Design Story - Axial Mini Messenger

I’m not going to lie to you and say that living in San Francisco is difficult.  It’s not.  It’s fucking awesome.... well other than the insane rent prices.  At the same time, living here does come with it’s challenges.

While the weather here is amazing... unless you like seasons... it can get a bit ridiculous.  You can get on a bus for 10 minutes and go from sweltering heat to the arctic tundra, all while the thermostat reads 55º Fahrenheit.  Maybe I should have been a boy scout or maybe I just hate being cold, but I like to be prepared for the inevitable temperature changes we encounter here.  That means having an extra layer or two with you at all times.

Sadly, the inclination to be prepared is at odds with with my desire to carry as little as possible(ideally nothing) with me at all times.  It was from balancing these two needs that the original Conduit Slingpack was born, but that wasn’t enough.  I still wanted something smaller, lighter and less sweaty for my adventures.

Never is this need more present than when going to see a show.  Here in San Francisco, the fog rolls in around 5PM and the temperature drops about 20 degrees.  If you need to be at the venue at 7pm when doors open because you were a dumb ass who forgot to buy his ticket early, that means traversing the city in the worst of it.  Of course, for this trip you’ll wear a sweatshirt so you’re not cold as fuck.  

When you get in the show and grab a beer, you’re feeling great because the venue is empty.  Ten minutes into the first band, on the other hand, you realize that you’re that dick who’s sweating profusely AND making everyone around you uncomfortable because you’re still wearing that damn sweatshirt.  

Well at this point, you usually have two options continue wearing the sweatshirt... and hate yourself... or pay for the coat check.. and hate yourself.  For me, this is where the Axial Mini Messenger is ideal.  It’s small enough to not get in the way, a hell of alot less sweaty than the damn sweatshirt, and our waxed canvas feels way better on your neighbors skin than a typical abrasive, itchy messenger bag.  BOOM! Success.

The Design

From a design standpoint this little shithead was a pain in the ass. We knew we wanted to keep the same aggressive character as our other bags while including the perfect number of features.  Unfortunately, many of the shapes that made the most sense looked, well, like a purse.  The early alternatives looked like pancakes and as soon as they were filled became incredibly uncomfortable to carry.

The form we settled on, essentially a giant fanny pack (but don’t call him that, he’ll kick your ass), proved for be the best of both worlds.  Instead of making a giant brick, we took what we learned from our signature pockets to create something that is versatile, looks bad ass full or empty, and feels great across your back.

That brings us to another major design decision, the strap wings.  In our early concepts, we tried mounting the webbing straps in a few different ways, but we were never able to get the bag we wanted that didn’t choke you, looked good, and hugged your back. Insert the strap wings.  After a few tries, we came up with a symmetrical geometry that just fucking works.

The Materials

With the materials we wanted to stick with what we know... what makes us awesome.  The highest quality shit we can find.  Four the outer we used our 10.10 oz. Waxed Army Duck that’s buttery soft, extremely durable and develops a bad assed patina over time.  We sourced sourced the strongest seat belt webbing we could find and paired it with heavy-duty, American-made, Aluminum adjustable buckles.

Zippers have become a bit of an obsession here at Modern Industry.  We wanted to use water resistant coil zippers, but hated that shiny bullshit you see on most bags.  Instead, we sourced some beautiful matte YKK zippers that work like a fucking badass.  

With the liner we went in a slightly different direction that with our earlier products.  The 10.10 oz Duck we use in our Faraday tote was just too bulky and overwhelming at this scale.  Working with our friends over at Martexin, we found at tightly woven, durable 6.25 oz. cotton canvas that proved to be an ideal substitute.

Parting Words

I’ve been carrying a prototype of the Axial Mini Messenger for two weeks now and I have to say, I’m in love.  It’s gotten the the point where I’m kinda pissed when I have to carry anything bigger.

We think this bag would make a great everyday carry option for minimalists like me.  I love mine and I think you will too.

Later Days,

Patrick Healy - Co Founder, Modern Industry

October 08, 2013 by Tony Dihmes
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