Thanks to our Seattle factory crew, some Cadet pre-orders shipped yesterday and more will ship today and next week. You’ll receive an email notification with your tracking number when your order ships. If you’d like an update on when your Cadet pre-order will ship, email us.
Left to right: 11/iPad Cadet, 15/13 Cadet, and Zephyr.
Tom designed The Cadet for people who want a small-ish briefcase, simple with lots of features: a safe place to carry a laptop, comfortable handles, and easy-access phone and magazine pockets. Yes, all this plus the Cadet zips up for use in zero-gravity situations like being turned up-side-down in your car or under the seat of an airplane.
I think we thought of everything.
The Cadet is available is two sizes: 15/13 and 11/iPad. Both sizes feature a removable protective laptop sleeve (called the Cadet Cache) in sizes designed specifically to fit Apple laptops and the iPad: the 15/13 size fits both the 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pro, the 13″ MacBook, and the 13″ MacBook Air, while the 11/iPad size fits the 11″ MacBook Air and the iPad/iPad 2. While designed to fit Apples, there are many PC laptops that will fit, too.
The Cadet is available for pre-order in colors Black/Steel, Black/Iberian, Steel/Solar, Forest/Steel, Navy/Solar, and Cardinal/Steel. The 15/13 size will ship by mid-November while the 11/iPad size will ship by late November. $170. Includes the Cadet Cache laptop sleeve and our Standard Shoulder Strap.
In Part 1 of the Camera Insert Update, we showed you what the Camera Insert can fit. In Part 2, Tom describes hiking in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks with the Brain Bag fully loaded with the Camera Insert and equipment.
One of our first hikes of the trip was the Peek-A-Boo trail, which leaves the rim of Bryce Canyon at Bryce Point, descending several hundred feet and heading north just about a mile to the first trail junction. From there the trail descends a further 500 feet and heads east, then bottoming out and looping back west and south, climbing the roughly 1000 feet it dropped back to Bryce Point. The Peek-A-Boo Trail winds through numerous tunnels, cut through the sandstone. I remember looking down into Bryce Canyon when I was eight years old (see photo below) and those tunnels have fascinated me ever since. It was great to have finally hiked the Peek-A-Boo.
The Brain Bag was great: I won’t say it was like carrying nothing at all, but considering the heavy load, even I was surprised at how comfortable it was. We brought a water filter so we didn’t need to carry extra water, but Darcy’s camera stuff more than made up for that savings in weight. The mesh back panel of the Brain Bag didn’t eliminate sweat buildup but considering the heat in the upper 80s and the 30+ pound load, I had no complaints. Keep in mind that the Brain Bag was designed for rigorous everyday, urban use; our hikes in Zion and Bryce Canyon were above-and-beyond what the pack was intended for and yet the Brain Bag performed like a champ.
The next day we hiked the Northgate Peaks Trail, leaving from from the Wildcat Trailhead in the Kolob Plateau area. This is a relatively high-elevation trail and hiking was a bit cooler, but the elevation made the work harder, too. We did a bit of cross-country from the end of the trail, climbing to the top of a small knob just ’cause. It was great to get away from the crowds of Zion Canyon and the views were stunning.
Inside of the Brain Bag, we used a prototype of the Camera Insert. I’ve been developing the Camera Insert with the help of my brother Dan, who is a professional photographer in Colorado. With its adjustable dividers, the Camera Insert was able to carry Darcy’s Canon 7D body, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses, a Small Padded Organizer Pouch with memory cards, and a 3D Clear Organizer Cube containing a filter, battery charger, extra batteries, lens blower/brush, cleaning cloths, cleaning solution, and remote shutter release cord, all organized and easy to get at, safely protected from external impacts and each other. The padding of the Camera Insert along with the padding on the back of the Brain Bag protected me from all that equipment, too – essential for carrying such a load all day.
While we mostly used it inside of the Brain Bag on this trip, the Camera Insert has padded handles and attachment points for a shoulder strap so it can be used as a stand-alone camera/lens case when desired. Sometimes, the best opportunities to see and take photos of wildlife are from the road, and keeping the Camera Insert in the front seat of the car kept Darcy’s camera gear easily accessible.
We also used a tripod bag that is designed to attach to the Camera Insert when used alone, but we attached it to the front of the Brain Bag and that was perfect for our hikes.
We’re not ready to show you the actual Camera Insert – yet. I’m making a few materials changes that will change how the Camera Insert looks ever-so-slightly. Stay tuned for more updates as the Camera Insert comes closer to being available for pre-order.
We recently tested the up-and-coming Camera Insert on a trip to Zion and Bryce National Parks. In it, we carried a Canon 7D body, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses, a Small Padded Organizer Pouch with memory cards, and a 3D Clear Organizer Cube containing a filter, battery charger, extra batteries, lens blower/brush, cleaning cloths, cleaning solution, and a remote shutter release cord.
Here’s what we carried inside of the Camera Insert. We aren’t ready to show
you the actual Camera Insert itself — yet.
The optional Tripod Bag will be available for purchase with, or separately from, the Camera Insert.
The Camera Insert fits perfectly inside either compartment of the Brain Bag, turning the Brain Bag into the ultimate laptop plus camera backpack. In addition to the Camera Insert, our Brain Bag fit a 15″ MacBook Pro inside of a Size 4Z Vertical Brain Cell, a Snake Charmer with various chargers, cables, and small accessories, an iPad in a Cache for iPad 2 (Vertical), our Gitzo travel tripod in its own protective sleeve (the sleeve will be an optional accessory for purchase with the Camera Insert and also available separately), a jacket, water bottle, plus the usual wallet, keys, etc. with more room to spare. It was a heavy load, but comfortable enough for several six mile hikes.
The Tripod Bag clips securely to the front of the Brain Bag.
What did we learn after testing the Camera Insert? That it’s close to perfect. Tom wants to use different materials here and there and tweak the padded handles, but otherwise, it will be ready for production as soon as we receive its molded foam parts designed by Tom and produced especially for us. Because the parts are a highly specialized lamination of foam and fabric, it may take up to 8-12 weeks to receive them. We’ll keep you posted; once we know when the parts will arrive at our Seattle factory, we will make the Camera Insert available for pre-order. There’s a chance some will ship before the end of the year, but we’re thinking January or February just to be safe.
The first size of Camera Insert is designed to fit the Brain Bag, Empire Builder, Super Ego, and Ego. It also fits in the middle compartment of the Tri-Star (though it will eat up some of the room of the compartments on either side of it), in the main compartment of the ID (it’s a tight fit, but it works as long as the Camera Insert isn’t overstuffed), and the main compartment of the Aeronaut.
Next Week: The Camera Insert Update: Part 2, where we take some hikes with the Camera Insert inside of the Brain Bag. You’ll see some beautiful photos that Darcy took in the Zion and Bryce Canyon backcountry, and you’ll get some straight talk from me about carrying 30+ pounds (14 kgs) of camera gear and more in a Brain Bag for two six mile (10 kilometers) hikes in high-desert sun and wind. — Tom
Being able to carry our camera gear comfortably, safely and securely encouraged us to take more photos of our trip.
Stay tuned for more next week.
Our Swift knitting bag is now available in two new color/fabric combinations: Cardinal/Hemp and Forest/Hemp. Both are in-stock and ready to ship within one business day.
Candi, who works with the single needle sewing machine in our Seattle factory, models the Cardinal/Hemp Swift.
Vulcana Hemp/Recycled Rubber is a material made in the U.S.A. from post-consumer recycled tires with a bonded overlay of sustainable hemp. This fabric – though with a look of delicacy due to fine strands of hemp standing out that one person likened to a raw silk look – is durable and extraordinarily unique. Paired with our custom 1050d U.S. ballistic nylon, it’s a striking combination.
June (Production Manager) and Lisa (Sewing Supervisor) model the Forest/Hemp Swift.