Chicken Feet for Christmas
December 20, 2015
Thanks to all our friends, customers, advriders, nomads, gear guides, supporters, vendors, partners, and the entire Mosko extended family for a really kick-ass first year. This has been a heck of a ride. I can’t imagine a better crew to share the journey with and I couldn’t possibly be more stoked. Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s a pic from our little anniversary/holiday gathering last week at Chips Bar & Grill in Bingen.
(Greg Hilchey you guys should be in this pic too but it was snapped right before you arrived and its the only one I have!)
This week I’m posting from a little cafe in Vietnam. I just got here yesterday from China, having spent the last week working with our new welding factory there. Lots of progress on drybags. Now we actually have some physical samples to play with. Things move really fast when we’re here in person at the factory instead of communicating over email with specs and measurements.
The Reckless 40 and Reckless 80 tailbags are now called the ‘Stinger 8’ and the ‘Stinger 22.’ The name ‘Stinger’ comes from the funky rear exhausts on baja bugs… not the missile, although as Andrew pointed out, the missile could be behind you too, and then you’d be riding really fast ha. They need their own separate name because in addition to working inside the R40/80 harness, these bags now work on their own as pannier toppers, tailbags, etc.
The 22L version was already covered in a prior post. This bag is almost done. Here is the latest version shown in the R80 harness. The backpack straps deploy out of an external rear pocket. Only some very minor changes left to be made.
We enlarged the pass-throughs and side handles to accommodate larger cam buckles but now we have all these loops sticking out everywhere, which we don’t like. In the next version they’ll run flat but have a wider profile. Also we changed the front window to be completely clear.
On the ‘Stinger 8’ we added these internal backpack straps that unfurl from the inside when the bag is open. The idea is that if you’re traveling and need a quick & easy bag to hike out of a breakdown, or hike up to a hot spring, or just run an errand into town from your campsite, they’ll work for that. This isn’t meant to be a substitute for a real hiking backpack, its just for convenient carrying in a pinch.
Here it is mounted in the R40 harness.
And here it is rigged as a standalone tailbag. The 4 connection straps stash in a little pocket on the back of the bag and then loop through the frame or grab handles or luggage rack or fender brackets on the back of the bike. Perfect for day ride tools/tubes/snacks.
We made a bunch of small revisions, too many to list, but at this point the basic designs and features of these two bags are nearly final.
Scout Roll Tops
The Scout Duffle – our single-layer welded seam drybag – is getting some major upgrades. We’ve received requests for a roll-top duffle, so that’s where we’re headed with this new design. It’ll come in two sizes: a 25L and a 60L. In the future we may introduce a version in the 35/45L range as well.
Both Scouts come with a beavertail that has 5 rows of MOLLE webbing on one side and a clear map pocket on the other. The beavertail is reversible and removable, so you can run it either side up or take it off completely, and it’s perfect as an expansion spot to tuck a jacket, wet stuff, garbage… all those things you don’t want to put inside the drybag. Same basic functionality as the beavertails on the Backcountry series, just a little smaller, and connected with buckles instead of sewn-on.
We’re also adding a shoulder strap (shown above). We wanted to get away from the traditional double-handle neoprene/velcro system you see on basically every single roll top dry bag out there. Without that handle, the shoulder strap takes on extra importance. In this design you can leave the shoulder strap attached while riding, just stash it under the beavertail, so it’s always handy. We also have two bomber neoprene handles at the ends of the bag, plus the webbing ‘suitcase’ handles shown in the above pic are being upgraded to the same neoprene design as well, so there will be plenty of off-bike carry options.
Both the 25 & 60L versions have built-in stashable backpack straps and a simple webbing waist belt. We’re adding an adjustable sternum strap as well.
The sternum strap will have a buckle that slides on webbing instead of piping like on the BC series. We want to keep these straps as thin and flexible as possible (while still being comfortable of course) so they don’t bulk up the bottom of the bag too much when they’re stashed.
The 60L as a backpack
The 25L as a backpack
We’re adding internal PE stiffeners to eliminate “drooping” on the back of the bike, which can cause the drybag to contact the muffler on bikes with high/exposed pipes. The stiffener also helps with the backpack functionality and provides an extra armor layer between the outside patch and the inside waterproofing. The bottom of these bags is super bomb-proof, with three overlapping layers of 1000D PVC plus the PE stiffener between. Short of a high speed pavement slide, nothing’s getting through that.
The tracker series consists of three new drybags: a 20L, a 10L, and a MOLLE bag (volume still TBD, ~3L). These will work as add-on drybags, standalone tailbags, pannier toppers, or pretty much anything you’d use a standard drybag for. They’re upgraded with some moto-specific features like map storage, MOLLE webbing, mounting strap pass-throughs, etc.
The Tracker 20 needs the most work, but I think we have a good direction for this bag now, and the next prototype should show a big improvement.
One of the things that’s super annoying on drybags is when the shoulder strap doesn’t have an easy external stash spot. It always ends up getting lost or separated from the bag, either that or it gets stored inside the bag, in which case it’s buried under all the contents, so it never gets used. Especially on a smaller drybag like this one, when there’s always the option of grabbing the carry handle instead. With moto bags, even on a small drybag a shoulder strap can be really handy because a lot of times you’re carrying all your gear at once: jacket, helmet, panniers, tank bag, etc. So on this bag we’re giving the strap a little external garage where it’s always easy to get to. The strap is sewn-on inside the pocket, so there’s only one clip to deal with when youw ant to use it. I have an old marmot gear duffle for fly-in trips that works like this and I really dig that feature.
The webbing pass throughs are currently way too loopy, so that’s getting fixed. We’re expanding and flattening them just like on the Stinger 22.
The pass through dilemma is shown below. The inside loop needs to fit a 1″ side-release (because that’s what we’re using on the beavertail straps) and the outside loop needs to fit a heavy duty cam (because that’s what we’re using on our tie down straps). Plus we want a carry handle in the middle, but there’s only so much real estate to work with. We experimented with several different versions and found a new layout that works.
I really like the bellows pocket on the bottom of this bag. A lot of little drybag pockets are way too flat/tight to be functional. This one expands, so its perfect for snacks, garbage, things like that (although it’s not waterproof).
On the Tracker 10, we didn’t have room for a beavertail so we attached the map pocket and the MOLLE directly to the bag. The MOLLE can be connected to the R80 or BC40/30 Duffles, or it can be used separately to hold a bottle holder, hydration bladder, etc. This little bag is also the perfect size to rig between the daisy chains on top of a BC 35 pannier if you need more capacity for long-distance touring. We’re revising the pass throughs to be flatter, just like on the 20L, and moving the map pocket zipper to the inside, since ‘waterproof zippers’ always end up leaking eventually. With the zipper on inside, it’ll stay waterproof.
Shown here mounted on the R80 beavertail MOLLE panel.
Lastly we’re working on this tiny little Tracker 2-3L MOLLE bag. Double strip MOLLE on the back and a little cell phone or document pocket on the front. We’ve been wanting a little MOLLE drybag for a while – perfect for tools – so this’ll be the first one, and probably some additional models next year once we’ve had a chance to ride/test this version.
We’re also developing a crushable sewn/taped seam ‘dry sak’ to include as a freebie with a bunch of our bags. The idea is to have an internal dry sak to keep muddy shoes and laundry separate from clean stuff on a long-duration trip. It packs down tiny so you can basically just forget about it until you need it. Keeping sweaty/dirty stuff separate from clean is an issue on long trips. If you don’t need it for that, then I’m sure it’ll come in handy for something else.
Shown here in the Tracker 20 external pocket. We added internal pockets on the Scout 25/60 to house this little add-on bag as well.
Shown here in the R80 beavertail mesh pocket.
Here’s some shots from the welding factory. Really stoked to be working with these guys. Great factory, great people. They even have their own pool for waterproof testing. And/or pool parties.
Seam welding in action
They make their own webbing, which was kinda cool to see.
Sampling & patterning
Our specs in the sample room… translated to Chinese.
My temporary office for the week.
Now I’ll be in Vietnam for a few days visiting with our sewing factory, confirming final edits to the Reckless 80/40, confirming edits to the new tie down straps, and checking on the rack adapters and other hard parts we’re manufacturing here. Then I’ll have some time to kill while we wait for the next round of drybag samples. I’m thinking maybe I’ll go see the Great Wall or something like that. Then back to Fuzhou and back to work.
Happy holidays from Asia!