In the past, when we have solicited feedback from our customers about what style of bag they would like to see from 3V Gear, the majority of responses revolve around a frame pack. We have had these requests for years.
It isn't that we didn't want to make a frame pack before, it really boils down to our lack of knowledge when it came to frame packs. We had never built one before and there is a lot more involved with a frame pack. We have spent a lot of time studying different styles of frames, using different packs, seeing what we liked and didn't and are excited to announce that we are now building a frame pack.
This is one of the concepts we have been working on. The frame itself is a semi-rigid piece of PE with an aluminum stay going down the spine of the sheet. It is a fairly simple design, strong, and light weight. Those were key features for us when designing the frame and bag. If the bag is too heavy, no one will want to carry it, but it needs to be strong enough and rigid enough to keep its shape under load. We are also working on another design that would incorporate two aluminum stays instead of one. This would make the pack even more rigid without adding much more weight.
The other major component that we are focused on is the hip belt. In its current design, this pack will be about 50 liters. Packed out, that puts a great deal of weight on your shoulders and hips. Having a solid hip belt takes a lot of that load off your shoulders. So we wanted to ensure that the hip belt would move with you as you walked and was extremely comfortable. The prototypes are encouraging and we think you will really like how comfortable it is to wear for extended periods of time.
Initially, we were going the way of a roll-top design but we are leaning away from that type of design and instead having a large opening with a zippered top. There are benefits to both designs. A roll-top design is great for a waterproof bag but this bag will not be waterproof. It will definitely be water resistant and we will probably include a rain cover. Another reason we are leaning away from the roll-top design is the way it is packed. If the bag is not full you end up having a lot of material flapping around as you can only roll to where the frame starts. You would constantly be cinching down the strap to keep it tight. The zippered top didn't add any extra material and shows you exactly how much space you have.
We know many of you love the Paratus and the modular design of that pack. While this pack will not come with any MOLLE pouches, we will have a ton of MOLLE attachment points on the two sides and front of the backpack. You will have more than enough space to add MOLLE pouches if desired.
We are thinking that the main pocket would be a large chute style pocket. Meaning there would be very little extra organization in that main pocket. When you separate pockets with additional pockets, you lose some of the capacity. As this backpack is designed for backpacking, camping, bugging out, etc., we wanted to make sure we maximized space without making the pack larger. There will be an internal pocket for a hydration reservoir (3L capacity) and there will be a mesh pocket on the front of the reservoir pocket. On the opposite side of the pocket we are thinking about having a few rows of elastic webbing. This way you can organize tools and know exactly where they are.
The front pocket will have more pockets for organization. As this is a large bag you will have tons of space for tools or items you want to access more often.
Speaking of inside the bag. One of the most recommended features we have received is to make the inside of the bag a light color so it is easy to find whatever you are looking for inside your bag. We are listening and are going with a light grey color. We are taking the lining a step further though and we are having the lining printed with a topographical map of the Wasatch Mountain Range which is our back yard. We are really excited about this and hope you like it too. If you have ever spent any time in the mountains around Salt Lake City you will understand how rugged and beautiful they are. We think this helps represent where we come from.
There are more features that we are working on, like a felt lined stash pocket on the top of the bag, multiple grab handles, multiple cinch straps for tightening your load, large external water bottle pockets, rain cover and rain cover pocket, MOLLE on the hip belt, lashing points on the bottom of the pack and more. Testing of the prototypes has been going well and we are excited to see what adventures you have with this backpack.
3V Gear Product Development Team
Interested in being part of the 3V Gear Product Development Team? Sign up today and we will keep you up to date with the products we are working on and solicit your feedback on the designs and concepts. This is an opportunity to have input on the features and specs that you would like to see in a bag or backpack.