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Do you feel that capitalism has failed the EDC bag market?

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by jcw122, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    Hi everyone,

    I can't help but asking myself every time I come onto EDCF...why the heck aren't there any bag makers out there that are smart enough to design and produce bags that could dominate the current market offerings? Am I the only one that feels there is a huge HOLE in the EDC bag market? Doesn't capitalism dictate that where there is an opportunity, someone should be taking it?

    Here's how I see it:
    -We have many great manufacturers already, but organization tends to be only poor to fair among all
    -The manufacturers with good organization (5.11, North Face) don't use overbuilt materials (Ex. 500D instead of 1000D)
    -There is a lack of overbuilt EDC bags that don't use PALS (making for a sleeker and simpler design)...Ex. Kifaru and TAD are very nice, but none of their offerings are PALS-less for a stealthier look
    -Too many products have military markets in mind, and seem to hope EDCers will adopt them anyway (Ex. Kifaru)


    I know that many other people here are very particular about their EDC setup (I sure am!), and I'm wondering if anyone else out there feels the same. I UNDERSTAND that we all have very different needs...but I figure that there are many similarities that are not being fulfilled by bag makers at the moment either. I also understand that many people don't care about being stealthy or not, and that's fine, I've just found that I rarely use my PALS, and I suspect that few others do either. I also understand that most companies don't see it as profitable to cater solely to the EDC market...but seriously the fact that this forum exists and is fairly large is a testament to the fact that there IS a market for well designed EDC bags!

    BTW, talk to any tactical sewer that has experience with military gear, and they will tell you Maxped is not a quality maker.

    /Rant

    -CharminULTRA
     
  2. Chocula

    Chocula Loaded Pockets

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    You see an opportunity to make money but want someone else to do the work.

    I don't think capitalism has failed here.
     
  3. ParTimeBourne

    ParTimeBourne Loaded Pockets

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    I don't know that many "tactical sewers".
     
  4. mossyoak

    mossyoak Loaded Pockets

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    Of course not, but then again why dont any of them make a bag competitive to a Falcon II for under $400?
     
  5. Viper715

    Viper715 Loaded Pockets

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    I don't think capitalism has failed edc. Even though this is a large community in a sense it is actually vey small in another. If you think about it only a percentage of the people on this board will buy any particular item. Capitalism goes where there is the most return on your money. If we weren't fighting 3 wars there would be less incentive to build military aimed items. But at the moment everyone is trying to get that next juicy government contract and that means meeting gov spec hence molle/pals. Also regarding use of cheaper less durable materials that's pretty simple at least from my point of view. I would love to be able to afford kifaru or other higher end manufacturers but I'm usually broke and have mouths to feed so it's 5.11 and Maxpedition for me. Also since you see a hole in the market why wouldn't YOU take advantage of it by using talent and producing this Grail item that everyone would buy or if not blessed with the ability put capital behind your idea and grab a piece of the American dream yourself.

    So if anything capitalism hasn't failed us we've failed capitalism and in more ways than one.
     
  6. stormtracker

    stormtracker Loaded Pockets

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    As a gear designer and maker I think I can give some insight.

    There is as you say a market for nice EDC bags. Not though I feel at the price points of other competitors. It isnt worth someones time. The market is already matured rather you're aware or not.

    Example: My looter bag - $39 about $6.00 in material and 2.5 hours. 33 divided by 2.5 pays me about $13 an hour. I pay myself $13 an hour but my business in no way profits. Its a losing business model.

    Competitors like product: for $39 about $3 in material ( import ) + labor of maybe $2 profit is $34, That is a profit of $34! WOW!

    When I say the market has matured, I mean to say that the players in the game have been around long enough and invested money or brought aboard investors and moved their manufacturing and materials sourcing overseas.

    Small guys like me cant really compete. Companies that are in the game that do compete ie. Kifaru, HSGear, Tac tailor, Arent as profitable as overseas companies but they are in the game. They are paying US wages, disability, healthcare, unemployment insurance, liability insurance et al. They have invested money in machines that cost in excess of 40 - 50k so they can mechanize moreso their means of production. Webbing cutters for instance dial in 5" tell it to cut 500 pieces. Go do something else. It makes short work of tedious tasks. Time is money.

    As a gear maker I have to softly engineer a product. If I built every wiz bang idea into a bag I can think of I would have to sell it at $300 - $500. I have built a dozen of these bags and couldnt sell them and whored them out @ $195, although I had 18 hours of careful labor in them. So we dumb down products to make them competitive.

    When you say that gear manufacturers dont cater specifically to the EDC market, I do. What I have found though is people really like to pay small change for their gear, they either don't care if its made in a sweatshop in China or Vietnam or cant afford $300. How the hell can I compete with that?

    Well I am somewhat. Im thankful for my customers here on EDCforums and elsewhere but again I am only paying myself labor of $10 - $13 an hour to survive this recession/depression. My business isnt profitable. I keep the doors open so I can feed my family. But unfortunately I'm not making extra money so I can hire employees so I can do more marketing and RD and grow.

    Your post gives me mixed feelings. Im living it. And you see it differently than what my reality is.

    Hopefully my post will give you some insight of what its like on the other side of the fence. I want to make you killer EDC bags but you wont pay me $300 - $500 for them, so instead I make you EDC bags that are at a price point under $80 - $100.
     
  7. Dr Jekell
    • Administrator
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Dr Jekell I had fun once, It was awful.
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    Here is a hint,

    They are designed FOR the military. so they have features that Military users require/need/want.

    They are brought & used by people who EDC because of some of the defining features of military gear is that is overbuilt & designed to be hard wearing & able to take abuse amongst other features.
     
  8. mossyoak

    mossyoak Loaded Pockets

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    Hit it right on the head.
     
  9. hest

    hest Loaded Pockets

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    Small markets for labor-intensive products mean high retail prices, end of story. So in a sense, capitalism doesn't fail you, you're the one that's failing capitalism: shell out $250 and you get your great bag (and sleep well at night because you paid honest money for some hours of honest manual labor in your home country). Pay $20 and you get the least common denominator, an overpriced average-quality thing produced under terrible work conditions somewhere in a sweatshop in Asia. People today want too much: great craftsmanship because the pouch for your tactical pen should withstand a nuclear attack, but at a dirt-cheap price, because maybe in a year from now you'd prefer desert tan over black because you changed shoes. I still own a leather briefcase that my great-grandfather made with his own hands 80 years ago. At the time it was an expensive piece, and it's worn now, but it's beautiful still today. Buy less stuff, save the money for a few good pieces, and maybe capitalism will start working out again for you.

    @Stormtracker: there's principle that's almost always true for entpreneurs, and it's called "King of the Hill". You're competing with Maxpedition, and that's not making you the king of the hill, because even though I'd prefer your product over theirs, they're the top sellers, and there's no way you can deliver their numbers at their price, as you said. As a consequence, pleeeez consider making elegant EDC bags in fine leather so that I can stop walking around paranoid that someone might see my "tactical" "spec-ops" "super-merc" EDC pouch in the office. That would make you then King of the Hill of elegant EDC bags, and you can expand from there.
     
  10. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    I have exactly what I want in a bag.

    - enough pockets, plus one huge one (40L of capacity)
    - 1000D Cordura, double-stitched seams & heavy duty waterproofing
    - no PALS
    - non-military, civilian design
    - made in USA

    So in my opinion, no, capitalism has not failed me.

    I sometimes wonder, though, why people here are so adamant about having extremely heavy wear products. Are EDCers more likely to destroy a bag than anyone else?

    There are a lot of really good (and durable) products out of the outdoors industry (Arc'Teryx, Granite Gear, GoLite, Mountan Hard Wear) that are made out of much lighter 210D Cordura that would probably suit people very well if not for the seemingly necessary tacticool look. In the outdoors business, having multiple pockets and lots of organizational options is extremely important, as is reliability: a pack must last several days/weeks/months away from civilization.

    Additionally, messenger bags come from a service industry where extreme durability, high capacity, and waterproofing is expected. Messengers really (ab)use their gear and messenger bag makers rise to the challenge. Examples of excellent manufacturers in this area include Chrome, Mission Workshop, Bailey Works, Manhattan Portage, R.E.Load, Pac Designs, Seagull Bags. Additionally, many of these products are made in the USA.
     
  11. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    I think it's an example of artificial requirements, just like heavy, thick tactical knives.

    I don't see many people posting how their bag failed because the material wasn't abrasion resistant enough. More often it's poor stitching or failing zippers.

    As a kid, I carried heavy loads of books every day. They got stuffed in lockers, dragged on the floor, and thrown around. Even so, these cheap backpacks easily lasted several years with zero special care. I don't see how an adult, carrying considerably less, is going to trash a normal bag.

    Plus there are bags made out of traditional materials, such as cotton canvas and leather, from good manufacturers like Filson, Belstaff, Duluth Pack, etc. lasting decades. I just don't see why choosing 1000d nylon compared to 500d nylon being a really important factor.
     
  12. neutrontech
    • In Omnia Paratus

    neutrontech Loaded Pockets

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    I bought a Jumbo knock off from UTG for $20. Other than being a tad short on space, it has suited me perfectly. I won't say I've been brutal to it, but I have been rough with it. I've over stuffed it, wore it while walking through dense pine woods, carried in the rain & snow, tossed it in the trunk along with a bunch of other stuff that could damage it, etc. It has held up fantastic and shows no signs of weak failure, as of yet. The PALS is important to me because it allows me to dynamically increase my storage space with the addition of pouches, or to reduce the overall size by removing non crucial pouches. I really have to say that this has been the best EDC bag I have ever carried, and the fact that I do carry it everyday speaks to that. I previously used backpacks or messenger bags, and they always ended up being left at home after a couple weeks. I don't carry it with me in stores, or the like. It goes in the office with me, and in the house at home. If I will be away from my vehicle, such as at a fair, parade, hike, etc., I do carry it with me. Basically if I will not be able to be at my vehicle in a matter of a few minutes, I bring it with me.

    I also just finished a divorce and am currently staying with my parents while I get my life back on track. So, I have become dependent on my bag as a place to store my gear, electronics, and other important/valuable possessions. I have custody of my children and carry wet wipes, bug spray, anti-itch spray, FAK, snacks, etc to serve me in my role as their father. I own a computer repair shop and carry tools, flash drives, external hard drive, etc. to serve me in my job as well.

    I guess my point is that the bag I use serves me very well. In fact, I can't imagine how the Maxpedition Jumbo could serve me any better. The points you have stated as a negative (ie. PALS), I find as positive and even a necessity. The fact that I was able to find such a bag, at such a great price, shows me that capitalism is alive and well in the EDC bag market. I realize that there are various niche markets, within EDC, but there are options available if you look hard enough. The more popular a niche is, the easier it will be to find. Likewise, the smaller niche markets will be more difficult to find at a reasonable price. I think that's where your problem lies. The tactical edc bag market is considerably larger than the civilian non-tactical market. However, the civilian market is also covered extremely well by various luggage and backpack manufacturers.

    Perhaps I have rambled on a bit much and drifted off topic, but... there it is from my point of view.
     
  13. calebklyne

    calebklyne Loaded Pockets

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    you might want to take a look at the esee junglas laserna pack as it is a bit more discrete than most packs
     
  14. legoman0721

    legoman0721 Loaded Pockets

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    I think neutrontech makes a very important point. Any one person's holy grail bag is not going to be another person's perfect setup. There is no perfect bag that can appeal to everybody, just because people have different preferences. Capitalism is alive and well, and we see that in the great variety of bags that are available and the fact that we keep buying them. That's really what it's all about. Capitalism is working perfectly because the big time manufacturers are still making money. They're putting out products that suit our needs, and we keep paying for those products.
     
  15. medic2807

    medic2807 Loaded Pockets

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    I don't think capitalism has failed the manufacturers. Take Maxpedition, for example. They have fantastically designed bags that are ALMOST perfect but missing some specific pouch or doodad. So you buy one that does have that specific requirement and the first one. And another one. And another one. Pretty soon you have $3000 worth of tactical nylon in 20 different bags, have to build an addition onto your house, and still don't have what you want. If you would have bought something custom-made, you would. Hell of a business model, actually.
     
  16. ehrawn

    ehrawn Empty Pockets

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    Not necessarily. There not only has to be a hole, but enough of a market for it to be worth someone's effort. Unless there are millions of folks wanting the same thing as you, no manufacturer is going to put out a product that meets those specs. If you aren't willing to compromise a little bit in what you are asking for, you're probably going to have to compromise in what you are willing to pay for someone to custom fabricate your gear.
     
  17. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    This. My god, this. I get blue in the face explaining to people how 500D is about 80% of the abrasion-resistance, at essentially half the weight. Mayflower, one of the top-tier tactical nylon manufacturers, has switched to 500D as a general rule. Why? Because except for a few specific appliations (breaching gear or cycling jackets are good examples), it isn't really necessary.

    9 out of 10 times, what fails on your gear is the stitching. The other 1 out of 10, it's probably a zipper or velcro. Additionally, many instances of the nylon itself being abraded through are due to borderline abuse.

    My favorite example of this is the selection of a bag/pouch too small for its contents, so that a sharp corner of a gun, laptop, or whatever visibly juts out and eventually wears through the material. When it comes to nylon gear, bartacks and good stitching > an extra 500D.

    Finally, I would say that EDC fanatics are, in one important way, the folks who need 1000D gear the least; how many of your bags wore out -before- you purchased the new, latest-and-greatest Maxped/EMDOM/Tactical Tailor OMGWTFBBQ bag ? :D
     
  18. McDaddy

    McDaddy Empty Pockets

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    Question. Being kinda new, I just Googled "Mayflower" and it said, "this site may harm your computer". What's up with their site?
     
  19. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for all of the thoughts everyone. Definitely LOTS of informative, and eye-opening information.

    Especially a thanks to Stormtracker for reminding me about the costs that go into this kind of gear. I'll add that I never said I wouldn't be willing to pay $300-500 for a killer EDC bag. TAD makes expensive stuff like that, but I don't consider them to be killer EDC bags.
     
  20. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Good question. I get the same advisory. If you read the threat report linked at the warning page, looks like you could catch a trojan from it, but it also looks like they have ruled that Mayflower is not deliberately trying to screw with you. Their page is probably an unwitting host. How strange!