New New Things: Tank Bag Edition
July 29, 2016
Product development is in high gear at the moment. Bags. Apparel. It’s all happening.
Nomad Tank Bag
We got our new prototype of the Nomad tank bag last week. So stoked with where this bag is headed. We’re close. The next prototype will probably be the ‘golden sample’ for production. Introduction in Spring 2017 at the latest.
Inside the Nomad beavertail we added a Delorme InReach pocket. We also added a little clip (which will have a gate on it, even tho the one in the pic below does not) so you can clip your InReach, or any other device with a lanyard, so it doesn’t come flying out in a crash.
On the outside of the beavertail, we have MOLLE webbing, so you can add MOLLE storage pouches, phone/ipad holders, or whatever MOLLE accessories you want.
It also comes with a removable map/phone case that’s totally 100% waterproof, with RF welded seams. The case also fits an ipad, and has a waterproof aux cable pass-through.
We get a lot of requests for concealed carry pockets. This pocket at the bottom of the nomad does double duty as a CC pocket OR as a hydration sleeve pocket. There’s a big velcro patche inside so you can attach a holster. We have a toy gun we use for testing.
If you prefer to put your handgun somewhere else, there are lots of mesh pockets under the beavertail and also inside the bag where it will fit.
The Nomad has two layers in addition to the beavertail. Here’s the top layer.
And the bottom layer. We added lots of storage pockets for small items like batteries, change, chapstick, contacts, headlamps, etc. In our advrider poll last year, the vast majority of items people reported storing in their tank bags were very small.
Here’s what the Nomad looks like fully expanded. Our goal was to divide the bag’s volume vertically in addition to horizontally.
The beavertail is a perfect spot to store a DSLR camera so it’s available on quick draw, but still protected if you drop the bike.
We added these webbing loops on both sides of the beavertail gussets so you can use two carabiners to connect the shoulder strap d-rings on your DSLR camera case to the beavertail, so nobody can abscond with it while you’re distracted. Camera snatching is a real thing, especially in a crowd. I’ve personally had one snatched, and nearly lost a second in a separate incident on a different trip.
At the bottom of the bag, there’s a long pocket that runs the entire length of the bag (same CC pocket mentioned above). This can be used as a hydration bladder sleeve, so you can store your water on the bike rather than on your back, if so desired. It fits a standard 2L bladder, or you can also squeeze in a 3L bladder (like in the pics below) if you want.
On the bottom compartment of the bag there’s a little zipper opening so you can access and attach the top of the hydration bladder, just like in a mountain biking pack, so the bladder won’t sag down as it empties.
When riding the hydration nozzle sits in a clip next to your left hand, for easy access.
The Nomad has stashable backpack straps. It pops off the bike and turns into a real hydration pack in seconds. Last winter in Africa I was really digging the straps, because the tank bag had my camera and valuables in it, plus water and snacks, so at borders or tourist things I could just take off the tank bag and be ready to roll. I wasn’t wearing a separate hydration pack on my back on that trip, so it really came in handy.
We’ll add some elastic bands on the backpack straps to hold the hydration nozzle in place over your shoulder, right where Andrew’s finger is in the pic below.
And lastly, the raincover. Nobody likes raincovers. We know this, and we’re also making another bag (the hatch/hood design, discussed below) that’s 100% waterproof without a raincover. On the Nomad though, we wanted to really feature it up, with all the storage and pockets etc, which means sewing not RF welding, which means a raincover. The raincover stashes in its own pocket at the top of the bag and is attached with a clip and tether. The raincover can be removed, and the pocket can be used for other things if desired.
Right now, on this proto, the raincover looks a lot like all the other raincovers on the market. We’re not too stoked on it. It’s a typical sewn-seam condom with taped seams, a boxy shape, and a clear top. In the next round we’ll experiment with a welded seam cover that’s a bit more form-fitted to the bag. Using construction like in the pic below. We selected some sample fabrics for the next proto. Not sure if this will work or not, it’s possible the welded cover will be too bulky, but we’ll see.
Hatch to Hood
The other tank bag prototype we’ve been working on is the Hatch. We got our first hatch proto and it actually looks really good, we’re stoked on it. Despite that, we’re seriously considering a change of direction for this bag (reasons discussed below).
The hatch would come with these cool removable internal organizer bags that contour to the inside of the bag.
They can also be mounted on the outside of the bag, using a single MOLLE stick (included with the bag). When it rains, put them inside.
The headlamp pocket works awesome! You can click on your headlamp from outside the bag and it illuminates the inside.
The hatch fits the same map pocket as the nomad, with a cell phone holder and an aux cable pass-through.
Despite really liking this first prototype, we’re considering moving away from the hatch, or at least putting it on the back burner. Here’s why.
- Nobody on advrider seems exited about it. Lots of people have kayaks, and they’re concerned about the hatches gumming up etc, as they sometimes do on the floor of a kayak. We don’t actually share this concern in this application, but if people are worried about it, and are therefore negatively inclined, it might be a tough sell.
- We’re having a hard time sourcing a reliable hatch. Our factory found one for this prototype, but the t-handle broke the second time we used it. Not a good sign.
- The size of the hatch limits access to the bag. Larger items, like an ipad or a DSLR camera, wouldn’t fit.
So now we’re migrating from ‘The Hatch’ to ‘The Hood.’ Same bag, same features, still waterproof (not submersible waterproof, but waterproof for riding). The Hood is still in development, but would look something like this.
If we move forward with the hood rather than the hatch, we’ll still keep the hatch on the back burner for future development. The concept of a submersible-level waterproof tank bag without a roll-top closure is very appealing.
We’re also experimenting with a little ‘enduro pod’ concept, something that fits on any bike, is 100% waterproof, and holds a cell phone, wallet, keys, and not much else. Super minimalist, but it won’t get all up in your business when you’re standing on the pegs.
We like this little pod. We’re thinking of merging it with the ‘hood’ concept described above, and offering it in a smaller size with fewer features.
BMW MOA Rally
Ashley and I atttended the BMW MOA rally in Hamburg, NY (right outside Buffalo, NY) last week. What a great show! This may have been the busiest indoor show we’ve ever had. Met lots of awesome people, heard some great stories, and we had a total blast exploring Buffalo at night. Neither one of us had ever been to Buffalo, and we ended up meeting all these really interesting & eclectic people. It kind of reminded us of Portland!
Before the show opened:
After the show opened:
Every night after the show we stopped for a drink at a great bar called Eddie Brady’s Tavern. Friendliest little bar ever. Strong Jameson pours, epic wings, awesome owner.
And Raclettes, where we hung around with Hunter, who was dressed as a mime, but talked.
Marcin Sucholdoski: thanks for the loaner show bike! Hope you’re having a blast on the UTBDR!
BMW Atacama Bags
Earlier this week, BMW announced their new Atacama Soft Luggage. You may have noticed some similarities to our Backcountry kit.
This is something we’ve been developing with BMW over the last 18 months. Inside the Atacama bags, there’s a little hang tag with the Mosko Moto lizard. Very excited about this partnership. More on that in the next post!