It's a good thing I recently purchased 2 packs of cord zipper pulls. Here are some photos of the Aubergine SE with the cord pulls added to the tabs. I still prefer the old simple and streamlined look of the all-black zippers with just the cord pulls, but at least there is no longer any jiggling noises.
Always heartens us that you guys pay as much attention to design and aesthetic details as we do, because it means you "get it". We were thinking this particular thing wasn't a big deal, so we were just gradually phasing in the new color finish... but, here's the scoop:
The matter of our zipper sliders has been one pondered by us (actually, mostly by Tom) for the past couple of years. We've been having our zipper company (none other than YKK) plate our zipper sliders in a matte black finish for roughly the past ten years. It was a nice finish because it more or less matched the flat black look of the acetal and nylon buckles we use -- aesthetically, it all worked together and looked great. However, though YKK assured us that this finish was the very best flat black finish available, we saw that in extensive use it sometimes it wasn't hard enough and would scratch and/or just wear through, exposing the base metal from which the slider is cast. So, yeah, the matte black finish is quite handsome, but that look ultimately proved too ephemeral for our standards.
With Tom's decades of experience building packs, he recalled that the old-fashioned bright nickel finish seemed to last longer than the matte black. His recent foray into the archives of old packs from the 60s and 70s confirmed his observation: most of Tom's packs from that era had zipper sliders that looked brand new. But the bright nickel finish was just too much bling... what we wanted was a finish that was as hard and durable as the bright nickel but as subdued as possible. We considered a glossy black finish but it just about as blingy, and though an improvement over the matte, still not durable enough. When we discovered the gunmetal finish that you're now seeing on the Guide's Pack, Founder's Briefcase, Pilot, Co-Pilot (and other bags to follow) we fell in love -- it's a very hard finish and yet not too showy. And if you ever do manage to scratch the finish, it'll be quite hard to see.
As we gradually phase in the new gunmetal finish on our zipper sliders, we will also be switching to a new style of metal pull that YKK is making for us. It looks like most other YKK zipper pulls but it's a "just right" length that Tom spent a crazy amount of time designing and convincing YKK to make. The new length slider will be most noticeable on bags like the Aeronaut that have traditionally used a short pull -- the new pull will be slightly longer and we hope you like it as much as we do. With bags that have the new slider finish and new pull, we've decided, as you know, to offer a packet of pre-cut lengths of cord zipper so that you can tie your own knots. (More on those cord zippers in the next post…)
As you've come to expect, we're always out there looking for better materials and components, or anything else we can do to improve our bags. We're kinda sad to see the matte black sliders go, but looking out in the long term/big picture, we think that in three, or five, or ten years, you'll appreciate that the finish on the sliders is holding up as well as the rest of the bag.
So: with the new zipper pull comes a change in our style/approach to cord zipper pulls. We've used Cord Zipper Pulls (Plastic Ends) on certain zipper sliders and certain bags for some time now. They're soft, they're quiet, they have a little "TB" logo on them -- what's not to love? However, not everyone agreed... some folks liked traditional metal pulls better, some folks wanted to choose the color of the cord, and some wanted to tie a knot on the cord rather than have the black acetal end piece. So, we thought: why not come up with a solution that'd make everyone happy? And what we came up with was: all bags will come standard with metal zipper pulls -- we'll include a baggy of red and black Cord Zipper Pulls (Knottable) to get you started. Plus, we'll offer the traditional style of Cord Zipper Pulls (Plastic Ends) or Cord Zipper Pulls (Knottable) in a choice of cool colors for purchase separately. People who prefer the gunmetal pulls can keep the bag as it comes, people who want to use either the Cord Zipper Pulls (Knottable) or the Cord Zipper Pulls (Plastic Ends) can either weave the cord (yep, soon to be in multiple colors... more below) through the gunmetal pulls or remove the pulls and replace them with cord.
Here are some photos of my Side Effect with the new gunmetal pulls (and the Black cord I'm currently going with -- the cool thing about the knotted cord pulls is that I can easily change them without having to cut them off.)
And a studio shot w/red cord:
We are totally head over heels for this look+function, partly because you can customize your pulls to be the color you want. What's that mean? Well.. we didn't want to say anything before we had an exact time frame that we could share, but what the heck: we're waiting for samples from Japan of some super high quality cord in amazing colors (purple, orange, blue, wasabi, and that's in addition to the red, coyote, and black) that we hope to offer soon. And, again, with the Cord Zipper Pulls (Knottable), you can simply unknot them and change the color whenever you feel like it. Using a heavy-duty wire cutter and lots of eye protection, you can even cut the metal zipper pulls off and install Cord Zipper Pulls (Knottable) or Cord Zipper Pulls (Plastic Ends). (Note that once you cut the metal pulls off, your bag cannot be returned for a refund or exchange and we can't "repair" the pulls should you decide this was a bad idea by replacing them, so you might want to wait until you're sure you are keeping your bag before you make the commitment and cut off the metal pulls.)
Whew. Obviously I could keep going on about all of this for days. To sum it up:
We want to make sure you guys have bags that last and look good as long as possible because we know you stick with 'em. The zipper pull/cord switch is an effort on our part to give everyone the option of what they want. And: if anyone received a Side Effect and is bummed not to have received the usual Cord Zipper Pulls with the plastic ends, email me w/your address and I'll send you a pack.
Darcy, you had me at WASABI pulls! Cannot wait. Thanks.
And thanks for the background info. Yes, I noticed that the black matte finish was coming off the slider of my SE. Will still miss black matte... but WASABI cord pulls! Wow!
@Darcy The red cords on your Black SE look really cool. One question: with the customizable pulls, do you think you might be making more 200d Dyneema Side Effects (to go along with the fabulous 400d Dyneema offerings)? I think there's a lot of interest in these, first, because the SE's are so handy used in the interior of the Pilot and the Dyneema options slide into the pockets of the Pilot so easily, and also because these are perfect for bringing along a toothbrush, etc. while having a lining material that cleans up well. The zippered organization gives more flexibility than just the 3D organizer cubes in Dyneema, And finally, while we're transitioning to the HT Nylon Parapack color offerings, these SEs offer a bright splash of color to accent the many Black Ballistic Nylon Pilots that were designed. I think these would be really popular if you have the resources (and fabric) to turn these out, especially given how much people like the Pilit.
Originally Posted by Darcy
Just my thoughts. YMMV.
P.S. more (200d) Wasabi Dyneems SE's to go along with the new pulls would be AWESOME.
Originally Posted by taminca
red cords on the black look great. i LOVE the red against the nordic too. purple too??! how fun.
Just this morning I noticed that the matte finish on my Smart Alec zipper pulls was wearing off. I think it adds character. I also think the new zipper pulls look swell.
I personally like the new gun metal pulls and the different sizes that u use on the Pilot for example.
While we r on the subject on side effects, is there a reason why (beyond its coming on the next batch ) that you are not offering the SE in the black Parapack? I'm ready to place them on my next order.
(SE's seem to be multiplying like bunnies around here)
Thanx for the "Zipper Monologue"
I hear you -- and IMHO a Side Effect in Ultraviolet 200d Dyneema w/Wasabi knotted cord pulls could be pretty amazing. Or Wasabi 200d and purple pulls. See the theme here? Anyway… for us, it's this thing of trying to strike a balance between offering a lot of color combinations while not offering too many. Let's see… between the available exterior and interior fabrics, there's about 90 different possible color combinations of the Side Effect we could make. To be honest, that'd be just way too many for us to make and keep track of! That said, we bring in all of these custom colors because we want to offer a lot of possibility, so changing color combinations from batch to batch is one way of doing that. And then you guys come in with awesome color combination suggestions and convince us to add just one more new color to the next batch of bags… and we do and you were right and it's worth it. So that's just a long way of saying: no guarantees, but I can definitely see us potentially offering more 200d color combinations in the next batch of Side Effects. And it will probably mean some currently available colors need to retire to make way for the new ones.
Originally Posted by moriond
Glad you like 'em.
Originally Posted by Trailhiker
See reasoning above and: you might very well see the SE in Black Parapack next go around.
And re: the "Zipper Monologue"… you should see the unabridged version. ;)
Yep. Here… I kinda approximated it with some purple bungee I had around:
Originally Posted by luvdabags
Black para pack with UV lining would be FABULOUS!!!
I was on the forum today, read a lot, posted some then, I had to close all my surfing windows to focus on important stuff.
When I came back I opened the blog, no new post then I started to wonder why we hadn't heard from The Crew for a while.
Luckily, I saw Darcy's post on the side panel!
To paraphrase Taminca, Darcy, you had me at purple and blue zipper cords and I am also delighted that the cute zipper pulls with the logo are going to stay.
Will the color zipper cords fit inside the little TB acetate slider?
The matte metal pulls look stunning! I am also very happy that they are slightly longer than the present ones.
What's funny is that I have tried to differentiate Large Organizer Pouches in the same color by coming up with color coding adds on.
My solutions were either too ephemeral, too permanent, too bulky or tacky.
Thank you for the cool colors zipper pull!
On the Side Effect: delighted to hear about 200d UV Dyneema being considered!
What about other swoon worthy colors Nordic/UV, Aubergine/UV and Steel Parapack/UV?
I already own a Small Cafe Bag in the first, the new Knitting Tool Pouches are the first item I own in Aubergine, well... as predicted, swoooon, same for the shimmery Steel Parapack which is swoon worthy, even on a tiny sample.
I understand the need for rotating colors, so when a new design comes up I await for the first batch with the same anticipation as barn animals await spring.
If the first batch doesn't have my dream color pairs, I just wait for the pictures of the new owners being happy with their new bag.
Then, I wait some more.
Eventually, the dream pairs will come up.
This way, I always wait for a new batch with anticipation.
Originally Posted by Darcy
Oh no! *Rush off to order that Solar SE...*
Originally Posted by Darcy
Reading this before bed ensures side effects of ultraviolet will dance through my head.
Either that or barn animals, thanks to @backpack. #threecheersforTBAS
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