Before you can work to solve any design problem you need to outline what the problem is you are going to attempt to improve. One of the central themes of crossover equipment for Kevin and I was to bring a level of FIT often found in outdoor product to goods used in the every day. The initial product briefs for CPL24 and MPL30 stated these were NOT boxes with straps.
Most day packs are lacking a level fit that would aid in their ability to truly perform as active crossover bags.
We found that most day bags were not designed to fit the contours and curves of the upper back and shoulders.
Design our packs with seamless integrated harnesses that would fit the natural contours of the human body. Solution should also have a minimum of moving parts. Easier said than done right?
After we agreed on the above we created 2D illustrations as a reference. Then we moved into 3D mock ups using paper models. This allows us to see and understand our ideas to scale.
One of the coolest parts about this 3D mock up process is that we are attempting to create them to scale and we can try them on and begin to understand if we are on the right track in terms of size. Of course we do not get everything right on the first go.
Kevin creates these mock ups and then we review each iteration. When we both agree that we are close he then uses these shapes to create the actual patterns. This is one of my favorite times to work with Kevin. His ability to transition from these paper shapes into very complex patterns is truly inspiring. He might say tiring, and on more than one occasion, he has come into work and told me that he awoke in the middle of the night with an understanding of how all the pieces are going to fit together.
After he gets the patterns ready (takes many many hours) it is time for the first build out.
The first sample build is critical. Kevin is able to check his patterns and if he finds issues he updates the patterns in real time for the subsequent build out. The amount of work that goes into these products is no small feat and one of the hardest parts is knowing that even though we may think we are getting close to a final product we are in fact very far away from that end.
Once Kevin finishes the build out we review.
Now the testing begins. We both spend time with the samples and also share them with trusted friends for their feedback. We take all this feedback and adjust the patterns where necessary and drop into another sample build out. Wash, rinse, repeat until we are satisfied and feel the product is ready. Of course there is still a ton of work to do: full spec packages, build manuals, bill of materials, cut lists, marketing materials all must be created.
By outlining the problem and working the process we feel that we put our best efforts in creating a harness with excellent fit, contact with the body, and minimum of moving parts. Pick the bag up, put it on, and get out there and enjoy your day.
But don't take our words for it. Here is what some of you are saying:
Rori on the CPL24 -
I have bought and sold in the last 5-10 years...the CPL blows pretty much all of them away. On the surface the pack seems relatively simple however its the way that it functions that sets it apart from the rest. I'm kind of starting to wonder if some kind of sorcery is happening in Bozeman because not only can you put a laptop in the rear laptop compartment but if you are riding a bike or motorcycle you can hunch over and the pack stays conformed to your body instead of making you feel like you're strapped to a backboard...
Scott on MPL30 -
I picked up the MPL30 after not backing it on the Kickstarter, and man I’m glad I did. The pack is super comfortable hiking and a great size for the essentials. I took it to the coast today with about 20lbs of weight and really liked how it sat on my back. The pockets and organization are great, and the side access allowed for easy access to my thermos when I needed a coffee break. I brought my dog along and the pack easily held all of his required items (food, towel, baggies, etc). This is easily the most comfortable day pack I’ve ever owned, and can see myself using it on much longer adventures. Well done!
In the end we hope our products fit and function easily. We want you to appreciate our hard work and efforts BUT we are also cool if you enjoy using them and can't quite place why.
Jack and Kevin