ALPAKA 7ven Bag: for Everyday Carry

ALPAKA 7ven Bag: for Everyday Carry

In the last post I talked about what minimalism means to us (ALPAKA) and how this inspired the design of the bag. As promised, I’m discussing the features of the bag and why it is a bag suited for both work AND play.

Adapts to carry all of your gear

  • Padded Laptop Sleeve: It comes with a padded laptop sleeve set in the back of the bag in order to keep your laptop safe and secure from theft. It will also protect it in the case that you happen to drop your bag, since the sleeve, the back and the bottom of the bag are padded.
  • Easily carry your tripod: If you're a photographer, you'll be able to carry your tripod with ease. The bag is expandable and contains magnetic couplings that allow you to easily store gear by just unhooking the couplings. You can even carry your yoga mat.
Carry your tripod

Carry your tripod

Smart, easy to access layout

  • Quick access front compartment: There is a front compartment for you to quickly access your frequently used gear.
  • Hidden back compartment: There's a hidden compartment on the back of bag where you can store all your valuables (wallet, phone, keys, etc.) and it even has space for your tablet.
  • Plenty of pockets: We know how important it is to have pockets to store all of your gear. You have charging cables, headphones, portable chargers, pens, etc. That's why there is a dedicated compartment to keep all of your tech gear neatly organized.

Loves to fly

  • Attaches to your luggage: Integrated luggage sleeve for easy transport along airports.
  • Carry-on approved: It's approved for carry-on by all major airlines and it fits comfortably under airplane seats.
Concealed luggage passthrough in the back

Concealed luggage passthrough in the back

 

Premium Materials

  • High quality weatherproof material: Weatherproof 1200D ballistic nylon not only protects your gear from getting wet, it also gives the bag an elegant, minimalist feel.
  • Rip-stop lining: The inside of the bag comes with durable, high end rip-stop lining. It looks great and will last a lifetime.
  • Strap: We opted to use a wide thick strap for comfort and durability when using the bag. It has an integrated quick access pocket for your keys, USB or SD card and it also comes equipped with a removable shoulder padding for extra comfort.

Innovative Closure System

  • Magnetic coupling system: The bag is fitted with quick release magnetic fasteners that are very easy to use and also allow the bag to be expanded when carrying extra gear.

What makes it a bag for work and play?

So what makes a bag suitable for work but also casual enough to take anywhere else?

The 7ven bag was designed with an elegant look for work but can also adapt to any casual situation. Here's why it works in both scenarios:

Carry style

The bag can be worn as a messenger bag, a shoulder bag or if you're going into an important meeting: a carry bag, briefcase style.

Minimalist design

The black minimalist design of the bag is one of the main reasons why it can be used in a work environment and also in a more relaxed occasion.

Compartments

The bag is packed with several compartments that can store all of your tech gear, including a padded laptop sleeve. 15 pockets that can be used to neatly organize all of your gear and a dedicated compartment to store cables and chargers.

Materials

The materials used for the bag give it an air of high quality:

  • The outer part of the bag is made out of weatherproof 1200D ballistic nylon. It makes the bag look stylish. It is also a very tough and durable material but it is very easy to clean.
  • The inner lining is comprised of light high-end ripstop nylon. The light grey colour makes your belongings very easy to find.
  • The carry handle and bottom corners of the bag are made of high-end french leather, which give the 7ven bag an extra touch of class.

Space

The bag is a mix of a messenger and a duffle bag and has a triangular shape that allows the bag to stand on its own without tipping over. This shape also gives the bag plenty of space to store your clothes, documents and your laptop without making it look bulky.

Clean profile

Clean profile

 

Launch

We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in August this year. As we get closer to the launch will be releasing more specific details. Sign up to the newsletter to learn more.

Prototyping and Testing on the Road

Prototyping and Testing on the Road

After 10 prototypes and numerous urban environment testing of the ALPAKA bag, we thought we decided to test the bag on the road for an extended period of time, and see how it holds up to the abuse. 

Ready to Travel to Thailand with a ALPAKA 7ven prototype.

Ready to Travel to Thailand with a ALPAKA 7ven prototype.

Ramiro in Philippines with the ALPAKA 7ven bag. 

Ramiro in Philippines with the ALPAKA 7ven bag. 

Ramiro in Kuala Lumpur looking at the Petronas Twin Towers with the ALPAKA bag.

Ramiro in Kuala Lumpur looking at the Petronas Twin Towers with the ALPAKA bag.

Ramiro in Cambodia walking through the ruin. 

Ramiro in Cambodia walking through the ruin. 

Ramiro in Middle East with the ALPAKA 7ven bag. 

Ramiro in Middle East with the ALPAKA 7ven bag. 

ALPAKA 7ven bag on a boat ride somewhere in South-east Asia.

ALPAKA 7ven bag on a boat ride somewhere in South-east Asia.

Testing the load capacity of ALPAKA 7ven bag with 12, 15 and 17 inches ThinkPad Workstation machines. 

Testing the load capacity of ALPAKA 7ven bag with 12, 15 and 17 inches ThinkPad Workstation machines. 

Ready to travel back to Melbourne from Shanghai with an improved ALPAKA 7ven prototype.

Ready to travel back to Melbourne from Shanghai with an improved ALPAKA 7ven prototype.

After the extended travel between me and Ramiro, we found that the ALPAKA 7ven bag held up beautifully to the abuse we put it through, and validated most of the design elements that we put into the bag. However, while the quality and craftsmanship of the bag was great, we found a few issues with the bag that we wanted to improve on. Namely, the lack of luggage case handle passthrough port, and the lack of convenient accessible storage pocket for keys/loose change. We promptly fixed these design oversights before i travelled back to Melbourne with my final prototype. 

ALPAKA 7ven: Bag for the Minimalist

ALPAKA 7ven: Bag for the Minimalist

7ven for simplicity

7ven for simplicity

Ethos

The design ethos for ALPAKA was to simplify the complexity of the world through the products we design and make. This brand ethos is reflected in the first carry product we designed, a bag called the ALPAKA 7ven.

Simplicity

As part of the need for simplicity, we embraced the idea of minimalism. For me, minimalism means the following:

Reducing wastage (thus reducing environmental footprint).

Increasing efficiency (you are better at organising your life when you have less stuff to organise).

Increasing happiness (because you are not focusing on hoarding stuff).

Have more time (time is the most precious thing you have).

7ven for leisure

7ven for leisure

About Design

When we designed the bag, we wanted to reflect the ethos of minimalism in the final product design. So this is how we approached the design requirements as set forth by the idea of minimalism:

Reducing wastage -> by increasing quality and longevity of the bag through the use of high quality materials.

Increasing efficiency -> ALPAKA 7ven bag is designed to be the only bag you need for the whole week. So no more wasting time in the morning deciding which bag to use for what occasion and for what clothes you wear. Also, we have implemented several features to improve the use of the bag.

7ven for travel

7ven for travel

7ven for adventure

7ven for adventure

Increasing happiness -> We tried to increase happiness by giving you a high quality product, allow you to ‘declutter’, and make you look great regardless of the clothes you wear and the occasion that you happen to be in.

Have more time -> Most people understand the value of time, yet so many people waste it. When you use the 7ven bag you are saving time by choosing your everyday bag instead of deciding which bag or bags to take with you.

7ven for business

Everyday Use

The minimalist design of the bag also lends itself to be used in different situations.

Most bags focus on either aesthetics or functionality. Our goal was to combine the two in order to make it a bag that is meant to be used every day of the week.

As Steve Jobs famously said: "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

The ALPAKA 7ven bag is about the perfect marriage of form and function in one carry product.

ALPAKA 7ven: The 7 day bag

ALPAKA 7ven: The 7 day bag

How it all started

It took us nearly two and half years to get to this point, and it was a tough journey. We originally envisioned the first ALPAKA bag as a modular backpack with swiss army knife like versatility, but after many failed attempts in finding the right designer(s) and factory that could manufacture our concept, we nearly canned the project. Luckily, after travelling extensively over the last 12 months, and visiting many bag factories, we decided to switch direction on the bag design. So instead of continuing with prototyping the original modular backpack design (aka The Homer), we decided to pursue a minimalist messenger bag design.

When we first commissioned the design for the ‘new’ messenger bag, our idea for the bag was quite straight forward. The bag should be simple and suitable for all seven days of the week. A bag formal enough that you could take to work, but also cool enough to use on the weekend or any other occasion.

ALPAKA 7ven as a shoulder bag

ALPAKA 7ven as a shoulder bag

Once we decided to go minimalistic with the bag design, it was a much easier design process; also, working with a factory that understood our needs helped us streamline the development of the bag. So rather than taking years to design and then prototype (like the first backpack design), it only took us a few months to move from design to the first prototype. The quick prototyping also allowed us time to solicit feedback from our friends and families for the first bags. Thanks to feedback we received, we were then able to make small incremental changes in our prototype bags to get to a stage that we felt comfortable about the bag’s overall quality and design.

ALPAKA 7ven as a travel carry on bag

ALPAKA 7ven as a travel carry on bag

What’s in a name?

So why did call the bag, 7ven? We named the bag, 7ven, because that is what we want the bag to be; a bag that is useful for all seven days of the week. A bag that you can take to work during the week and to your weekend adventure away in some exciting places.

ALPAKA 7ven as a weekend travel bag

ALPAKA 7ven as a weekend travel bag

Special design features

In order to make the bag suitable for all seven days of the week, we had to make sure the exterior design and the fabric choice do not conflict with the end usage cases:

  • The bag has to be designed in such as a way that you can carry it like a briefcase, and won’t look out of place when you are wearing a suit.
  • But at the same time it can be a bag that you can take on your weekend getaway, and be able to carry your gear in the bag.
  • Bonus points if you can carry some camera gear with the bag.
ALPAKA 7ven bag with camera tripod attached

ALPAKA 7ven bag with camera tripod attached

After testing various fabric options available on the market, from some common to some really exotic materials, we decided to use a special black ballistic nylon fabric for the exterior of the bag. So we decided to use this fabric because:

  • It looked and felt high class (Quality)
  • Very tough and abrasion resistant (Longevity)
  • Fitted well with the minimalist design of the bag (Design)

We could have used any other fabric that costed half as much, but we couldn’t have gotten the same result.

ALPAKA 7ven as a work bag

ALPAKA 7ven as a work bag

For the inside of the bag, we chose the most expensive ripstop nylon fabric on the market, as we wanted something that was tough, but at the same time looks a cut above the rest.

Leather detailing on the ALPAKA 7ven bag

Leather detailing on the ALPAKA 7ven bag

To further enhance the ALPAKA 7ven bag’s end user experience and give it a touch of class: we wrapped the carry strap and the corner of the bag with high-quality premium leather.

Where we are now

After spending a considerable amount of designing, prototyping and re-prototyping (many times), we are quite confident in our design, and as such we are doing testing of the bag by allowing our friends and families to try it out. But also we are travelling with our bags to see whether it is suitable for the kind of use that we envision it for. We are also preparing to launch it on KickStarter in late May or early June 2016, so that we can bring this project to life, and allow other people to share this amazing journey of design and creation.