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  1. #1
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    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?

    I am considering investing in a more substantial, eco-friendly, TSA-workable bag for my liquids use but have reservations about buying clear-sided gear of any real value. One of my favorite (non-TB) travel bags came with a handy pouch tethered in its quick-access pocket. I have used the pouch for a range of in-flight travel needs (tickets, meds, earbuds, passport, etc) and over time (ok, 8 years?) it has aged... terribly. The rest of the bag's materials are in incredible shape, and really, the window feels great and remains supple but obviously the fogging is BAD. Even without routine exposure to liquids.
    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-urethane-window-1-jpg3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-urethane-window-2-jpg

    Can any of you show me a 3DOC or Clear Quarter Packing Cube with some miles on it? Or do you have other recommendations? I am curious if anyone has had trouble with the CQPC as a TSA liquids bag?
    My general criteria are below. I'd really love to see a piece or two with some rough love under its belt.
    -zip-shut
    -CLEAR on one full side (both or all sides acceptable but not required)
    -relatively soft (able to manipulate into different spaces)
    -~1qt in size
    -flat bottom to stand up

    I am close-but-not-quite on a few directions, two 3DOCs (one clear, one fabric or mesh), 1 CQPC, or... the Arc'teryx Index Dopp bag in size small. The reps at Arc'teryx specifically called out that the windows on their bag fog less over time (super nerdy but as a Fabric Engineer I really wanted to ask what testing standard they used to make such a claim but store reps don't have access to that kind of info...)

    Thank you my bag-obsessed friends for making a place we can revel on our obsession!
    Last edited by SarahJaneMakes; 03-05-2018 at 11:35 AM.

  2. #2
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    This 3DOC has to date from at least 2010, based on the color (I got Indigo soon after it first became available), and this version of the 3DOC was made before they added the hanging hook.
    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1520280948-293367-jpg
    I have other 3DOCs that are from the same period, but since Indigo Cordura was only available up through a limited time, and the absence of the hook is another obvious time marker, I'm using this as an example, (Besides, this is one of my favorite 3DCOCs, and has been heavily used; there's usually a Matador picnic blanket in front, but I took it out to make viewing other contents easier)

    I have older Clear Quarter Packing Cubes, but I don't use them as extensively now. (They were a great combination for carrying additional laptop hard drives in the side pocket of an Aeronaut 45, but I use smaller bags, and don't need the same hardware at present, plus form factors have gotten smaller).

    That said, you should know that there have been different batches of Urethane used over the last twelve years. Back in mid 2014 there was a batch of Urethane that showed cloudiness. See the 0.16 Clear Urethane Discoloration thread.

    It seemed a bit haphazard to me which of the cubes/pouches purchased during this period appeared cloudy with time, but it has not been a feature of the Urethane being used for quite a while, (There are also instructions on how to clean the discoloration with an combination of rubbing alcohol and water)

    HTH

    moriond

    ETA: Correction: I found one of my posts indicating that they switched to the hanging hook by December 2009 -- so this 3DCOC has to be older than that date (maybe 8.5 -9 years old)
    Last edited by moriond; 03-05-2018 at 07:28 PM.

  3. #3
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    I vaguely remember that there was either a blog or a forum post about the clear material used for the 3DOC and other bags, but I can't find it (hopefully one of the other forum members with encyclopedic knowledge or eidetic memory can find it for you!). It talked about fogging and the various materials that the TB crew considered for the clear bags. That might be helpful reading.

    I do have a few pics for you...

    Here's my 3DOC from May 2016. It's seen some use, but not daily or even every trip, as I am one of those people who can never buy and try enough bags for toiletries. It's definitely been on several extended domestic and international trips, though. I didn't encounter difficulties with TSA or security in foreign airports, but I do know some are much stricter than others. Domestic trips are probably a safe bet, but I 100% would not chance it at, for instance, Heathrow.

    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-20180305_143903-jpg

    And here's my COW (Clear Organizer Wallet) which has been in daily use since September of 2012. I believe that they use the same clear plastic material for this as for the 3DOC. This is my daily carry wallet. I don't baby it or protect it much, and though the plastic is stretched from me packing in too many cards, I don't see any fogging at all.

    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-20180305_143919_001-jpg

    FWIW, the "two 3DOCs (one clear, one fabric or mesh)" set-up you mention was my go-to for the longest time. It works really well for separating wet/dry toiletries and gives you a ton of packing flexibility across different sizes of bags.

    ETA: and of course the amazing @moriond beat me to it with the link to the discussion I referenced up top
    Last edited by kathryn; 03-05-2018 at 01:02 PM.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.Ē ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post

    Can any of you show me a 3DOC or Clear Quarter Packing Cube with some miles on it?!
    Just want to throw out there that the CQPC isn't TSA compliant... you may get stopped.

    I'm TSA precheck so don't have to remove my 311 bag, but I always keep one new clear quart freezer ziplock in all my travel bags, no matter what, just in case any TSA agent gets concerned with what I have.... it's easy insurance.

  5. #5
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    Every Clear Pouch, Medium Clear Yarn Stuff Sack and Clear Quarter Packing Cube I own is as clear as it was the day it came out of its Tom Bihn delivery Box.

    I bought the first ones, in 06 or 07, so they are a decade old.

    In each product page, people post pictures of their products in use as well as brand new items in their delivery boxes.

    I checked the page for the 3D OC and I had to really make an effort to distinguish between the two (used and new 3D OC look virtually the same, the new ones have pristine tags and are usually in the delivery boxes).
    Last edited by backpack; 03-06-2018 at 11:40 AM.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for all the pointers! I culled through the post on .16 urethane and on a desperate whim... tried alcohol on the window of the pouch I already have. Granted, we didn't have rubbing alcohol in the house so I improvised. With vodka.

    Here are images of just after cleaning and then again the morning after. Humorously pleased and wasn't worried about deteriorating the pouch if the experiment didn't work out. It's been a good pouch for a long time.
    3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-urethane-window-3-jpg3DOC and aging... how does the urethane stand up over time?-urethane-window-4-jpg

    Looking through other folks pictures of their bags in action (thanks @backpack!) I'm planning to push out a couple of weeks and then picking colors to order of the 3DOC in clear and in all-fabric.

    Thank you guys!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post

    Looking through other folks pictures of their bags in action (thanks @backpack!) I'm planning to push out a couple of weeks and then picking colors to order of the 3DOC in clear and in all-fabric.

    Thank you guys!
    Alas, I was foolhardy and now ALL colors and fabrics for the 3DOC, clear are sold out. I contacted customer service and it looks like new cubes wonít be out for 4-8 weeks. Iíve signed up for alerts and will continue to check Ebay... Have any of you turned up other potential sources of previously loved TB gear? Iíll be combing the internets...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post
    Alas, I was foolhardy and now ALL colors and fabrics for the 3DOC, clear are sold out. I contacted customer service and it looks like new cubes won’t be out for 4-8 weeks. I’ve signed up for alerts and will continue to check Ebay... Have any of you turned up other potential sources of previously loved TB gear? I’ll be combing the internets...
    keep an eye on the page every late afternoon (Pacific time) as that's when the returns seem to get logged in and they appear... and just as quickly get snapped up... at one point today there were four colours available & then none, so watch for it and buy one immediately if you want it.... otherwise wait for the major restock...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    ... I have other 3DOCs that are from the same period, but since Indigo Cordura was only available up through a limited time...
    Gasp, INDIGO. wow I love it.

    I bet it would look amazing with zest.

  10. #10
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    "I improvised with vodka."

    BWA-HAHAHAHHAHA, (takes notes).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post
    Alas, I was foolhardy and now ALL colors and fabrics for the 3DOC, clear are sold out...
    Fyi, there are clear 3DOCs in wasabi available now. You might want to call or email customer service again to see if they have a more current update when other colors will be available if wasabi doesn't work for you.
    Looking for upper and lower modular pockets in original Nordic. Also coveting a UV or Iberian Synapse

  12. #12
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    So glad I saw this thread. I have a COW and two Clear quarter packing cubes from the 2014 era, and they were so cloudy you could barely see the contents. I just assumed this was what happened with use, particularly after I tried to clean them with soap and water a couple of times. I had missed the thread around cleaning them with isopropyl alcohol until seeing this post and the various replies. As soon as I got back home, I pulled out the alcohol and some cotton make-up remover pads, and within about 10 minutes, all of the film was gone and the cubes and wallet look brand new. Yay!!

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