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Thread: Why do you love the Absolute Strap? (I don't get it)

  1. #1
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    Why do you love the Absolute Strap? (I don't get it)

    I've heard a lot of love for the absolute strap in the forums. But I don't understand how it works. (I don't have one).

    Reading the product page, it seems like there are 2 advantages. A bigger, wider, cushiony padded part. This I understand. It seems like that would make it more comfortable in that a heavy bag wouldn't cause the strap to cut into my neck/shoulder.

    But the description also says that it's stretchy. But how does that help? Once it stretches out with the weight of the bag, then isn't it just like any other strap?

    I tend to be a backpack person because carrying a heavy bag cross body makes my back hurt. So my large cafe bag doesn't get the attention it deserves, because it ends up being too heavy and then I just take a Synapse instead.

    I know there's a lot of fans, so can you share how you think it makes a difference? I've googled this and some people say "magic" and some say "anti-gravity". I like both.
    What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

  2. #2
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    The pad on the strap is larger and thicker to help absorb the feel of the weight.

    The other part, the stretching, is not so much about dead weight but to help absorb stress points on the body while moving.

    Think of a shock absorber on a car. As the car moves, the shocks help absorb any bumps, stresses or movements so the passengers hardly feel anything.

    That's the same with the strap. As you walk, the bag will continually be moving up and down, sideways, etc. The design of the Absolute Strap helps to absorb that movement putting less stress on the neck and shoulders.

    Regular shoulder straps have no give putting extra tension on the points of the body that come in contact with it.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    From what I understand and to add to what @Frank II wrote:

    Wider Strap = better distribution of weight so it is spread out over a larger area - e.g. weight on a nail point versus a plate
    Stretchy Strap = more shock absorbing - e.g. dropping 20 lbs on your shoulder versus gradually lowering 20 lbs onto your shoulders so you feel the weight increase over a longer time period (less jarring) versus immediately (very jarring).

    Essentially, when you are walking with your bag, you are constantly loading and unloading the weight of the bag because you are doing thousands of mini - lifts and falls (unless you have figured out how to carry a weight with constant force - like the waiter carrying the tray of drinks perfectly). So, the more shock absorbing strap you have, the better.
    BTW - the curve in the straps helps position the weight to be suspended in a direction where your shoulder / muscles are strongest. Our shoulders / muscles are strongest in certain directions - not all (e.g lifting weights up and down is easier than at a 45 degree angle).

    You probably have seen these but here are some good links on the Absolute Shoulder Strap and how it help's the body's structure absorb the weight:

    Absolute Strap Update: the best shoulder strap gets better
    Travel Gear: Shoulder strap comparo – 4 contenders for “best bag strap”

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 11-09-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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  4. #4
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    To this I would like to add - depending on the size of your frame, consider the stretchy straps from Op-Tech, the company that makes these straps. They sell smaller and slightly thinner straps that have the same benefits, and I use one with my Co-Pilot and like it.
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  5. #5
    Registered User terayon's Avatar
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    I find the Absolute strap is more comfortable than a regular strap, but at the end of the day a heavy load is still heavy.

    One thing I like about the Absolute strap is the grippy underside - the strap doesn't slide around on my clothes. Some might see that a drawback, but it works for me.
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  6. #6
    Registered User marbenais's Avatar
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    I'm one of the few people who doesn't prefer the Absolute strap -- the regular one with the sliding pad works much better for me. I need that grippy/cushion pad to stay still while the strap itself moves around, which can't happen with the Absolute. I've also found it to be too bouncy for my liking.
    K9TB likes this.
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  7. #7
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    The absolute strap is what drew me to TB in the first place. Using it first with a Co-Pilot & later with a Pilot the thing I like best is that it doesn't slide off my shoulder when I carry the bag on the same side, not cross-body. It has the ideal amount of "stickiness", holding the strap securely in place without grabbing uncomfortably.
    K9TB likes this.

  8. #8
    Registered User Mausermama's Avatar
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    My first purchase at Tom Bihn was an Imago with the Absolute Strap. I have since replaced it with the QAM strap, and I like it better for that particular bag. That being said, when I purchased my Western Flyer, I wouldn't have even considered it without purchasing the Absolute Strap for it as well. It does a great job of distributing the load, and the "stickiness" of the strap keeps it nicely on my sloping shoulder, a feat not many straps can handle! I also have the Pilot, but I bought a smaller version of the Absolute Strap through a different source. It works quite nicely for the size and scale of this bag.

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    One suggestion if the Absolute Shoulder Strap feels too bouncy is to shorten the length. I found that when I carried my heavy TriStar at my usual hip or lower length, it would feel bouncy. But, once I shorted it to just above my hip, I did not have this problem and it felt good again.

    I suspect that, as with any strap, the combination of heavy load and stretchiness will cause the bag to "bounce" more due to increased inertia (from the heavier weight) and the longer distance from your shoulder just amplifies it. Of course, if you are a "smooth" walker, this should not be an issue.

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
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  10. #10
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    Thanks everybody. Very interesting. Will add to my wish list for the next time I am making an order than needs some company.
    What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.


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