Sunday, December 28, 2008

A MASSive Problem

(Above: The Fall 2008 Patagonia Critical Mass Bag in "gravel". Photo from
Uh oh.
With bags, it doesn't matter how great the features of the bag are, how indestructible the fabric is, how beautiful its design is. If THE STRAP doesn't work well, that bag is about as useful as an iPod with a broken click-wheel.
Folks, the strap on the newest version of the Patagonia Critical Mass slips! When adjusted, the locking clamp that keeps it in place...doesn't! Here's a picture from Patagonia's The Cleanest Line blog in an entry about the Critical Mass:
And I'm not hauling heavy loads around. I thought that perhaps it was just my bag that did this, but I saw that the Patagonia product page for the Critical Mass has a customer review in which the person reports the same thing. This is really disappointing. I reviewed the bag here on Patagonia Community and was quite happy with it, the only exception being the lesser fabric they're now using. But this latest development is a deal-breaker. Back to Patagonia it goes. And it puts me back on the trail in search of a solid work bag.




Anonymous Chris said...

I agree- Just got a new Critical Mass bag a couple of weeks ago and the strap is constantly slipping on me..Not what I expect for $120...

Feb 10, 2009, 1:39:00 PM  
Blogger Patagonia Community said...

I hear ya Chris. Very annoying that the strap does that. I really didn't want to believe that it was and kind of ignored it for a while, but there was no denying. I sent mine back to Patagonia with a letter and they took it back and refunded my money so if the strap is a deal breaker for you, you might want to consider taking that route.

I noticed that currently during the Winterfest Sale, the Critical Masses are down to $48. If memory serves me right, they usually don't get knocked down that low. This leads me to believe that perhaps they're redesigning the bag for this coming fall and phasing out this old design altogether.

Thanks for the comment and let me know if there's something else you'd like me to post about on the Patagonia Community.

Feb 10, 2009, 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Thanks for the review...of course, I did not listen to the advice of a few who warned that the strap slipped - "how bad can it be?" I thought. You were right.

However, I got the bag and loved it so much (plus a similarly featured Timbuk2 bag was going to run me $120 - $150 - I got my CM on sale for $96), that I found an easy solution to "strap slippage."

Here's what I did - I adjusted the strap to where I wanted it, and noted the area of the strap that sat under (and through) the clamp. I then loosened the strap so that I could get to the "clamped area", wrapped duct tape around the strap in the affected area, and re-threaded the strap.

This still allows me to adjust on the fly if I need to, yet still have the strap hold (and does not permanently alter the bag). It works in three ways:
1. Duct tape thickens the strap under the clamp
2. Duct tape gives the teeth on the clamp something to "bite" into
3. Duct tape where strap threads through the bottom of the clamp stiffens the strap, so even if the clamp is opened accidentally, the strap does not thread through as easily.

Mar 25, 2009, 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Patagonia Community said...

Sean, you must really love that bag. You've gone great lengths to make it work for you. Smart solution--sounds like it really works.

I too really liked the Critical Mass and found it to be great--except for the slippage. Thanks for the comment and I plan to get back in the swing of things with new posts soon.

Mar 27, 2009, 9:48:00 PM  

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