- Buyer's Guide
Hall of Fame Results – The Fifth Annual Carry Awards
Today you can find sleek weatherproof zippers across a number of bags. But jump back a couple of decades and weatherproof zippers were an entirely different beast. In early hardshell designs the weatherproof zippers were a considerable weak point, requiring bulky flaps and reinforcement to function properly. But in 1988 Mike Blenkarn, who eventually became a member of the Arc’teryx R&D team, began working on the concept of a watertight zipper.
It took years of design tweaking and tinkering, with the idea of a urethane-coated zipper eventually being proposed by the team. Though a solid concept, it still took months of testing and honing the design until the WaterTight™ zipper was unveiled in 1999. But the effort was worth it, with the design revolutionizing what a weatherproof zipper could be. The zipper found an elegant balance between technical prowess and sleek simplicity, delivering true innovation that would inspire a new approach to weatherproofing carry gear.
Not only is the WaterTight™ zipper an industry game changer, but its development history is great inspiration for not giving up on an idea you’re passionate about, no matter how long it may take. Much respect, Arc’teryx!
These are the pieces that just missed out, and in most cases, by the smallest of margins. To them, we award a High Commendation. The below were of outstanding quality, displaying fine craftsmanship and design flair. With honor, we bow our heads in the utmost respect and kudos. If this were a dais, they’d be biting their teeth into silver medals, while their flags were hoisted into the horizon – a feat not to be overlooked. And we’re sure they’ll be back, to take it one notch higher, next year.
Ideally, you want to be carrying as little weight as possible when on the go. But you also want a bag that’s tough enough to withstand daily use. Unfortunately, often the more durable a fabric is, the more it will weigh you down. But Dyneema changed the playing field, providing strength and durability without sacrificing weight. Created by DSM, Dyneema is a premium brand of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) that offers an excellent strength to weight ratio (up to 15 times stronger than steel on a weight for weight basis). Ideal for carry gear that keeps weight to a minimum while still delivering reliable durability. When it comes to materials that have shaped the carry industry, Dyneema is without doubt one of the major influencers.
Mystery Ranch are great at recognizing carry problems and finding solutions. And with a lot of backpacks, a key problem was accessing gear. Particularly items stashed at the bottom of fully packed bags. But the 3-Zip changed that, solving a frustrating situation with a Y-shaped zip closure on the main compartment. No more having to unpack half your gear to reach particular items. Instead, fast and convenient access throughout the pack, which significantly improved the user experience and inspired other access solutions too. Excellent work, Mystery Ranch!