Monday, May 22, 2017

eBay find: Mystery Ranch Tall NICE frame

A truly unique specimen, I can only assume this predates the current load lifter kit. The shortcoming of the Nice frame has always been its short height, this solution (simply extending the frame) presents backward compatibility issues since it would move every MR pack up too high on the frame.

I find it particularly interesting that they chose to change the basic geometry of the frame for the increased height, the center frame stay splits into a "Y" to the upper corners, rather then staying parallel like other MR frames.

A more studied MR aficionado could probably date this pack more accurately by the optifade colorway which I know was only offered for a short period.

While the new Guidelite and SPEAR frames solve the height issue handily with no backward compatibility issues, it is always fun to think of what might have been, if MR had went with this frame height from the beginning they probably would lost millions in government contracts, but perhaps had more market share in the hunting world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The first Mobility Bag?

I find mobility bags interesting.

It is certainly a niche part of the market, and one category that still has quite a bit of room left for innovation. Despite the push for multipurpose gear and lighter base weights in the UL community they still don't seem to hold much market share.

I'm also very interested in the origins of things. Even focused on the relatively young outdoor gear market, this is seldom an interest that I can exercise with any certainty, but in this case I might have caught a break:

I'm not sure where I first found this picture, but the only source I can find currently is an article over at Science in the Cold War. According to the caption on their version of the photo it hails from 1959, at Ladd Air Force Base in Alaska. Its easy to see that the older canvas shelled feather bag was employed for this experiment, which is made easier by its center zip, which modern mobility bags seem to be largely returning too.

I think it safe to say for the moment that this is the oldest example of a modern sleeping bag with arm and leg openings, so for now at least I'm declaring it the first true mobility bag.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unique elbow articulation

I'm always on the lookout for unique articulation in garments, this is one of the more unique elbows I have seen:

I did not record the details as well as I should have, I only know it was a woman's jacket for sale on eBay. It goes without saying that pleats placed perpendicular to each other are uncommon.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

eBay find: Jansport water bottle innovation

Not something I've seen before, and a placement I've only joked about:

Of course it would only really work with bike bottles which I don't care for, but it would likely allow for fast access with less contortion then is required for most low mounted bottle pockets.