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Zipper Substitutions?

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    Zipper Substitutions?

    So today my latest order came in the mail, and two of the items were a Co-Pilot and Aeronaut 45 (both in Ursa).

    Yes, I already own a CP.

    And yes, that CP is also Ursa brown.

    So why order two of the same bag?

    Because last last week I discovered that the rubber tracks on my waterproof zippers were starting to fray. Why? I’m not sure. I actually don’t zip and unzip the bag a whole lot. Most the time I actually keep all the compartments open so I can set it on my work desk and have easy access to everything while I’m working.

    But I noticed they started phasing out use of the waterproof zippers and I wanted to see if the most current version of the bag was made, in fact, using regular coil zippers.

    I know a lot of folks out there have been griping about the fact that waterproof zippers have been replaced with coil zippers, but honestly, I really do appreciate how much easier they are to open and close (especially on a bag like the CP where you’re zipping around square corners) as well as the fact there is no longer a rubberized zipper track that could fail.

    Have I contacted customer service about it? Not yet. If they were able to replace the waterproof zippers with regular coil zippers, I would be welcome to the change and honestly consider it an upgrade. MikeV if this is an option (and even something that can be accomplished for a small fee), please let me know and we can figure out arrangements.

    So I’m sure most folks will think - “well now all my stuff is going to get wet!” And the fact of the matter is, even with waterproof zippers, and coatings on the back side of the fabric, your gear will still get wet with those protections in place. At best, those features buy you some extra time to seek dry shelter.

    I’m also an avid hiker and backpacker who owns a completely different collection of hiking backpacks specifically made for those hobbies.

    But here’s the thing: even those backpacks, which are literally made to be used outside, don’t have waterproof zippers with protective garages and fully sealed seams. Most hikers use some kind of dry bag inside their pack to ensure it stays dry - the backpack is more a carrying case than a waterproof compartment. If you ever complained to a manufacturer that the backpack wasn’t waterproof, they probably would just say they didn’t intend to make the bag waterproof to begin with. Just resistant.

    Have I hiked all afternoon in the rain wearing an old Cordura S19? Sure have. Did my gear get wet? Amazingly not. But did I accept the fact it might get wet when I made the decision to hike in the rain? I did.

    I don’t know when exactly Tom Bihn decided they would substitute the waterproof zippers with coil ones (and what justified that decision), but it’s a decision I’m personally happy with sincr it’s made the most recent version of my favorite bag a little easier to use.
    Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-12-2022, 06:50 PM.
    I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I use most often:
    Everyday Carry: CP or SK
    Overnight Travel: SN22 and SZTSB
    Car Travel: Medium YD and MT
    Plane Travel: CP and WF



    #2
    Here's the blog announcing the change of many of the zippers:

    https://www.tombihn.com/blogs/main/zipper-updates

    Note that the YKK Aquaguard and Racquet Coil are water repellent, not water proof

    https://www.ykkfastening.com/product...guard&cmid=852
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks, G42!

      It must be a more recent change to the CP - I didn’t see them mention that bag specifically in the blog post announcement.

      My first (Ursa/Dawn) was purchased January 2022 and has the old Aquaguard zippers.

      The newer one (Ursa/Cobalt) that came in the mail this week has the updated RC zippers.

      I think they’re right in making the change. The racquet coil zippers are much easier to operate and because they lack that stiff urethane coating on the zipper tape it also makes the bags a little more flexible/packable, too, which is an unexpected bonus.
      Last edited by Chicagoan; 09-13-2022, 10:55 AM.
      I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I use most often:
      Everyday Carry: CP or SK
      Overnight Travel: SN22 and SZTSB
      Car Travel: Medium YD and MT
      Plane Travel: CP and WF


      Comment


        #4
        I'd been eyeing a Synapse 25 for well over a year, and Ursa/Dawn was my second-fave colorway (after the Wilderness/Cloud that I hoped for but was never actually made), and that was one of the few colorways that was listed on the page as still having the Aquaguard zippers - which is a major reason I had never pulled the trigger on it. However, in a response to a couple questions I wrote in to customer service, Mike informed me that the one remaining Ursa/Dawn S25 actually had the DWR racquet coil zippers somehow - despite the website always showing that colorway as purely Aquaguard - so...that's how I came to buy a Synapse 25 earlier than I expected I would. I think the vast majority of Ursa/Dawn bags were made in the time before the company had switched to the RC zippers, and that stock just remained because...I guess most people didn't think Ursa/Dawn looked as great as you and I do.

        Personally, I'm not fond of the way Aquaguard zippers feel to pull. They've got enough resistance that I tend to instinctively grab part of the bag with my other hand to stabilize the pull, while the RC zippers are so much smoother - I can zip and unzip them on a bag just sitting on the ground without feeling like I'm jerking the pack at all. If I loved a bag's design and it only came with Aquaguard, that might not be enough to stop me from getting it, but the moment I knew TB was making the switch to a smoother-zipping option (with water repellence within spitting distance of Aquaguard), I was like, "I'm willing to wait as long as it takes for the updated zippers."
        Last edited by ittoujuu; 09-13-2022, 12:01 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Chicagoan View Post
          MikeV if this is an option (and even something that can be accomplished for a small fee), please let me know and we can figure out arrangements.
          Chicagoan- I'd be curious to have you email photos of your Aquaguard zipper bag so we can see what's going on with it. It's not uncommon with Aquaguard zippers to have very thin strips of the rubber material that show up over time- the zippers still maintain a nice seal when looking at them and the water resistance is maintained. I'm wondering if that's what is going on with your bag or if it's something else.

          If we determine that the bag doesn't have anything wrong with the zipper, we wouldn't want to replace it with Racquet Coil- always better to not take a bag apart unless it needs it. But if we determined there is something wrong with the Aquaguard zipper, we'd happily replace it with Racquet Coil on request.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by MikeV View Post

            Chicagoan- I'd be curious to have you email photos of your Aquaguard zipper bag so we can see what's going on with it. It's not uncommon with Aquaguard zippers to have very thin strips of the rubber material that show up over time- the zippers still maintain a nice seal when looking at them and the water resistance is maintained. I'm wondering if that's what is going on with your bag or if it's something else.

            If we determine that the bag doesn't have anything wrong with the zipper, we wouldn't want to replace it with Racquet Coil- always better to not take a bag apart unless it needs it. But if we determined there is something wrong with the Aquaguard zipper, we'd happily replace it with Racquet Coil on request.
            Just sent an email your way, MikeV!
            I own a LOT of Tom Bihn bags, but here are the ones I use most often:
            Everyday Carry: CP or SK
            Overnight Travel: SN22 and SZTSB
            Car Travel: Medium YD and MT
            Plane Travel: CP and WF


            Comment


              #7
              ittoujuu I think Ursa/Dawn is a wonderful combination!
              I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

              Comment

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