain bag to see the stiffeners and how they are attached. The velcro stops short so the plastic can slide towards the back. I've found no negatives with this setup. It doesn't sag at all relative to the bag structure when the attachment straps are secure to the frame.



Here's how it attaches:



Those buckles simply go through slots in the Wolfman rack and "T" so it can't come out. Then you just unweight it and flip it flat and they pop out. Super simple and they keep the same length each time.

Here's the straps:



It works and will leave you with no danglies or sagging straps. The addition of the coated material under the straps is a must if it gets muddy. Otherwise it will wear the fabric quickly from the straps rubbing. I like the cam lock adjustment. You pull, it locks. No questions asked. Works in any condition and with gloves. This works better than the push pull use of a ladder ring, and when you're mounting it to a vibrating motorcycle, it better not come loose. I could see a ladder ring being used at the end of the strap just to slide forward and take up the slack in the strap like binary guy suggested. That might be better than shown. The problem is guiding the strap throughout the whole range because you don't want it moving. With the attachment points at the front, it lets you evenly compress the bag, not just folding over the sides. I like that.

If you are going to have MOLLE/PALS system, you could use the Ali-G piece on the end of the strap and just hook it into the Pals loop. You could either sew some D-rings into the Pals to control the strap.

I wouldn't use the bayonette style MOLLE retainer as shown, but probably a heavy doubled & sewn strap one with a pinch clip to secure it from popping out on whoops and logs.

Ballistic is great. Can be hard to clean fine dirt out of the coarse material, but meh... It's what my cave packs are that you can drag through mud and rocks and water full of tools and come out looking dirty. But, perfectly intact. Usually the washing machine does a good job. Of course, I'm the one that bought a white/neon yellow one.

That said, Cordura is generally more abrasion resistant due to the 2x2 weave pattern and the more "natural" fiber structure of the yarn versus the fine uniform filament of the Ballistic. Ballistic usually only comes in black because colors don't look very good. Cordura has a nicer more natural feel to it, while ballistic is a heavy weave and shiny.

If I were to make a recommendation on material if you didn't want urethane coating is this, 1050D Ballistic Cordura:

http://www.cordura.com/en/fabric/ballistic-fabric.html

Not sure if that was what you were referring to, but it has the weave and texture of the Cordura, giving it the abrasion resistance, but has the stronger filament of the Ballistic material. Also, you really need to use the real stuff not anything that says "like" material. It's not the same due to the patents and tech behind it.

To add if it hasn't been mentioned, a waterproof "gym shoe" pocket would be very useful and preferred over a mesh pocket for tarps and rain flys. If it's wet, there's a good chance it's raining.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:11 AM   #85
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just another post to encourage you guys . . . . .I like the direction you're going, and, though the existing gear we can buy is very, very good, choices are always better ;-}
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:12 PM   #86
tmotten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btao View Post
If I were to make a recommendation on material if you didn't want urethane coating is this, 1050D Ballistic Cordura:

http://www.cordura.com/en/fabric/ballistic-fabric.html
Ballistic cordura is not the same as typical ballistic nylon and difficult to source though. Cordura doesn't make fabric, it licenses it to mills. It's up to the mill what they make. I found a mill in Asia that made the ballistic up to 840d. They also did a dual 840d version which for all intents and purposes can be considered a 1680d.

I struggled getting anything other than samples from them, unfortunately because it's awesome fabric and noticeably better than 1000d cordura , so went another way. 1000d standard cordura is everywhere and is considered superior to 1050d ballistic nylon.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:11 AM   #87
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Thanks for all the feedback. Really appreciating this. We're still messing around with the pannier proto, but it's stalled until we get our first machined hdpe proto of the mounting system back from Hein. He started CAD drawings this week so we should have some parts to play with next week. Then we'll return to the pannier design.

In the meantime we're cranking on the first-round duffle design and brainstorming ideas for a "rackless" solution, something like the giant loop, kriega 30, or wolfman beta. We also ordered a bunch of molle accessories and some strap control devices, all of which should be arriving shortly.

Last week I started reaching out to some freelance apparel designers. Hoping that something exciting will surface from that. If you guys know anyone, please PM me? We're looking for someone with deep experience in highly technical outerwear (ideally for moto, but skiing/mountaineering could also work), and who understands the manufacturing/engineering aspects in addition to the design/creative piece. Someone located on the west coast would be ideal.

Lots more to come!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by btao View Post
I like the direction you're heading. Here's some more info for you:

I like the cam lock adjustment. You pull, it locks. No questions asked. Works in any condition and with gloves. This works better than the push pull use of a ladder ring, and when you're mounting it to a vibrating motorcycle, it better not come loose.

If you are going to have MOLLE/PALS system, you could use the Ali-G piece on the end of the strap and just hook it into the Pals loop. You could either sew some D-rings into the Pals to control the strap.

I wouldn't use the bayonette style MOLLE retainer as shown, but probably a heavy doubled & sewn strap one with a pinch clip to secure it from popping out on whoops and logs.

That said, Cordura is generally more abrasion resistant due to the 2x2 weave pattern and the more "natural" fiber structure of the yarn versus the fine uniform filament of the Ballistic. Ballistic usually only comes in black because colors don't look very good. Cordura has a nicer more natural feel to it, while ballistic is a heavy weave and shiny.

If I were to make a recommendation on material if you didn't want urethane coating is this, 1050D Ballistic Cordura:

http://www.cordura.com/en/fabric/ballistic-fabric.html

Not sure if that was what you were referring to, but it has the weave and texture of the Cordura, giving it the abrasion resistance, but has the stronger filament of the Ballistic material. Also, you really need to use the real stuff not anything that says "like" material. It's not the same due to the patents and tech behind it.

To add if it hasn't been mentioned, a waterproof "gym shoe" pocket would be very useful and preferred over a mesh pocket for tarps and rain flys. If it's wet, there's a good chance it's raining.
Great ideas, thanks. Like the idea of the g-hook in the PALS loops.

Do you know much about urethane fabrics? You mentioned that in your post. We're very interested in that but not sure where to turn for vendors etc. Would like to get some samples to play with. We've seen some urethane dry bags that have a really interesting feel. I've heard that its more environmentally friendly and also lighter with a higher abrasion resistance than pvc. Would be interested in any additional info.

Yes that's the ballistic cordura we were looking at. As tmotten mentioned, it is a little hard to find in small quantities, but im going in to visit with a vendor in Portland tomorrow who says they have some in stock.

Working on a solution for wet tarps and tents, and jackets on hot days. It'll be on the duffle as opposed to the pannier, but similar concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bomber60015 View Post
just another post to encourage you guys . . . . .I like the direction you're going, and, though the existing gear we can buy is very, very good, choices are always better ;-}
Agreed that there is lots of excellent gear out there right now from lots of cool, enthusiast-driven companies. Many of which have already been mentioned in this thread (i.e. kriega, giant loop, & wolfman). We've got our work cut out for us!
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:41 AM   #88
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Well, with regards to the polyurethane coated fabrics, they tend to be used on the lighter materials because they are waterproof, but still very flexible and durable. Polyurethane is one of those magical mystery materials. You could make a bowling ball out of it, or waterproof lightweight backpacking materials.

To quote:

"
Our line of ARMATEX® U Series Polyurethane Coated Fabrics is comprised of various fabric substrates coated with polyurethane to produce a highly abrasive and impact resistant fabric. Excellent for use as welding fabrics, ARMATEX® U Series Coated Fabrics are also extremely resistant to fuels, are highly flexible, and have a low coefficient of friction.

Please contact our Customer Service Representatives for more information on our complete line of ARMATEX® U Series Coated Fabrics.

http://mid-mountain.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&pageid=137§ionid=89

So, I think if you found a heavy duty polyurethane fabric like Armatex, it will be the ultimate material in lieu of an open fabric like ballistic/cordura. It may be better because it's already waterproof, and the waterproofing part of the material also is the abrasion resistant part.

I don't have an estimate on cost though, but it's raw material cost, so hopefully won't impact the final cost too much.

I think you can also seam seal using tape specifically for PU. You might be able to thermally seal the seams too since PU is a thermal plastic.

Here's a useful site on fabricating outdoor gear: http://www.questoutfitters.com/tips_and_hints.htm
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:46 AM   #89
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You are right, it's very light and feels a little different, but is very durable. If I were to offer and market light weight OR gear, that would be my first choice, hands down.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:41 PM   #90
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A few months ago Andrew and I were busy working on other projects/jobs. Then we decided to focus on this. Now the snowball effect is in full force.

Yesterday I was in Portland meeting fabric suppliers and doing in-store research. This was eye-opening. There are so many fabrics to choose from. In general, it seems like Portland is undergoing a kind of renaissance with soft goods design, prototyping, and small run production.

Here are some pics from one of the textile distributors:





Visiting various outdoor stores, it’s obvious that the technical fabrics they’re using for packs are high specialized, and not something that we’ll find in stock from a normal local supplier. It has been a while since I went backpack shopping, and I was blown away by how many crazy fabrics are in use and how much “bling” you can get on your pack. I snapped a bunch of pics. Here’s a few examples.















I particularly liked the fabrics that featured polyurethane or urethane coatings, which accounts for most of the “nicer” drybags for kayaking and cycling. I bought a few to take with me to fabric vendors, but the vendors were unfamiliar with this fabric. If we’re interested in that we’ll have to do some additional searching, probably working together with our factory.

Here are the urethane & polyurethane bags I bought as samples.



This week, in addition to the side panniers, we started developing our rear duffle and rackless pannier. We want all three SKUs prototyped before we reach out to factories. Having multiple SKUs will help us meet the fabric minimum orders, plus we’ll have a larger opening order for the factory, which will help attract a better partner.


Luggage
  • Pannier: We’re happy with the current dimensions and shape of our pannier prototype, so the focus has shifted to the mounting system. This week we made and tested several mdf mockups, ultimately settling on a final shape which Andrew drew in Adobe Illustrator and sent to Hein for CAD & machining. We expect to have some machined parts to play with next week.
  • Rear Duffle: Lots of progress on the rear duffle this week. Our first proto was a roll top with a large beavertail. We didn’t like this design at all, plus there’s a lot of bags like that already out on the market, so we quickly started making changes. Our new concept calls for a double-ended roll top (so the rider can access his/her gear without unstrapping the bag) with a two-part cascading beavertail on the top for jacket storage and/or a wet tent, garbage,or other items that need to be kept outside the drybag. Here’s Andrew cutting off the beavertail on our first round proto so we can mess around with placement.


The duffle will have backpack straps that tuck away into a hidden pocket when not in use, like this:



It will also feature molle panels for adding accessories. Here we’re cutting some webbing with a hot knife for our proto.


  • Rackless Pannier: This week we also started sketches for the rackless pannier. We like some of the stuff that Giant Loop, Kriega, and Wolfman are doing, and we’ve brainstormed some additional ideas for our own version, which will feature some significant design improvements. More later! Brainstorming:


Apparel

This week we also contacted some freelance motorcycle apparel designers to start on our riding apparel. Motorcycle apparel is an extremely technical and specialized field so we’ll definitely need help. On the one hand we feel like we’re just getting started with the bags, so we’re biting off a lot of additional work by starting the apparel assortment simultaneously. On the other hand we also know that it’s going to take 1-2 years to develop apparel, and 6 months from now we’ll wish that we’d started 6 months earlier. So we’re going for it. Here’s our first apparel brainstorming session:



An interesting and unexpected bonus this week was a crash-course on addwords, SEO, and internet marketing from a close friend who runs a company that specializes in this. It doesn’t have much to do with “designing,” but it was fascinating nonetheless. I am sure this will come in handy down the road when we get to “marketing.” It was cool to watch his dashboard with all the campaigns he is managing as they updated in real-time with click-throughs and purchases. Mad Men it was not.


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