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Thread: large packing cube-convertible backpack

  1. #1
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    large packing cube-convertible backpack

    Don't know if this has been suggested before, but how about making a version of the large packing cube as a convertible backpack? I sometimes put a light (Rick Steves) microfiber backpack into my beloved Aeronaut. It would be neater if I could just zip out or loosen a pair of light but strong straps from the large packing cube and carry it that way when I needed to.

    Also, sometimes on overnight trips when I don't need a bag as big as the aeronaut, I'll just take the large packing cube and it would be handy if this had backpack-style straps; currently I have to carry it by the finger loop. It should be solid dyneema sans mesh. Perhaps with a zippered compartment along the outside with a zipper like the convertible packing cube. Maybe with the means to secure this zipper shut to a loop on the side of the bag since someone walking behind could easily unzip it. And an internal loop for keys. Watcha think?

    Thanks for making my favorite bags!
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    and another feature...

    and another feature might be a divider that could be used or not by snapping or unsnapping it like the expandable main chamber of the Aeronaut. It might be best if it were a solid material like the dyneema in case you wanted to separate dirty clothes from clean.
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  3. #3
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    I really like the idea of a packing cube as a smaller, separately carryable bag.

    However, the bulk of permanent backpack-style straps seems 1) like it would rob some utility and 2) like overkill for the size / weight of a packing cube unless it's full of gold.

    An idea -- I hope I'm explaining this well enough for clarity! :) -- would be to include two attachment points (or even four of them), such that a strap could be attached, I think at opposite diagonal corners, and a packing cube then becomes something closer to a messenger bag than a backpack, as a separate, carryable bag.

    In fact, as I picture that, now I really want this :) Drat.

    This might make a good "firedrill bag," or the "will fit easily *under* the seat ahead of you" bag, which I suspect the Aeronaut will not.

    timothy
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    However, the bulk of permanent backpack-style straps seems 1) like it would rob some utility and 2) like overkill for the size / weight of a packing cube unless it's full of gold.
    The backpack-style straps need not be heavy-duty padded straps. Given the size and material of the cubes, I think small, light, thin straps would be more functional.

    The gold might dig into your back if you were carrying it around like that... get a Brain Bag =D

    Timothy, are you basically suggesting a large packing cube version of the Convertible Packing Cube? That might work.

    All this talk has me wanting a duffel bag made of Dyneema fabric =)
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    All this talk has me wanting a duffel bag made of Dyneema fabric =)
    How about a GoLite Ion? It's shaped like a duffel bag but has really great backpack straps.

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    The Rolly Polly is much like the GoLite Ion,
    but for less money.

    There's a number of these type bags in the marketplace, most
    are in the $50 to $60 price range and made of Dyneema.

    I'd like to see TB take a shoot at making a competitive bag to
    the Ion and Rolly Polly.
    Last edited by PM4HIRE; 05-22-2008 at 02:30 PM.
    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Author of 101 Financial Ratios 5.0
    Travel Lite & Smart

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    The backpack-style straps need not be heavy-duty padded straps. Given the size and material of the cubes, I think small, light, thin straps would be more functional.
    --precisely.

    Also, messenger-style bags don't appeal to me. And I think a big thick square would make a poorly shaped messenger bag. I want a little daypack that doubles as a packing cube (and vice versa). I want to stash the Aeronaut somewhere and go exploring with a bag that stays on my back hands-free so I can negotiate maps, tickets, coffee etc... and doesn't swing around my hip and require a hand to secure it.

    Though perhaps a minimal version of a sling-style strap like the Western Flyer or Buzz would do the trick.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just View Post
    The backpack-style straps need not be heavy-duty padded straps. Given the size and material of the cubes, I think small, light, thin straps would be more functional. ...

    Timothy, are you basically suggesting a large packing cube version of the Convertible Packing Cube? That might work.
    Re: Straps: You're right, it's only thin straps that would be needed, but it seems to me that attachment points (with which to reuse a shoulder strap) would take up less room no matter how thin they are, and with a big that would be only that large, I can't see how backpack straps would be enough of an improvement to justify that change. But maybe :)

    And Yes, now that I looked at it -- just now -- I guess the convertable packing cube is exactly what I'm describing above, only half the size.

    timothy

    p.s. Tom, you have the technology :)

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    What a great idea! I like my crushable Rick Steves Civita bag, but I don't like the difficulty in locking it. Locking the main compartment is easy, but locking the lower one isn't. The fabric is also thin, and I'd prefer dyneema instead of microfiber. The Civita also doesn't pack very well in any of my bags unless it's empty; it's just not a good shape for me. I want to pack it full and THEN stow it.

    I'd buy a convertible backpack/packing cube in a heartbeat. (Think Aeronaut-size WITH the snaps undone - full interior size, not just center-compartment size. The current convertible end-size cube is a tad too small for what I carry. Or perhaps full height/depth Aeronaut center compartment size.)

    What I wouldn't want is one with permanent backpack straps, though. One more thing to tangle when I'm using it as strictly a packing cube. Does anyone else own any Cascade Designs Platypus bags? I have one (somewhere) which was just a purple fabric sleeve for one of their hydration bags. It could be used as a water carrier in a canoe or kayak, or, with the addition of one long shoulder-strap-like strap, be converted to a hydration backpack. The base purple bag had a center d-ring on one short side for the top of the strap, and two small triangle rings at what would end up the bottom corners for the clips on the 'strap' piece.

    I wish I knew exactly which camping storage tub it was in - I'd post a picture if I could. If anyone else has one, with the removable strap, maybe one will show up on this thread.

    I remember the strap had a design which kept the center of the strap on the d-ring. The bag is no longer in production, nor are the straps; a pity, since it was lightweight, simple, and useful. The only grumble I ever had was that it held only the waterbag; if I wanted to carry anything else I had to pull out a full-fledged Platypus hydration pack (or a compatible backpack which would hold the sleeve). Little things would just fall out of it.

    I'm not suggesting Tom Bihn put out a hydration pack, but the design of the removable strap and simple fabric sleeve would have been perfect if the Platypus sleeve had only been bigger and sealed on all sides! Since both companies are based in Seattle (and not even that far apart on 1st), it should be a simple matter to see if the strap design was patented. If not, that would be an eminently simple, lightweight, feasible solution to straps for a lightweight backpack cube. Put them away when you don't want them. Have a comfortable strap when necessary. The strap was just soft nylon, no padding, nothing fancy. Took up less space than a belt in my panniers or drybag.

    How comfortable? I carried a 2 or 3 liter waterbag with it, and sometimes crammed in two (think 7-10 pounds usually), and never felt it on my back as I moved. For a simple soft nylon strap, it held up well. I wouldn't put a full messenger bag on my back with it, but for a daybag it wouldn't be bad at all.

    Oh, yeah. Dyneema convertible backpack/packing cube. Where do I sign up to buy one???? (Hint, hint!)
    Indigo Co-Pilot w' Cache, Sapphire/Olive Medium Cafe bag, Sapphire/Black and Indigo Ballistic Swifts, 50+ assorted Stuff Sacks/Pouches/Key Straps, 4 Shop Bags. 2 Absolutes, 2 Strap Wraps, a #5 Brain Cell, 3 Clear Quarter Packing Cubes , 3 Aeronaut cubes, a 3D, a Kit, a Convertible Shoulder Bag and Convertible Backpack for my Indigo/Solar Aeronaut. Last, 3 Lifefactory Bottles and my Plum Field Journal! Plus a blue (natch) FOT. All bags decked out with Tom Bihn luggage tags .

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    I don't know how well the current convertible bag sells--the one that fits into the end of the Aeronaut, but I can see a real use for the large packing cube if it were offered in a convertible version as well. The large packing cube is considerably bigger in size than the end packing cube (and I do have the convertible version of that small bag too). I can fit a weekend's worth of necessities including clothing into the large cube (and I'm 6'2") when I stay overnight somewhere.

    I'm picturing slim straps that zip out of the panel on one side of the bag. Perhaps these shoulder straps should zip out of the bottom of the panel instead of the top and be attached to rings at the top two corners of the bag. In this way, the cube could also accommodate any shoulder strap using the two attachment points at the top for those who wish to carry messenger style instead of as a stealthy backpack as mentioned above.

    Alternatively the bag could be sold simply with four attachment points and no straps whatsoever. The user could buy whatever strap s/he wants. In which case, a backpack strap would be sold separately. Perhaps one could be made with some flex material at the shoulder section such as that used in the Absolute Strap. Or a soft material of some kind could be added here. The strap should still be able to be stowed into the bag.

    To finish the bag, a zip pocket added to the outward facing panel (similar to the current small convertible packing cube) would be useful to hold tickets, maps, magazines etc... preferably with a way to lock it. If it zipped closed next to a loop or the main zipper, one could simply attach a little lock from this zipper to that point assuming that the zippers could take a little cable luggage lock. This would secure the bag a little, making this pocket viable for use while in crowds.

    Also, elastic pockets could be added to each of the two sides of the bag to hold water bottles, phones and so forth. They could be mesh.

    Keep it simple. Keep it strong. I'm thinking I'd pay 3-4 times the price of the regular large packing cube for these features.
    eWalker likes this.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM4HIRE View Post
    The Rolly Polly is much like the GoLite Ion,
    but for less money.
    Huh?

    Rolly Poly- Total volume= 350 cu. in. Weight= 8 oz.

    Golite Ion- Total volume= 1500 cu.in. Weight= 9oz.

    Much like the Golite Ion? I don't think so.


    :D

  12. #12
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    ......................
    Last edited by Darcy; 05-28-2008 at 11:27 AM.
    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Author of 101 Financial Ratios 5.0
    Travel Lite & Smart

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM4HIRE View Post
    I'd like to see TB take a shoot at making a competitive bag to
    the Ion and Rolly Polly.
    I don't think Tom's design is shaping up to be much like the Ion or Rolly Polly (from what I've seen of sketches/prototypes) but he does plan on making an ultra-light Dyneema backpack of some kind specifically geared towards travel.

    Glad to see that there's so much support for one!
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    Hopefully with a place for a water bottle, and not just one deep pocket for the pack.

  15. #15
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    Darcy--It would be fantastic if it slotted into the Aeronaut and served a dual function as a packing cube. Any chance that Tom is interested in this approach? I imagine we must seem like a bunch of yipping puppies around your ankles on this forum sometimes.

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