December 1, 2015
I’m headed to China next week to meet with the welding factory that’s working on our new Reckless 80 drybags. The factory is located in Eastern China, near the coast, just across the water from Taiwan. I haven’t been to this part of China before, so that’s kind of cool. After that I’m meeting with our sewing factory in Vietnam for a couple days, then back to the gorge.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘welding’ as it applies to bags, this means radio frequency (RF) welding, where two ‘weldable’ fabrics – generally PVC or PU – are joined through a combination of heat and pressure. This results in a completely water and airtight seal, like on a zodiac raft, or a thermarest. This is contrasted to sewn seams, where the sewing needle leaves a trail of small holes in the material.
Working with this new welding factory, we realized that there’s an opportunity to create an assortment of Mosko Moto drybags, possibly even in time for the 2016 riding season depending on how this visit goes. I’m using the term ‘drybags’ here to refer to the large variety of single-layer, welded seam bags that you see most commonly in kayaking/canoeing, but which many companies have adapted to motorsports. Here are a few examples:
Roll Top Duffle Style
Kayak Deck Bag Style
Simple Drybag Style
This is a crowded category. Almost every single moto luggage company offers a drybag assortment, and most are good quality, although the feature differences between them are pretty small. They’re mostly either roll-top duffles or simple drybags, with tie-downs and/or pass-throughs to connect to the bike, and a handle or shoulder strap for off-bike carry. Adding features with welding is a little more complicated and expensive than it is with sewing, and everyone who makes welded bags faces about the same material/production costs. As a result, lots of welded drybags end up looking similar.
Our pricing model can support a higher FOB cost (ie factory cost, as explained in our post on pricing from a few weeks back) so hopefully we’ll have the flexibility to create a differentiated and/or more interesting product than what’s already out there. We don’t totally understand the economics of welded bags yet (for example, molding costs) which is part of the purpose of this trip. I’d like to arrive at the factory with a whole bunch of ideas, and then we can see what can realistically be accomplished in the time we have. If necessary I can stay in Asia through the holidays to work on this.
For inspiration, we’re looking to kayak/canoe drybags and backpacking drybags. Here’s a few bags that caught our eye:
- Cool deck bag. Like the clear map pocket, bottle holder, and compression features. This company, Watershed, makes some really cool bags.
- Like the big external mesh pocket for wet/dry stuff.
- Like the pole holder on this one, for tent poles, or camp chair.
- A beavertail.
- Another cool beavertail. This one also has a way to separate the main compartment into two.
- Lots of mesh external storage & bottle holsters on the side.
- MOLLE webbing
- Stretchy front pocket for wet/dry stuff, and the dual bottle holders
We’d love your opinion. If we can do something cool for the 2016 riding season, it will happen in the next few weeks, so this is our development window right now. Please post any ideas on the Mosko advrider thread (as opposed to the blog/facebook) so we can keep them in a central location. Here’s the link: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/mosko-moto-soft-bags-for-offroad-dualsport.927215/page-187
A couple things to think about
- What features would you like to see in a moto drybag?
- What’s your favorite drybag to use for moto (even if it was designed for a different sport) and why?
Thanks for the color feedback on advrider last week. We tallied the responses below. Orange was the clear winner. Camo, sand/tan, and pink unicorn were all new suggestions.