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THE JOURNAL

Behind the design: Venture Sling 9L

The ‘seed’ for the Venture Sling 9L was originally planted as something else. We wanted a larger version of our Sling and Sling Mini. A Sling Plus, if you like. But, as we scaled up the Sling, some challenges arose. And with those came some surprising solutions, and a brand new sling at the end. It’s a credit to our design team that they can spot the opportunities that exist outside their expectations and discard a plan when they see a better one just off to the left.


Read on as lead designer, James, takes us through those design insights and turning points. (Or watch the video to see him walk you through the design in real time.)

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INSIGHT ONE: MORE STUFF MEANS MORE ACCESS.

“The bag’s contents shifted quickly as we increased the size, and that meant we needed more organization. As we added more organization, we found we needed greater access. So, access and organization became a design priority.”

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INSIGHT TWO: THERE’S A DIFFERENT END USER HERE.

“The existing sling styles feel very approachable – somewhat ‘carefree’. As we increased the access and organization on the larger style, we started imagining a different customer. It became more about being prepared than going with the flow. This is where the ‘venture’ comes in. It helps you feel prepared to get out there and do more, but doesn’t push too far (to what we might call ‘boy scout’ territory).”

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INSIGHT THREE: OUR DESIGNS CAN ECHO OUR DESIRES (FOR FREEDOM AND EXPLORATION).

“We were in lockdown while we were designing this bag. And, as we spent more time at home, our product design gravitated to the outside. We were designing products that allow for exploration and encourage you to leave work behind. We really leaned into that idea with some of our experiments, and you can experience the best of those insights in our City Pouch, City Pouch Plus and Venture Sling 9L (with more still to come!). There is not a laptop pocket in sight in those styles!”

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INSIGHT FOUR: THE MAIN OPENING IS OUR BIGGEST LEARNING.

“We had played with a one-sided zip that gave better access on the City Pouch. That allowed unexpectedly wide access to a slim style. Applying single-direction access to a larger piece became a challenge – it just didn’t provide an opening wide enough, for the amount of stuff you can fit inside. But when we placed sliders that pull from opposing ends, we managed to solve a heap of problems at once. The access became wider, it felt intuitive both left- and right-handed, and it opened up unique locations for extra pockets.”

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AND THE RESULT?

“This may sound like a cliché, but the best thing about the bag is how it has come together. The materials chosen lead to very specific and deliberate performance traits: The stability of the zip adds to the structure; the zip pullers work as toggles; the sliding quick-release buckles allow for natural compression; the offset feature stitch integrates and stabilizes the front pocket; the access allows for Pop Pockets and the best sunglasses pocket location ever (if I do say so myself). It really is a sum of its parts, and the result is the kind of balance that puts the Venture Sling 9L into its own category.”

And we hope it feels like a win for you, the wearer.

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Watch James (JJ) run through the features of the Venture Sling 9L in real time: