V2 Elephantitus: Abuser Team Updates

Previously I showed the major differences between our V1 Elephantitus, and the V2.  Since developing this V2 shape we have put it on the backs of numerous Abuser Team members.  Their feedback has been invaluable, and has helped us iron out any kinks and generally develop a much more streamlined product aesthetically, functionally, and in its ease of manufacture.

What the heck are we talking about?  Lets check it out.

First of all, lets talk about the major changes which affect both comfort and aesthetics.  Namely, the shoulder pads.

One reoccurring piece of feedback related to the shoulder strap padding.  Previously we manufactured the padding using a "pillow slip" method.  This caused the outer layers of fabric to be loose and not physically attached to the padding.  While okay, this "pillow slip" happened to be larger than the padding itself.  This in turn caused the pad to rub against the neck.

Abuser Team members commented about this issue, particularly as it rubs on a soft part of your neck.  We here at BOgear knew we couldn't adjust the size of the padding as making it any smaller/narrower would cause the straps to be too narrow, and dig in to peoples shoulders.  We realised it wasn't the pad that was the issue, but rather the padding case.  So we set about investigating a new manufacturing method.

One specialised machine later (and we will be doing a piece about our workshop in the near future, so look out for the big benchtop machine!) and we had a dedicated binder.  All this machine does is bind.  Binding is the attaching of "tape" around a raw edge of fabric to both protect it, and strengthen the edge/seam.  It was a massive investment given all it does is one simple task, yet the payoff is phenomenal.

Our straps are now fully bound around the outside edge.

How does this fix the issue?  Well we couldn't adjust the foam size, which gives the padding needed, so instead we modified the "pillow slip" manufacturing method.  Now, the top and bottom pieces of fabric are directly stitched to the padding.  This not only ensures a firm grip, but also means that the overall strap itself is only as wide as the padding!  From here, using our fandangled new binding machine we bound the outside edges of the pad.

Problem solved!  Not only is the strap thinner without losing padding dimension, it doesn't cut into your neck, but also looks 10x more polished.

While looking at the pictured second shoulder strap you will note that the way to adjust/tighten the strap is to pull upwards.

That was the old method.  Courtesy of feedback from Gypsy, we have modified the second shoulder strap to now be adjusted by pulling downwards.  Not only is it a more natural motion (and a hell of a lot easier to do) but it also means that the end of the webbing doesn't dangle in front of your face!

The angle of the main shoulder straps as they are sewn into the bag have also been modified.  They are now angled more upright, which means when worn the bag sits more horizontal.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this to show, but rest assured it means the bag is more comfortable, in particular for smaller framed people.

The anti-sway strap has also been slightly modified.  This strap comes from underneath the bag to meet the main strap, creating an "X" shape across your body.  It is designed to stop the bag swaying from side to side, and does a remarkable job of doing so.  The problem though is as the bag is quite big, needs a long length in order to reach from under the bag to the main strap.  Not an issue when done up, but becomes an issue when undone.  It is so long it almost touches the ground.  This in itself is a serious safety issue as it can quite easily get wrapped in wheels or other objects when riding past.

We investigated reversing the clip, which is similar in idea to the second shoulder strap.  In essence this would mean the buckle would now be at the base of the bag.  This idea was quickly rejected due to being easily damaged.

Our solution?  Anti-dangle strap style buckles.

It might be a little confusing with all the straps in the picture, but the anti-sway strap we are talking about is the one in the middle of the picture.  It is the strap that runs from underneath the bag, and joins the main, larger strap.

What is an anti-dangle style strap?  Essentially rather than leaving the end of a piece of webbing to hang, we wrapped it around a series of loops, which runs over itself.  Our explanation is seriously lacking, but it means that the webbing is turned back on itself.  If the webbing dangles too low, tighten the buckle.  Ta-da!... anti-dangle!

Working our way down the main shoulder strap, lets take a look at the end of the webbing.  Again, Abuser Team members mentioned that the webbing dangled, sometimes dangerously so.  Previously we finished the webbing with a giant D-ring, but this in itself can be easily caught.  Solution?  Change the D-ring to a Tri-glide.  Excess webbing can now be doubled back over itself and shortened.  It also means that there is something quite substantial to grab hold of when tightening your main strap!

A couple of skinnier Abuser Team members mentioned that no matter how hard they tried they could not do the bag up tight enough.  The problem was a small d-ring at the bottom of the main strap.  Once the main buckle reached this point, it could no longer tighten.  We removed this d-ring, and ran the webbing it was attached to along the main strap.  What this means is the main strap can now be tightened past the d-ring spot previously, and even so far that it begins to take up some of the compression strap webbing.

If you have a look at the above image it should make a little more sense.  The buckle on the left hand side is used to compress the bag at the hip.  The webbing that tightens this buckle is attached to the main (bigger) strap.  Where it attaches to the main strap used to be a d-ring.  This d-ring is now removed, and the webbing runs all the way up into the main strap adjustment buckle.  Because of this the main strap buckle can tighten all the way past the spot where the old d-ring was, and even on through to tighten the hip compression strap as well.  What does it mean?  If you are skinny, the bag will still fit!

Two other changes have occurred to the V2, both in the front pocket.

Previously we stitched in 6 pen pockets, which even the most ardent novelist probably wouldn't use.  So, we removed one of the pen pocket sets (3 individual pen pockets) and turned it into a small notebook/phone holder.  This is shown below on the right.

Under the main pocket flap, we also added a D-ring/key clip holder.  Rather than leaving your keys in the deep pocket and having to rummage through to find them, we incorporated the key clip into existing webbing.  It results in again, a cleaner finish, but something also highly functional!

Another suggestion which will be offered as an add-on is a "briefcase" style carry handle.  This will make carrying the bag short distances much easier!

And so there we have the most pressing of changes!  These are all changes that have been suggested by our Abuser Team.  Interested in joining?  Check out the details, and drop us a line!  We have a backpack line about to be released, and although the Abuser Team list is full for this product, we will be releasing a few more products in the near future!  So sign up, and stay tuned!

It should be noted that wherever possible, the modifications to the Elephantitus V2 have also been transferred to other bags.  For instance our Sindrome now features the same bound shoulder strap padding!

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