Monday, May 22, 2017

eBay find: Mystery Ranch Tall NICE frame

A truly unique specimen, I can only assume this predates the current load lifter kit. The shortcoming of the Nice frame has always been its short height, this solution (simply extending the frame) presents backward compatibility issues since it would move every MR pack up too high on the frame.

I find it particularly interesting that they chose to change the basic geometry of the frame for the increased height, the center frame stay splits into a "Y" to the upper corners, rather then staying parallel like other MR frames.

A more studied MR aficionado could probably date this pack more accurately by the optifade colorway which I know was only offered for a short period.

While the new Guidelite and SPEAR frames solve the height issue handily with no backward compatibility issues, it is always fun to think of what might have been, if MR had went with this frame height from the beginning they probably would lost millions in government contracts, but perhaps had more market share in the hunting world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The first Mobility Bag?

I find mobility bags interesting.

It is certainly a niche part of the market, and one category that still has quite a bit of room left for innovation. Despite the push for multipurpose gear and lighter base weights in the UL community they still don't seem to hold much market share.

I'm also very interested in the origins of things. Even focused on the relatively young outdoor gear market, this is seldom an interest that I can exercise with any certainty, but in this case I might have caught a break:

I'm not sure where I first found this picture, but the only source I can find currently is an article over at Science in the Cold War. According to the caption on their version of the photo it hails from 1959, at Ladd Air Force Base in Alaska. Its easy to see that the older canvas shelled feather bag was employed for this experiment, which is made easier by its center zip, which modern mobility bags seem to be largely returning too.

I think it safe to say for the moment that this is the oldest example of a modern sleeping bag with arm and leg openings, so for now at least I'm declaring it the first true mobility bag.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unique elbow articulation

I'm always on the lookout for unique articulation in garments, this is one of the more unique elbows I have seen:

I did not record the details as well as I should have, I only know it was a woman's jacket for sale on eBay. It goes without saying that pleats placed perpendicular to each other are uncommon.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

eBay find: Jansport water bottle innovation

Not something I've seen before, and a placement I've only joked about:

Of course it would only really work with bike bottles which I don't care for, but it would likely allow for fast access with less contortion then is required for most low mounted bottle pockets.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Boreas Sapa Trizip

As evidenced by the dead link on my previous trizip musings, Boreas once again discontinued their trizip offering.

When asked at a trade show the response from a Boreas employee was that it was removed from the line because the Boreas designer and Dana Gleason are "good friends."

What I read into it is that MR didn't mind so long as their focus was on military and hunting sales, but now that MR has switched focus back to a recreational pack line the Boreas was much more of a direct competitor.

If this is in fact what happened this could be a comforting case of mutual respect and accommodation that is often all too lacking in the outdoor gear industry.

But on the other hand, it appears to still be for sale in Germany: Sapa trek

Saturday, April 22, 2017

eBay find: T3 Tora Bora Pack

The trizip is spreading.

I assume this pack has been out for awhile but I only here about most things when they trickle down to eBay:

Appears to be a stripped-down trizip bag, but with a worrisome omission of front compression.

Uses non-waterproof zippers, but they at least appear to be good #10s

This one is on some kind of updated ALICE frame, but it doesn't appear to be either the Tactical Tailor or TAG version judging from the flat crossmembers. Possibly LBT?

The belt and shoulder straps seem to share a lot of DNA with the now discontinued TAG ALICE stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if they manufactured these for T3.

As evidenced by the T3 homepage, the belt is both ALICE and MOLLE compatible, the version on their site ships with a Down East frame. If more ALICE upgrade makers built their belts this way there would be a lot more good MOLLE retrofit options.

Due to the lack of mention I think it is safe to say this design is not under license from Mystery Ranch. Since I do not believe the trizip is patented it is basically fair game, but it is still a bold move in a segment of the industry traditionally quite sensitive to IP and reputation in general.

The one real difference I spy between this design and a Mystery Ranch is the addition of a zipper pull at the bottom of the vertical zipper, allowing access to the bottom of the pack without opening the whole front.

I have no time table on such a prediction, but it certainly seems likely that this form of pack opening will continue to spread until someday it may even be considered a normal sight.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

eBay find: More FILBE prototypes

Found some more for sale.
The first is just a carbon copy of the large MOLLE II ruck in coyote, the second is the missing-link pack I posted about last time: