Carry Geeking :: Fidlock Buckles
Bags can be made or messed up with their opening method. If it’s an awkward zip angle, a distractingly loud velcro rip, or a cheap and nasty plastic ‘snap’, it’s a lot harder to fall in love with the bag that doesn’t open and shut elegantly.
So why are so many bags still closed with cheap plastic buckles? These things need to be guided in precisely, they can pinch skin on closure and on release, and they generally look cheap and like an afterthought (even though they’re very prominent in front dead centre on the bag).
We’ve mentioned Fidlock buckles before for their really clever use of magnets to guide the buckle together. In fact, we’ve spent countless hours fidgeting with their samples as we preoccupied ourselves with all sorts of other thoughts. But since Timbuk2 gave us a pair of their Especial messengers to test (more on that in coming weeks), we’ve been able to live with the Fidlocks day to day.
Let us say it on record: These things are game-changers.
Imagine a buckle you can use one-handed, without looking, without loud noises or uncomfortable pinching. The buckle finds its own way shut, it looks neat, and it won’t break the first time you step on it. These Fidlocks are every bit that good, and we’re crazy geek stoked on the things.
A quick summary of their awesome sauce:
They look less ‘expressive’ or mechanical, so they can blend in better with your design.
The benefits of one-handed and blindfolded operation cannot be undersold. There is no pre-alignment needed, so you can just get about your tasks without interrupting your flow.
You don’t have to line your own hand up to get enough force to push in just the right way to open them. Whatever angle your hand approaches on, a light sideways movement and you have them unclipped. Despite this ease, they don’t find their own way open.
They can do all this because the release direction is different to the hold direction (they resist force longitudinally, but release laterally). That’s just good engineering principles.
Downfalls? There are always some…
The buckles need some explanation because they’re not immediately obvious how to use. At the moment, this is being done with some cheap stickers. It does mean you might have a confused customer or two if there’s no one to explain.
Their range is nowhere near as filled out as most buckle ranges. That means you can’t find every size in every color.
They’re not cheap. The really good stuff rarely is.
And there might be some niggles with age or certain temperatures or certain situations. We just don’t know, as you never know with new innovations.
But given all that, we still think Fidlock is going to make a big impression in the world of buckles. Messengers in particular, but also camera bags, utility carry, and all sorts of quick-access bags can all increase their value proposition with these guys. We hope they become something more of a norm.
Well done, Fidlock, and thanks Timbuk2 for specifying them!