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Third Level personal Preparedness (Go-Bags)>Sling/Versipack
Tom Bihn- The Buzz> Highly Recommended



Introduction :Third level Preparedness - Go-Bags> Slings & VersiPack's
This section is dedicated to the analysis of some currently available options for portable carry bags that have the design distinction of a strap that's primarily designed to mount on the opposite shoulder and that are smaller than courier bags. Slings are a design hybrid that combine the compartmentalization associated with a backpack, but that employ a single strap that's primarily intended to be carried across the chest and back - mounted on the shoulder opposite to the side that 'hosts' the bag itself. Sling packs are typically more ergonomically shaped than shoulder carried bags such as computer bags or courier bags- making them ideal for an aerodynamically streamlined look and functionality.
VersiPack's are a sub-category of Sling that through adjustability may be carried low at hip level or high at shoulder-blade level. In addition,
VersiPack's may be configured through content selection as well as customization to serve in a number of functional domains.
One of the most conspicuous advantages of the Sling style bags is their ability to quickly be moved from the back of the operator to their front for quick access to contents- without dismounting the pack as in the case of backpacks. Unlike two-strap backpacks , Slings may have a tendency to unintentionally bounce from back or side position to the front if used while riding a bicycle, potentially creating a distraction or imbalance. In addition, they could interfere with some business apparel .Slings
and VersiPack's are a better match for casual or active wear protocols.
Both slings and VersiPack's are ideal for carrying personalized contents in addition to a cache of emergency preparedness items. Some occupational domains may include journalism, photography, law enforcement, military,outdoor sports,hunting, orienteering,journeymen,travelers and technicians of all stripe.

Key benefits: Multiple compartments for customized contents| Across the chest or shoulder carry | Highly ergonomic | Flexible positioning

 

General Description
The Buzz from Tom Bihn- is one of a number of gear bags manufactured by Tom Bihn Inc (Seattle Washington-USA) for people of all walks of life.This sling pack is an excellent example of a new breed of products that evolved as a hybridization of backpacks and shoulder bags .The theme of an ergonomic 'across the back and chest' is beautifully implemented in this product. Faster to mount and dismount than a two strap backpack, it materializes the long held wish of itinerate commuters for a single strap pack to replace the habit of using backpacks with one strap dangling uselessly. Though Messenger bags are also designed to be carried- strap across the chest, The Buzz conforms more closely to body contours- making it the streamlined carry option of choice for those that demand the ultimate in aerodynamics in a tear-drop shape. This is a medium sized multifunction sling that will accommodate a 12" -14" laptop as well as an average textbook, notepad and a modest stash of emergency tools and provisions. An intelligently designed outer bottle pouch will secure a wide range of bottle diameters in the typical 16oz to 20oz capacity. A dedicated cellphone holder is permanently attached to the strap front at a strategic location.

Target Market
-Urban Commuter / 12" laptop,small electronics/PDA, cellphone,notepad,average sized textbook, water bottle+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Active Outdoors /small electronics/PDA, cellphone,notepad,rain gear, nutritional food bars, water bottle+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Itinerate Student / 12" laptop,small electronics/PDA, cellphone,notepad,average sized textbook, water bottle+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Professional journeyman or technician / small tools, communication electronics, + 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Traveler /12" laptop,travel document,small tools,digital camera,GPS, communication electronics,reading material+ 1st 24 hrs emergency tools
-Law enforcement,Military & SAR
/ 12" laptop,communication electronics,small electronics, NLW,notepad, + 1st 24 hrs emergency tools

Form Factor & Build -
Sizes- Standard (One size)
. Comparable to a Medium /large digital camera case or day pack.
Geometry-teardrop with flared shoulder strap attachment points.
Material- Heavy duty Cordura nylon fabric and construction.YKK zippers throughout. Medium Duty Velcro closure . Large Snap closure buckle ( National Moldng - Warrior) . Braided nylon-cord zipper pulls with polymer terminal tabs.

Ergonomics- A tapered Zote foam strap, anthropometrically* conforms to body contours at the carry shoulder- it's native stretchiness absorbs the shock that up and down pack motion may put on the user's shoulder.The teardrop shape and tapered dominant strap portion,gradually distribute the pack's weight towards the carry shoulder making for a seemingly lighter load and allowing for hours of easy use.
In trials, the The Buzz was comfortable carried either high or low on the back.Some users found it comfortable carried to one side as well.Actually slinging the pack overhead across the chest and onto the right shoulder happens with ease - as does a simple carry on the left shoulder. Smooth padding near the user's back shields against any discomfort from hard /heavy objects inside. Unlike some slings that offer no shock absorption or minimal padding, The Buzz is all about intelligent weight distribution, suspension and shock absorption. In addition to being suitable for carry by an upright person walking , dashing or sitting, The Buzz is also quite comfortable and effective to use while biking, skiing,canoeing,or doing any number of active sports that don't involve a huge degree of twisting or sudden flips.

Affordances- Two main compartments afford the carry of the supplies typically needed by students, commuters or professionals on the go. The smaller outer compartment is segmented to help in organizing small objects. It also has enough space to contain a first aid kit, small particle mask, small tactical flashlight and several nutrition bars. The larger compartment handily accommodates a 12" laptop (in a dedicated padded inner sleeve), as well as a textbook, notebook and magazine. Alternatively, rain gear could take the place of the textbook. Obviously, any number of content combinations are possible- based on personal needs and preferences. A capacious cell phone holder with Velcro closure is permanently stitched into the strap front.It's also padded and outfitted with elastic side panels to accommodate a range of phone sizes.An elastic fabric bottle holder can be more snugly cinched by the use of two adjustable web straps that securely restrain slippery plastic bottles. A formidable quick release polymer strap buckle giver the user an alternative method of donning and removing The Buzz, without the need for an over-the-head maneuver. Exquisitely protected zippers ensure thousands of snag free openings and closings- not to mention that they guarantee that torrential downpours stay outside the pack.

Human Factors & Usability -The The Buzz conforms to most heuristics guiding excellent user-centered design in the industrial engineering of a carry case.In other words, the need for effective, efficient and easy to learn functionality are fully accommodated through sound consideration of the cognitive, reflexive and contextual aspects of this product's use. In addition, sound ergonomics contribute to a pleasant and transparent user experience .Usability has therefore been closely aligned to the operator requiring a certain type of task and goal-centric carry case.The judicious use of padding and shock absorbing Zote foam in strategic locations is noticeable, especially when one has to suddenly take off in a dash to catch a bus or train. The weight of The Buzz, laden with a heavy laptop and books is barely noticeable. Because The Buzz holds it's shape, even when empty- it's easy to swing it around to the user's front for quick access to both main compartments as well as the bottle pouch.

Styling and Aesthetics
Within a number of contexts, the The Buzz exterior appearance coordinates well with the user and their task- in order to create a harmonious visual ensemble that projects an image of normalcy and not discontinuity. Sling packs abound but few are put together with as understated an elegance as one experiences looking at The Buzz. It's uncluttered exterior silhouette makes it fitting for numerous walks of life, all ages, and genders. The Tom Bihn logo patch- stands out proudly against the pristine backdrop of the chosen pack color.

Environmental Stress- We evaluated the The Buzz under everyday circumstances. The toughness of the fabric was well suited to casual brushes with metal surfaces such as those that might be encountered in a typical commuter, outdoors or light duty professional settings. It fared very well in scuffs against concrete, trees, thorns and tarmac. To test the protected zippers, we subjected The Buzz to a 10 minute shower- Not a drop of water was discovered inside. Considering the replacement cost of potential content electronics, this was deemed a success- instilling great confidence in its ability to withstand a typical downpour. Ironically, the cell phone pouch is not downpour protected- suggesting a need to keep the phone elsewhere during a storm.

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Sales Source:http://www.Tom Bihn.com
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Specifications:
Tom Bihn- The Buzz

  • 1000 denier Cordura® exterior
  • YKK Uretek "splash-proof" zippers: #10 on main compartment, #8 on pocket
  • Cell phone pocket fits most standard-size cell phones and stretches to accommodate iPods & other MP3 players
    Bottle pocket fits bike bottle, 500ml Nalgene® and most other bottles to 750ml
  • Padded computer pocket fits laptops up to 11.5" x 9.5" x 1.5" / 290 x 240 x 38mm
  • Bright reflective trim for nighttime visibility (solid black version has no reflective trim)
  • Overall dimensions: 13" X 17" X 4" / 330 x 430 x 100 mm
  • Weight: 1.64 lbs / 640 grams
  • Volume: 9.8 litres / 600 cubic inches
  • Made in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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Above-The Buzz's geometry. A classic teardrop sling pack

Above-Left and Right, details of zipper pulls. Note: seamed (YKK) zippers and braided nylon cords Note: White piping
is reflective.

Above, Left-detail of mobile phone holder | Center-Adjustable strap access buckle | Right-top grab loop

Above. Left & Right- tension adjustable water bottle pouch Note:elasticized pouch panel

Above:Possible-small accessory compartment contents including:Emergency water & First Aid in ALOKSAk zip closure
bag,tactical flashlight,Sangean multiband radio in Otterbox 1000, dual watertight pill boxes (one with pills and the other
with 2, CR123 Batteries)Car keys,pens,PDA,Tactical wallet and particle mask wrapped in aluminum foil.

Above: Main compartment contents including: Apple 12" iBook, average sized textbook, spiral notepad,nutritional food bars
and A/C Power adapter for iBook laptop computer


Evaluation Results & Summaries

Ease of Use
Excellent. The user simply loads contents according to individual or task requirements. Smooth zippers are easily opened and closed thanks to the easily grasped pull cords.The design of the The Buzz invites objects to be loaded in a certain way. Small items that may need to accessed more quickly may be stowed in the upper deck compartment that includes sub-compartments that are suitable for controlling pens, PDAs, small electronics and so on. The main space of the upper deck is ideal for first aid kits, a water pouch, nutritional food bar a flashlight and particle mask in addition to everyday items such as a wallet and keys.
Note:Items stashed in the upper deck compartment may fall out if not properly stowed and if retrieval is attempted with the pack on the ground or on a chair or bench. Careful attention to pack orientation and opening the compartment from the top, rather than from the bottom ensures that stuff doesn't come spilling out inadvertently. In addition, stowing small or elusive objects in ALOKSAK or zip lock bags or small pouches, reduces the risk of loss further.
The larger 'lower deck' compartment is ideal for stowing larger objects that simply wouldn't fit the upper deck. A dedicated and sewn-in laptop sleeve is padded to ensure that a laptop of up to 14" diagonal screen is cushioned from shock and protected from other objects. The insertion of a laptop into this cleverly designed 'secret' sleeve becomes quicker with little practice and the resulting silhouette is so seamless it's a wonder more packs aren't designed this way. Once the laptop is in place, the balance of the space can be used for books, snacks, garments or any combination thereof. Again, as with the upper deck, care should be exercised to ensure that contents are under control when opening and closing The Buzz.The special advantage of using The Buzz becomes obvious when something is quickly needed while standing or walking. One simply swings the load around to one's front and with a quick pull a zipper comes open to allow for fast retrieval of contents. Re-closing a zipper and a swift push backwards and the pack is repositioned for onward mobility again.
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Task performance optimization
The Buzz is ideal for carrying a modest load of items for a specific use or for mixed uses. In practice it was extremely comfortable for carrying school / work contents and was especially pleasant during quick dashes that may have caused less ergonomic packs to sway out of control or put undue pressure on the user's shoulder. In trials that timed the duration for a retrieval of a needed item from the upper deck, it took no more than a second or two to move the pack from a back mount to a frontal position. Thanks to the strap buckle, quickly removing the pack - even with a bulky coat on was simple a quick disconnect motion away. The cell phone holder is strategically positioned to be over the right breast- a convenient place that didn't interfere with either male or female anatomical undulations. Swung out into the forward position , both compartments are oriented upwards for easy and secure access to contents. Similarly, a bottle stashed in the outer pouch, was an easy grab by the left hand.
Because The Buzz is carried on the back, both the user's left and right sides are unobstructed- leaving room for arms to move freely or to accommodate belt mounted packs or equipment. For the field worker or outdoors person, The Buzz seems to really lighten the load as circulation in the upper torso is not constricted as is often the case when heavy back packs are carried for more than an hour at a time.

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Accommodation for emergency provisions
As noted in the picture captions, emergency tools and provisions may be logically clustered for easy but unobtrusive access that is sufficient for the first 24 hrs of a non-life-threatening emergency. This means that the absolutely bare essentials are packable while the core of the main compartment, as well as some outside pouches may carry every day items. It should be noted that in addition to carrying The Buzz, a hand carried Go-Bag or other luggagemay be employed for the purpose of hosting additional everyday tools as well as additional and longer term or specialized emergency supplies. In emergency scenario drills, we were successful in extracting emergency tools in time to press them into use efficiently. As an example, a particle mask, wrapped in ordinary aluminum foil was in hand within two seconds and opened and worn in three seconds more. The cell phone is as close to the user's face as it is most likely to be, even for emergency applications. As with any emergency Go-Bag, periodic training with the The Buzz,ensures that reflexes and not thinking are used to locate tools such as a flashlight or particle mask under duress. Lesser provisions such as food and water are out of the way but still easily accessible.Each individual will stock a bag such as the The Buzz in their own way. Several websites list recommended provisions but in fact , the end user must customize their own list to reflect contextual circumstances, occupational risks as well as personal preferences. We offer our observations and recommendations based on our trials in the section: Emergency Preparedness Provisions 24/48/72

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Fabrication Design and Construction quality
The fabrication quality of The Buzz is top notch and is in keeping with the expectations of its intended customers. More than this it may also be relied on by users beyond this base and can work well within a number of professional settings. The Cordura fabric is a tightly woven 100 denier weave which, based on our decades of experience with Cordura, lead us to believe it should last for many years if treated with care. Stitching is also high quality with heavy stitches being used to ensure that stress points stay firmly intact.Most impressive is the attention to details such as the use of YKK zippers,protected by Uretek "splash-proof" zipper seals. This added touch helps to keep debris, loose threads and other obstructions out of the zipper's path and acts as an effective deflector against rainfall as well. YKK zippers are renowned for durability and are proof positive that no corners were cut in designing and manufacturing The Buzz.The zipper pulls are directly attached loops of braided nylon, that terminate in locking polymer pull tabs. This seemingly trivial touch is actually very supportive of task optimization, since they are quick and easy to grab and provide much more effective purchase for fingers than traditional metal pulls. The best part of The Buzz's construction is it's simplicity. It lacks gratuitous or excessive features that may be a cause for irritation, tearing, snagging or failure. All the emphasis is placed on building it well and ensuring that the comfort of user and protection of the contents are supported by the design and quality of construction. One senses stretchy panels and bouncy Zote foam, a very high-quality closed cell foam imported from the UK here and there- lending assurance that all is form fitting and flexible with The Buzz.
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Items of Note:
Excellent Customer Relationship Management |Superb design and construction quality|Excellent protection from shock and impact | Logically arranged compartments and sub-compartments | Form fitting flexibility | Premium materials and hardware | Does not stand upright | Ideal for modest volume loads & active lifestyles |A left shoulder carry option is available.

 

*Anthropometrics literally means man (anthro) measurements (metric).  It is the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body, as well as parameters such as reach and visual range capabilities.  Accurate data on height, weight, limb, and body segment sizes are needed to design items ranging from clothing, furniture, automobiles, buses, and subway cars to space shuttles and space stations.  Anthropometrics enables us to properly size items, including system interfaces, to "fit" the user.

 
 
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