THE SHORT VERSION
If you've been following us on Instagram, you're probably well aware that we have been working on a backpack as a collaboration along with Alpha One Niner.
This collaboration is the Spare Camel 2.0. It is everything that we always wanted to do but couldn't. Included are little subtle features which throwback to BOGEARs history, and tells a little story about our past. It is BOGEAR through and through, but with some very very refined features from Alpha One Niner.
Depending on where you are in the world, Spare Camel 2.0 is available from multiple places.
THE LONG VERSION
So as you are all aware, 2017 we closed our doors. We were best known for Australian Made and for Custom. Unfortunately these are two very very expensive things to manage and pretty much unviable for us to continue.
Five years have passed, and since that time a lot of people have asked how they can get their hands on a piece of BOGEAR. Truth is since this time the only place has been Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, or even Craigslist for those overseas.
This project has been in the making for a little while. We were approached by Alpha One Niner to do a collaboration piece to bring back to life the Spare Camel pack and to put in some features that we couldn't do in the day with Australian Made, or didn't want to do as we couldn't do it justice.
Sometimes it is better not to do something than to do something half assed.
Alpha One Niner brought to the table some pretty damn fantastic features.
Spare Camel 2.0 is not made in Australia.
It is not custom.
It allows those who missed out to get their hands on a piece of BOGEAR combined with Alpha One Niner's pretty damn awesome features.
Lets start with the obvious. This pack is the same shape as the original Spare Camel or pretty damn close. Eagle eyes may notice slight differences...
Volume is 30L overall.
Height of 520mm
Width of 320mm
Depth of 195mm
There is a dedicated section for laptops and electronics, which is 7.5L of volume. This means that the main section is 22.5L
Weight is 1.77kg
Starting with the outside, as you can see it is the Spare Camel shape & form. Material on the outside is Xpac X50 Tactical.
X50 Tactical is a laminate; 500D Cordura outer, laminated to an X-weave Aramid fibre. This Aramid fibre creates a tear resistant and stretch resistant laminate, which is already highly abrasion resistant yet remarkably light weight due to the Cordura face fabric.
This laminate is backed by a 0.5 mil shiny polyester film on the inside. Note, while the fabric is waterproof, the pack itself is not due to the construction method as stitch holes are still used (as opposed to welding or seam sealing).
WHY XPAC FABRIC?
X50 Tactical is a bit of a throwback to our early days.
In 2008 when BOGEAR first started I used to work for Mountain Designs Australia. During this time I managed to get my hands on a pile of roll ends of Xpac material. This was the 1000 denier version and was very very curly. It retained memory from being on the roll, and was a big pain for the machinists to sew.
Although we had a lot of this material on hand, we didn't sew that many bags. A very limited amount are out there, and keen fans may have seen this in a burnt orange Xpac exterior, a black exterior, and a UCP camo exterior. We also had a suuuper small amount of navy blue in a lighter weight 200-ish denier, which is currently used in my personal laptop sleeve.
This material is a blast from the past, a nod to our history if you will.
The next thing you may notice is there is no webbing on the front of the pack. BOGEAR's signature clipping webbing is notably absent. Instead a laser cut laminate is used.
This laminate is Squadron B52 by Brookwoods. This laminate is a 500D Cordura, laminated to another piece of 500D Cordura.
This has been laser cut with holes. You can still use this very functionally with PALS pouches, attaching them to the outside.
WHY LASER CUT?
This idea was brought to the table by Alpha One Niner, and it is almost as if they read our mind. They didn't know this about our history but back in the day we had a laser cutter on the way.
The idea with this laser cutter was it would speed up the process of manufacture as we didn't have to do it by hand. It would have cut very very accurately; the edges would be seared to stop fray (and in certain applications reduce the need for edge binding tape). Unfortunately there are a lot of "would haves" in this story as the laser cutter never arrived.
We always wanted to experiment with laser cut holes and laser cut designs. Jesse's bag had a beautiful laser cut pattern on the outside, which was about as far as we did experiment with.
We did have access to a small laser cutter via Fused Goods as they stored their machine at our manufacturing premises. This meant we could experiment, but for production it wasn't big enough and so only ever got used in sampling.
When Alpha One Niner came up with the idea and asked us what we thought, it was almost as if they read our mind. We didn't know we wanted it, yet it was everything we wanted to try back in the day. Again this is a throwback to what we wanted to do but never could.
FRONT PANEL FEATURES
Above the laser cut front panel is a small pocket, standard on our original Spare Camel. On front of this is a loop patch. Underneath the laser cut panel is a full length pocket from the bottom of the bag to the top of the bag.
On the side we have dual side compression. This can be completely removed if you like. Personally I don't like to have the laptop section compressed, whereas our lead tester does. Alpha One Niner suggested to make this removable and adjustable.
Because of this you can remove the compression from the back laptop compartment, to a tab in front of the laptop compartment. This stops compressing the laptop to compressing just the front compartment.
Or you can leave it as is and compress everything in the bag.
Or you can completely remove it.
If you prefer your bag nude or very sleek you can completely remove the side compression so there are no straps.
You can even reverse the buckles around so the buckles are at the rear, with the adjustment webbing at the front.
This simple removable/adjustable system is very versatile so you can adjust it to exactly how it suits you.
On our original Spare Camel design we had zip flaps over the outside to protect the zips. In this version we have used exposed zips.
Again this a throwback.
Back in the day I wanted to make the zips coloured, increasing the customisation possible in each and every pack. However minimums were high. Couple this with inventory issues in having multiple zip colours on hand to match webbing colours, combined with having enough matching zip pulls on hand. It became a logistical nightmare and so it never happened.
In my mind, this pack represents what we would have done. We would have run the zip as a reverse coil so you can't actually see or easily damage the teeth.
All zips are YKK brand racquet coil construction.
The two main exterior compartment zips are #10 in size
The two exterior front panel zips are #8
All three internal zips are #5
Around the top of the bag we have a grab handle with two little clipping pockets for attaching karabiners, just like we had on the original Spare Camel.
This, however, is Alpha One Niner's tubular webbing version which has a piece of foam inside. This is an upgrade on our original design which was a piece of flat webbing. This version is bloody comfortable to grab hold of.
Interior wise we have used a bright orange lining. This is another throwback, like almost everything else feature wise in the pack!
Back in the day our three most popular lining or interior colours were Jacaranda Purple, Fluoro Orange, or safe as houses Grey.
Fluoro Orange and Jacaranda Purple were tied for most popular. Fluoro Orange we had supply issues with however, and the back of the fabric had a white PU coating. What this meant was we quickly dropped it as a colour despite it being damn popular.
Guess what? Throwback! Its here! We've got it again, as a nod to our past.
The main compartment is purely Spare Camel. It has a pleated pocket in the rear, with hang points at the top. These hang points are for pouches such as our original EDC pouch, or one of Alpha One Niner's Matroskya pouches. This is useful for hanging things for extra organisation.
Down both sides of the rear panel are little webbing tabs. This is so you can tie things down using bungee webbing, or add little organisers from Alpha One Niner.
Round to the front wall section of the bag are three pockets. The larger two are pleated mesh pockets that have both mechanical stretch in the fabric itself, combined with the designed pleat to give extra volume of storage.
Above this is a little pocket on the zip border. This is useful when you open up your main compartment zip as an easy access pocket for phone, wallet, keys and so forth.
On the front wall as well is another hang point. This is new to the Spare Camel 2.0, and can be used for more customisable organisation incorporating Matroskya pouches.
The bottom of the pack is padded. This is to protect the contents of the pack.
Now for the really cool bit. This is the bit that Alpha One Niner brought to the table. This is the 7.5L digital paraphernalia or laptop section. This is based on Alpha One Niner's Pathfinder pack.
On the back wall is a massive padded pocket designed for laptops. I have a 13 inch MBP in a pouch in here, along with another 14 inch MBP. It will fit laptops up to 394mm x 292mm x 25mm.
The pocket is fully padded. Back wall, front wall, side wall and bottom... Every single side has padding. The pocket is also suspended from the bottom so your laptop wont come in contact with the ground. The chances of you damaging a laptop is pretty damn slim.
In front of this laptop section is another padded slip sleeve with magnetic closure. This is perfect for tablets such as iPads or other such devices.
Spinning round to the front wall of this compartment is a flat pocket which runs almost to the base of the bag. This comfortably fits your A4 notes and papers, folders and so forth. On front of this is a large panel of loop material. This is for a removable organiser; don't like the one supplied? Remove it and replace with something more suitable for you. Customisable? Yup!
This organiser has replaced my original prototype BOGEAR EDC pouch. It has a zippered pocket at the back for storing small or easily lost items such as USBs. In front of this are multiple pockets in different shapes and sizes to hold pens through to notepads.
Underneath this is a panel of Tweave elastic mesh. This is split in half creating two pockets for lumpy or weird shape items such as a laptop charger.
This is the laptop section that we could never do in Australia. We could never do this justice as it was hard to work with foams, the thickness, binding and so forth. It was simply impossible using our Australian manufacturing set up. We experimented and we couldn't do it right.
Sometimes it is best not to do something, than to do it half assed and not get it right. Which is why when Alpha One Niner came to the table with this, their signature laptop section, we just had to jump at the opportunity. It made sense to us to incorporate something that we have always wanted to into the Spare Camel.
BACK PANEL & SHOULDER STRAPS
The video at the top of this page shows an earlier sample incorporating bound edge shoulder straps. We have since improved the design and I'll shoot another video shortly showing the new strap design. These new shoulder straps are constructed using an inside out method, and are stitched into the pack on a cant to accomodate natural shoulder slant. Apart from the shoulder strap construction method and insertion, everything else remains consistent.
The back panel is a step away from our original Spare Camel design. This new design has two pads down either side, with a physical air channel in between. It is also constructed from Air Mesh, which is something we shied away from during our Australian manufacturing years. The reason being is it is usually sold and marketed as breathable, bringing the idea that it reduces sweat on your back. Living in remote Northern Territory, let me assure you Air Mesh wont stop you sweating.
What does work however is the physical channel in between. This is as good as it is likely to get airflow wise as it is a physical space for air to flow through. Airmesh in this pack is more a comfort thing; I'll be honest it doesn't increase airflow, instead it is the physical channel inbetween the two pads which increases airflow.
Shoulder straps are Alpha One Niner's design and feature a top stabiliser strap which allow you to compress the bag in for more comfort. Straps also come with a sternum strap, and a myriad of elastic loops to help you contain excess straps.
WHERE DO I GET ONE?
This is everything that we always wanted to do but couldnt. Included are little subtle features which throwback to BOGEARs history, and tells a little story about our past. In it is BOGEAR through and through but with some very very refined features from Alpha One Niner.
Depending on where you are in the world, Spare Camel 2.0 is available from multiple places.
AUSTRALIA: Via our good friend Ben from Belter Wear
USA, CANADA, MEXICO: Via our collaborator, Alpha One Niner
SINGAPORE & ASIA: Via EDC&G Singapore
HONG KONG: Via Suburban
EUROPE: Via EDC&G Europe