That be rain,

Ifi drizzled earlier, and the bags collected about 2mm. So my hypothesis is that they are waterproof.

Its grown a bit since last week..

Well at least it’s now actually a ‘bag’, and frankly I’m pretty happy with it as a proof of concept.

Ifi have some body pains today, and everything got rained on, which has put the kibosh on further construction.

Meanwhile, I finally figured out what was stopping me from getting an image from the DJI (RSC2) Raven Eye transmitter with my little A6400. Bluetooth interferes with it, but turning it off on your camera isn’t enough if you are a geotag fan like me. 10 years ago they stopped putting GPS units in the cameras themselves which propped an industry in GPS dongles. FF that decade and phones have taken their place. When I shoot a still image the camera reaches out to the phone for the geolocation at the moment the image is being written to the memory card, which is done over Bluetooth. So you can’t have both, and I don’t think it’s a DJI issue, I think it’s Sony.

Thats an awful image of a cool thing.

Cornering

Slow going over the last few days. My energy level hoses, may have a kink somewhere, or maybe the world accidentally parked her car on it or something. Anyway, I caved in, and cut a jig out of plywood and got gluing earlier, on the parts which will turn it from a concept into a vessel.

First of the enclosing bonds.

Should I mention that I’m actually a touch, proud, of this here invention? All my prep was bang on, my initial design was also bang on, and whatever modifications I made along the way have really just been indulgent.

If I were to make something like this for sale, it would be simpler, maybe one or two additional parts, like a liner material, I think I’d have to charge more than I’d like to pay for one, given the reasonable options on the ‘zon (that mega online retailer’s last syllable, just because I don’t want the algo’s to see it in my post and them find a way to saturate me with nonsense). Why then am I making my own, if the zon ones are so ‘resonable’? Challenge, see how well I can follow my own instructions, nothing else on the market as tough and fits exactly what these do.

Before I close the bag up, I need to put in the corners, and consider my center strategy.
I literally just invented these, measured, cut & sanded.

Back in the Game

I had a supplychain disruption Last week, and settled it on Friday, which allowed me to get into the more intimidating part of the build.

Intimidating because in building down one side first, soI can have more control in the corners, by working on the inside of them.

The inside of a corner.
The tools are heavier than the materials so they have to be propped with struts, in this case a plywood panel.
Testing an internal structure to clamp on, is essential.
2nd corner, being propped with a Jorgensen rapid clamp, to hold my pony clamps..

3 minutes

It’s almost noon, anyway hour ago I went outside to check something and to plan a quick walking route around the yard with the new doohicky, but in just three minutes I am heat saturated.

the doohicky

Great timing lead me to this device, and for those who dont know, it’s a camera stabilizer, or gimbal. It allows for smooth camera movement while filming. The box at the bottom is a screen with a recorder built in, because working with tiny inaccurate camera screens just isn’t an option when there’s more than one set of eyes on the job. The gimbal also charges the camera! The whole thing weighs about 5kg (I think), but because it’s balanced (you have to do that bit manually at the beginning), it’s very easy to hold, which is an added bonus.

The internet kids say that a day of working with these is tough on the upper body. That’s why I ordered a backbrace at the same time. Im hoping to use it in conjunction with a monopod and am considering a “fighting belt” -yes that’s a real thing, and it’s basically an Ernest Hemingway inspired cod-piece for getting fish out of the sea while angry at god.

hangin’ out with the tools in respectable temperatures

Bag burn

I had to stop working on it shortly after I started, today. It’s ferociously hot here at the moment. So much so that all of my tool handles either started to sweat, melt or become too hot to use. Also the black tarp became too hot to handle even with gloves. The dinger says its 37.8 Celsius, which is about 5 more than is easy.

Noir Niagara. In this heat, the tape gum is actually flowing.

I do fully realize that despite it being a cheap project, my design would make this bag labor intensive and expensive.

Its interesting to construct a bag ‘outside in’ and have minimal panels. I like it.

Regardless, this project is a functional thing, and is a social media experiment, to see about doing this blog on the regular again. Because it’s a challenge and I think I need to.

75% of part one, done.
Thats the panel that will be secured to the back carrier.
Some the uncontrolled explosion of guts yet to be trained and glued.

It’s Friday

So this has been super indulgent design and preparation…

However, all good things come to and end, and give way to even better shit. Like gloooiiinnng! Sticky glue time!

Glue strategy with copious quantities masking tape.

Because I am using machine belt marinated in shrink wrap, I’ll have to form the corners, with a heat gun, when the track cover piece is attached. So my thinking was to put corner areas where the track cover piece, won’t be bonded, and will be able to conform better to the rigidity of the belt.

I should mention that apart from the Black tarp material, everything else I already had. I did buy the roller, a roll of masking tape, and 6 pony hand clamps which were on sale.

Ornj tools are more inspiring.

I’m glad I thought about things ahead of time. I started the gluing process in the middle of the structure and am working outward on the distinct chance I will have screwed up a measurement and have to work it out, and to my mind working with a solid anchor point at the start, makes the most sense to me.

The Ornj tools photobombing again..
Nice thing about fabric, is that you can get your clamps in close to the action.

I can

get by with a little help from my friends…

Day 2 of the sprawling and indulgent design and construction of my new panniers. I’m inventing as I go, and making pretty notes with my own particular variant of handwriting. In B or B2 0.3. On 5mm dot grid. Claire Fontaine or Rhodia, only, ever. Pentel ORENZ NERO, the most inspirational creative weapon I’ve ever used. Cameras not withstanding.

Anyway, moggy, numero fluff, came to hang out with me in the heat, to halp out with things like materials testing in regards to thermal conductivity and fluff characteristics in hot weather, and I there quality assurance measures and tool control.

Lanyard woes
Came ratios and thermal conductivity of fluff in hot weather.
Testing!
Phelamination..

Sunday project.

If I can avoid it, I don’t ever want to contribute to the combustion engine revolution of yesteryear. So when ebikes happened, I signed up and went in face first.

On of the issues with owning one in a city, is theft. The bike itself is big and heavy, and the likelihood of theft is lower than a nice analog bike. Components are, as on any bike, exposed and susceptible to theft, but typically they are attached at multiple points and don’t have enough resale value to benefit a thief that much. The Battery, however, that’s the money.

So it’s been on my mind to find or make something that at least interferes with the thieving process. However any cluey thief is going to have tin snips and a cordless grinder Ada the very least, in their backpack. Remember thieving is business. Personally, even in the worst of times I never nicked a thing. I hate it and if I catch you, I’ll break one of your fingers on your business hand. In the meantime, a piece of Steel strapping cut and folded, draped in Gaffer Tape, and a small, complex padlock, also draped in tape, makes for a compelling deterrent.

A hairs breadth longer than half a meter.
On opted to cut a bit further from the hole, for more material strength for any lock.
On bought a “Seaming tool” which can be found in the sheet metal snips area of your hardware store. It’s really difficult to bend 16 gauge steel even with tools, so no perfect beveled bends here.
Ifi had a grinder, I’d be rounded the ends.
I do not own the copyright on this image.

Arc’Teryx Arro from Berg’s Snowsport Specialists.

As a bag maker myself, choosing a bag for myself from the seemingly endless variety out there in 2016, including looking back over previous years seasons, is an arduous task to say the least. It basically means research and meta research.

The Arc’Teryx Arro 22 bag is not perfect for my needs, but it does fulfill a few of the criteria I required such as a stiff back panel and robust design with robust materials that are tried true and tested.

My need for this pack are as a 2nd version every day pack for essentials, then for work and then for groceries.
I am a documentary filmmaker & I carry a basic two camera interview setup at all times:
I carry two mirrorless cameras with lenses, a Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder and two fistfuls of accessories to make that all go, that lot fits into a Domke F-5Xb which nestles in the bottom of the pack and under that I have cut a 1 inch thick piece of high impact foam to compliment the foam already in the pack’s base -take this into consideration as I talk about what else I put in this bag. Additionally I have an 11″ MacBook Air in an STM sleeve case, two external drives a thimbleful of accessories power and cables. Sometimes Ill even take non folding Sennheiser HD25 headphones.
I also carry a Sirui tabletop tripod and occasionally a full-sized micro tripod (Sirui T025X). All of this fits into my Cilogear 20L Worksack (which truthfully, is probably more like a 16-17L).
With all that in there, I would say the Arro is about 50-60% full. If I need to get groceries on the way home, I can grab the trifecta of veggies, a pound of flesh a small tub of yogurt, butter and a handful of treats from the bulk section, & that will all fit into the main compartment. The “bubble” as I like to call it, is an added bonus on this pack. I believe that 22L is the main compartment size, and the bubble is probably another 6-10L (my dimensional reasoning escapes me here). At the bottom it holds a fist size ziploc with daily essentials. After that a 1L Platypus ‘bag’ of water, lightweight jacket & cap.

What I wasn’t expecting with the Arro 22 is how high the pack rides when on a bike. Even full, it sits higher then I would expect given the strap engineering and location on the back panel. I suspect it’s because it is a narrow long pack. The bottom ridge, I tend to nestle on the top of my jeans belt. This isn’t a major problem for 10 mile round trip rides in Seattle but if I were going on a camping bike trip, I might have to look at other bags I have.

Like I said, it’s a long narrow pack, which makes it good in busy urban environments, and for getting through crowds. The bottom of the bag is wider, so it does hold more than you would think it should.

I’ve already been in a prolonged heavy rainstorm and it kept its contents dry.

The straps are thick, which is not the current thinking on packs today, however, they are very comfortable with load or not. The strap adjusters help to keep the straps present when not in use, so picking up the bag via the top handle and swinging it over your head to put on your back is the easiest I’ve experienced on any pack including my own *flawless* pack designs.. The bag just belongs on your back.

The high density back panel is very sturdy and very comfortable. There is a small hardly discernible curve on the lumbar which makes the pack extremely comfortable (I have scoliosis & it’s still extremely comfortable). There is a removable PVC panel which I have tried with and without, the added weight is a non issue but the benefits of having added rigidity is priceless. The additional hip-panels also contribute to this comfort.
I will say, that in hot weather, you will sweat heavily into the back panel, and I could foresee this as being a problem in hot weather, and the material will soak up sweat like a sponge. I may modify my pack by adding two 2″ disks of foam at the lumbar area to a stand-off position.

As far as Hydration Packs go, well that is kinda weird on this bag. There is a long narrow elastic mesh pocket in the inside of the back panel, but there is no hook to hang it from, so you have to rely on the hydration pack’s own integrity to stay put. I was already using a Hydrapak 2L, which, incidentally is similar to what Arc’Teryx show on their website; a pack with a bridge lock top closure that simply rests on the top of the mesh pocket ~we will see how well that elastic top stands up to use after a year of wrestling..

The side pockets are ‘meh’ really not enough for a water bottle, but fine for whatever you can fit into them. Some is elastic & and loop for a carabiner, and the other has superman grade velcro which holds tight whatever you put into it (we will see how well that is in a year of heavy (ab)use.

I’m surprised I actually had so much to say about this bag, but so far and envisioning 5 years from now, I suspect I will still love this bag. Arc’Teryx are the Apple of backpacks, with astounding functional design backed up by gorgeous aesthetics.

Highly recommended.

I purchased mine at Berg’s who had the lowest price available at the time and really lovely customer service.