- Buyer's Guide
5 Minutes with John Duran (CamelBak)
We recently reached out to a lot of people/brands to get more of these quick, insightful ‘5 minutes with …’ happening. A lot came back straight away, a lot we’re still waiting on. I realise we only just posted ‘5 Minutes with Roztayger‘, but when this came in from John Duran at CamelBak we had to post it up straight away…
Based out of San Francisco where there’s a solid stable of Carry brands, John’s the Industrial Design Manager at CamelBak. Check out John’s portfolio on Coroflot, as well as taking a peek at the road test we did on the CamelBak Tri-Zip
Read on for some good carry talk…
C – What key insights drive your stuff?
JD – The main insight that drives innovation for all our products is the delivery of active hydration and properly designing around that experience. From a minimalist cycling pack that carries just 50 oz. of water and your house keys, to a 25L lightweight weekender that carries our water bottles as well as a 100oz reservoir alongside your backcountry gear, we aim to have the weight and volume of the water disappear while improving fit and function so you can just focus on the activity at hand. The same small team that designs our packs and bags also designed the Antidote reservoir, our water bottle line, even the All Clear UV Purifier, and that allows us to draw from several disciplines and experiences when ideating new ways to detail our packs.
C – Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry? And why do you think they’re important…
JD – Living in San Francisco places me close to lots of bag innovation, and my friends at Boreas have introduced some of the more functionally innovative pieces I’ve seen in a while. Another small San Francisco bag company, Joshu+Vela, is contributing to the growing movement of locally handcrafted products, while Mission Workshop continues to define technical style. Outside SF, I’ve always admired Crumpler’s lack of conformity, both in bag construction and attitude.
C – Are there any things other brands do that you think are great or could be improved?
JD – I like how Hyperlite Mountain Gear is pushing conventional material boundaries, it’ll be interesting to see how they evolve their technology and its application.
C – What’s next for you guys?
JD – We recently introduced a line of lumbar-based hydration packs (see image above) which move the water’s center of gravity to the lowest point in the bag, making it very stable while freeing cargo space up top. We also just launched a new ventilated backpanel platform on our NV™ mountain bike line, composed of articulating pods inspired by technical footwear. Both these technologies have additional potential and we’re going to continue to think along these lines of unconventional carry for both water and cargo in order to improve and evolve.
C – What do you carry daily and how?
JD – My daily pack is the TriZip™ from our military collection, with some custom mods. It’s the one pack in our line that can accommodate my ridiculously large 3D workstation notebook. I throw all my quick-access essentials in the zippered top hood compartment, and when I travel for an overnighter I put everything in packing cubes, splay the bag down the center and pack my things from the front.