Making a Backpack

Making a Backpack
Katmandu, Nepal Asia
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am making a backpack here in Katmandu, Nepal; there are many problems and many solutions. My goal is to have a solution to all the problems encountered when carrying a backpack for travel. I hope in my travels I have encountered the majority of problems, thereby being a person capable of incorporating into the design a solution to 90 percent of the problems.

I say 90 percent of the problems, because there is a 10 percent gap where one solution conflicts with another solution. For example, there is a constant desire to keep this small enough to be a carry-on bag, yet big enough to carry as many possessions as a person wants.

So do I make big and the person needs to check in the bag all the time or do I make small enough to be a check in bag. A bag that is carried on is safer than a bag that is checked, as it does not leave the possession of the person. However, when a person visit’s a country and does the normal tourist behavior of buying, probably the number activity of tourist, then where do they put these new souvenirs and wants.

How do I manage when a zipper breaks?
How do I manage if someone cuts the bag?
How do I manage if one of the harness straps breaks?
How do I manage if one of the clips breaks or is lost?

The list of problems with a bag is in many ways endless, therefore in my desire to make the perfect bag, I have made a list of all the possible problems with a bag. I continually add to this list.

I then try to design into the bag a solution.

I have a desire to sell this bag; I often think the name of the bag should be…

I have a continuous fight with the two men who are the owners of the factory. It is hard to say this is a factory; it is group of about 20 sewing machines inside an apartment building piled high with bags and pieces of materials.

The fight is because, they make bags to sell, what makes a good bag to sell, they do not make a good bag for me. They know what sells and the bag I am designing probably would not sell in the stores in Katmandu, Nepal. The nature of Katmandu is about maybe trekking and price, they often sell only price, then they sell straps. The more clips and adjustments the better, the more widgets, the more gadgets, the more pockets the better.

How do I make a bag easy and quick to open and close, yet difficult for robber to open and close, this is in may ways the goal. I am putting an extreme amount of features that often a person could think is not needed.

Maybe call this the…
- Mosquito Net Option -

People can say, I do not need a Mosquito Net.
However, on the one night when they need a Mosquito Net, they will spend the whole night kicking themselves saying.
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -

I now always carry a Mosquito Net, the one time I did not carry a Mosquito net while in Europe, I was thinking to Europe was very modern. I lived one week in Brugge, Belgium in total misery as I was bitten every night in a room for one week. I discovered, hmm, Europe is not as modern as the United States. There were no screens on the windows.

I know a good traveler will choose a room, a situation where many of these options are never needed, this is the goal. However, when a person makes a mistake, as I am 100 percent, sure they will, I want them to have a solution.

Teaching the solutions in this bag is the next obstacle, how do I teach a person how to use the bag. I think I must include a DVD Video explaining all the options. Then when the person leaves it at home, destroys it, or just never looks at the DVC, they still have the option of going to the internet and viewing the video.

There are so many possible scenarios to design this bag, this is why I am on number 10 or 11, they are starting to blend together, and the last time I was in Nepal, we made three prototypes. Every time we make a bag, there are more solutions that are incorporated into the bag.

I am going through a very time consuming procedure this time, we are only making one specific component per day. We will assemble the 8 major parts now at the end, each day is one component. Therefore, to make one bag will take about 10 days, including the weekend and days off etc., the prototype requires I take 10 days to supervise and wait for one piece to be made.

Each component part becomes a prototype or an example, each stands alone, and I can change or redesign up to day of final assembly. This is not how they make bags in Nepal, it is not this strict, yet in many ways, they have never made an original, and they only copy.

Making a Backpack

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