Imlay Canyon Gear 2016 Pack Line General Improvements
Moving to a new factory allowed me to re-work the design of the packs, so I did. After many years of being the smallest buyer in a large factory, now I am the smallest buyer in a small factory. While I still don’t have much pull, at least I have some, and was able to get these design changes into production, finally. Yes, this contributed to the 15-month timeline for getting this shipment on the boat, but I think it was worth it.
MOST of the design changes are small things, perhaps invisible to the general user. There was a fair amount of “cleaning up” including:
Consistent across styles. Previously, each model did the same thing differently on some details, making sewing more difficult which tends to produce more errors. Now all the packs do things the same way.
Removing excess. Unnecessary reinforcements have been removed, and the interior mesh on all the packs reduced in weight. With 10 years experience making these packs, I now KNOW where things wear out. Streamlining resulted in substantial weight reduction, especially in the Heaps and Kolob. The Heaps lost 14 ounces; the Kolob lost 11 ounces.
3. Careful additions of reinforcements – where do the packs wear out first? Hipbelts, largely, so those places now have Cordura over them. Etc.
4. Proportionally sized Lids (Spry, Kolob, Heaps) – before, they all had the same lid (to simplify production). For 2016, the lids are fit to the specific pack, though all are made in the same way. The Spry retains the original lid size (400 cu in); the Kolob/Shenanigans is 1″ wider (450 cu in); the Heaps/Shinumo is 1″ wider and 1″ deeper (500 cu in).
5. True Unisex suspensions: Before, the packs were definitely built for guys. A few small adjustments, and the packs will fit women much better. Shoulder straps are narrower, shorter and curvier, and a bit closer together. Big guys might not like them as much. Small guys and gals will like them better.
The most visible change to the pack line is:
Addition of Women’s Heaps (=Shinumo) and Women’s Kolob (=Shenanigans).
The Shinumo is a thorough rework of the Heaps on a 2” shorter frame, expanding the pack body to regain the volume lost. A smaller, curvier hipbelt and shorter, curvier shoulder straps fit women better.
The Shenanigans is the same as the Kolob pack, with the suspension adjusted to fit women in the same manner as the Shinumo.
No, they are not pink.
But they do have their own color scheme, using both of our Cordura colors so they are visibly distinct from the men’s packs.
Other Small Detail changes across the line include:
Addition of belt loops to the hipbelts. Before, the tails of the hipbelt webbing hung down right in the center, right where your rappel device is; as in, getting in the way. With the addition of belt loops, these tails will hang less, and hang out further, where they will not get in the way.
Addition of D-rings to the shoulder straps, on the sternum slider. These allow easy adjustment of the sternum strap, plus provide a handy place to clip a ‘biner for the ropebag-stuffing function.
Hipbelts are more-easily interchangeable. Being a tiny producer, I cannot have multiple sizes of hipbelts out there in the world, but I want to meet the needs of customers. I have allocated resources for making other sizes of hipbelt for people for whom the two current sizes (male-medium; female-small) do not fit.
Bigger Outside Pockets: on the Kolob/Shenanigans, but especially on the Heaps/Shinumo, those pleated outside pockets are bigger. I carefully re-engineered these pockets for maximum volume, and also reworked the bottom pleat for better drainage AND more 3-D-ness, for better utilization.
Better Materials: when you are small, it is hard to get exactly what you want. Or expensive. In this case, I supplied three critical materials from USA suppliers: drawcord (seriously, USA drawcord so much better); tent pole tubes for the back stays (Kolob/Shinumo/Shenanigans/Heaps); and cord locks. Hey, what’s a few thousand bucks among friends…
What I did not get:
A smaller suspension Shenanigans. They made an error sewing the Shenanigans, which I did not catch on the sample until it was too late. So this year, the Shenanigans and the Shinumo will have the same suspension on them (the same back-height). My intention was to have the Shenanigans fit a smaller back than the Shinumo, so it would fit small women better. As is, the two women’s packs will fit the same.
Oh, and I changed the colors. And the straps are mostly silver, except the lid straps, which are black so you can quickly tell which of the many straps are for the lid.
I am very happy with the overall result, or at least, I will be once they get here, we put in the USA stays and cordlocks, and get them shipping!!!
Tom is the progenitor of Tom's Utah Canyoneering Guide, Utah's premier canyoneering information resource, and Imlay Canyon Gear, America's #1 maker of canyoneering-specific gear. If he's not canyoneering, he's probably snuggled up with a good book.
Posted on Jan 18th, 2016