Hammarhead Industries Day Pack
Posted on April 9, 2012
In light of recent events regarding Hammarhead Industries’ customer service reputation, we would like to warn our readers against purchasing from them online. While their online shop is still ‘functional’ in the sense that you can still pay for an item, they have not been responsive to any customer inquiries regarding lost payments, deposits, or delivery of product. Their lack of any kind of presence is disappointing for us, as I’m sure it does for you, and we will keep our readers abreast of any information that might help them recoup their losses.–
Hammarhead Industries just released the newest addition to their line of soft goods, the HHI Day Pack. Built at the request of a Jack Pine (modified Triumph Scrambler) customer, this bomb-proof bag is made out of the toughest materials available and paired down to the absolute (modern) necessities. 15″ laptop sleeve, iPad sleeve, Kindle & passport sleeve. No key-ring, no ice-axe loops, and no headphone port for your discman. But how big is it, you ask? The HHI Day Pack is specifically designed to hold an entire bag of groceries standing up. The steaks and beer you will carry in it are kept safe from the elements by boot leather stitched onto 15oz Martexin Waxed Duck Canvas. The straps are the same that hold you into a racing harness, and the buckles are designed to attach you to a parachute. Oh yea, and it only comes in black. Matt Trigaux, Creative Director for Hammarhead Industries, invited The American Classic down for some photos and his first exclusive interview. Afterward, we chased Mason around Philadelphia on a Jack Pine to show you just how nicely this thing carries your daily necessities, be it steaks & beer, cameras & clothes, or gasoline & croissants.
What inspired the creation of the backpack?
The Day Pack was inspired from one of our Jack Pine customers asking for a backpack recommendation to ride with.
I understand everything was made in the USA; can you tell me more about the choice of materials and their source?
We spent 8 months testing different materials and hardware to find what made it to the final cut. The first thing I did was go to an army surplus stores and buy 30 old military bags. Some were in such bad shape the straps literally fell off before I was out of the store. I went home and dissected each one, looked at the different sizes, hardware used, interior materials, etc. I’ve found using old neglected bags is one of the best ways to see how different fabrics hold up with little to no upkeep.
We ended up going with American made 15 oz Martexin Wax Cotton for the main construction of the bag. We wanted to use something that was waterproof, would last, and break in beautifully over time. We experimented with a bunch of different weights of waxed cotton before deciding on the 15oz. For the bottom we used black leather salvaged from a NYC shoemaker, the buckle is a USA made parachute buckle, nylon webbing is sourced from guys that make racing car harnesses in the Midwest.
What challenges presented themselves during the prototyping of bag? Were there initial considerations for exactly what you wanted the bag to accomplish, or was it heavily adapted during prototyping?
The biggest thing for us was really stripping a bag down to it’s essential elements. Use a roll top to secure the main compartment, use one strap and a big buckle as the only closure which doubles as a haul loop. The size was very important as well, for me living in a city, if a bag can’t fit a full bag of groceries it’s pretty much worthless. I don’t want to have to switch bags, I want one that can do everything, but I also don’t want one that is too big that can’t secure my laptop, like I found with my old messenger bags and courier backpacks.
We went through several prototypes before arriving at the final bag. We tweaked the pattern, materials, and hardware, finding the main buckle was the most challenging piece. We found most buckles that can fit the width strap we wanted were way too big and heavy to be used on a bag. Most of the buckles we tried we felt were too complicated, their original purposes are usually for rock climbing, sailing, stuff like that, they need to be rated to hold 1,000lbs so they often look really tactical. The buckle we ended up going with was the simplest one we found. It is made out of two pieces of metal with one internal spring, I spent 4 hours one day trying to break it, couldn’t do it, that’s when I knew it would work.
How long have you been testing this design for? I remember you had an early model at Oktoberfest last year, and recently you were testing it out during a build in Paris…
We’ve been testing and tweaking the prototypes for 6 months, 2 months prior was design and material experiments. We had final prototypes for a motorcycle build we did in Paris this past January. That was the first time I had been on a plane with the bag, the size was perfect for a carry-on and I had all my camera equipment, laptop, and clothing in it. That was really the moment when I felt like it was finished.
How did you bring Hammarhead’s design philosophy to the execution of the bag?
At Hammarhead we’re always seeing how we can strip down what we’re designing to it’s elements. It’s easy to add stuff on, much harder to edit and take away. We also don’t make anything new if it already exists. We have a custom handlebar switch that James developed specifically for our motorcycles to serve as the horn, hi beam, and turn signal indicator, all in one control. He searched for months to find one that was simple and well made, out of metal not plastic. It just didn’t exist, so we went ahead and had it made. This bag derived from the same mentality, when we realized we couldn’t recommend a riding bag to our customer, we decided to make our own.
During the testing, what was the biggest/most ridiculous thing you’ve carried in here?
The biggest was probably a 24 case of Dogfish Head 90 Min IPA along with some other stuff. Most ridiculous was probably the 1/2 gallon of gasoline and bag of croissants I had in there while in Paris.
Even fully loaded, the HHI day pack fits perfectly into the middle of your back. This is due in no small part to the parachute buckles and harness straps, which are easy to adjust (even with gloves on) and stay exactly where you cinch them. I always believe that form follows function, and Hammarhead definitely nailed down both points on this one. Go ahead and carry everything you need to take care of business, without looking like you’re a mountaineer or bike messenger.
i’ve been looking for a really nice backpack for a while now. This one looks great! I’ll have to add it to my list and seriously consider it.
nice interview too.
Thanks for reading, Ahmed! Let us know what you think of the bag if you decide to snag one.
Really beautiful bag, and practical design.. I’m looking to purchase a small pack to replace my 65L while traveling.. the site says it’s 22L. Is that when it’s fully unrolled? Is there a way to see it full to the top and still latch closed? Also, what is the actual weight of the pack unloaded. Thanks!
ps.. does it really take 3 months to receive =/
Hey thanks for asking. I’m not sure of the exact specs of the bag as we didn’t manufacture it and don’t sell it ourselves (it’s all through HHI). I’m going to send Matt, their creative director, a note and have him take a look at your message here. He’ll have exact numbers for you and maybe a photo or two as well.
I ordered and paid for a HH day pack back in January 2013 from Hammarhead Industries. There were a lot of excuses provided as to why my order was so delayed so I asked for a refund in July. My order was cancelled on July 19, 2013 and I still don’t have my refund. No one is returning my emails and I can’t locate a phone number for the shop. Don’t waste your money on these thieves!
Hey Gary, sorry to hear of your troubles. I spoke with a friend over at Hammarhead who said the best they can do right now is provide an email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Wish we could be of more help! Best of luck.
While Hammarhead has nice designs, James Loughead AKA James Hammarhead took a deposit from me to build a Jack Pine. This was in June of 2012. There were many attempts to have my deposit returned and all resulted with “the checks in the mail.” In December I finally had to hire an attorney in Philadelphia and James agreed to a monthly payment plan to return my money. Every month James had to be reminded to send the money. The last $2,000 payment was to be made July 1st. That is when James disappeared.
If anyone has a lead on him, I sure would like to have the remainder of my deposit returned. My contact info is email@example.com
It looks like he is well on his way to destroying his reputation and business. I do feel bad for the guy, I am sure he had big dreams, however it looks like he is taking down individuals with him which really sucks.
We’re extremely disappointed to hear this. Like we mentioned in an earlier comment, after trying to contact Hammarhead in an attempt to help others sort this business out, all we were able to ascertain was his email address. I personally have not had any contact with James in nearly a year since our article was posted. Hopefully one of our readers will be able to help you, and we’ll keep our ears to the ground regarding any news on the subject.
Many thanks Steve!
On the 15th June 2013, i ordered the HHI Day Pack from Hammarhead Industries (www.hammarhead.com). I sent an email regarding the shipment and on the 21st June 2013 – which was the last I heard from them – their creative director MATT TRIGAUX (firstname.lastname@example.org; @TrickGo) replied that they are at a 5 week production queue.
Matt Trigaux lied to me. I checked with their manufacturer d’emploi, and they told me Hammarhead Industries have not made any shipment for some time already. (This was done on the 10th Sept 2013)
It is now 13th Sept 2013 and I have still not received my package. Nor any reply from Matt Trigaux or anyone from Hammerhead Industries.
Hammarhead Industries, James Loughead and Matt Trigaux, along with their staffs are a bunch of dirty swindlers and liars
I cannot believe that this is still an ongoing issue with Hammarhead Industries. We’re keeping the article posted so that the comments will remain visible, but in light of recent events I will amend the beginning and warn against purchasing anything from them. Again, we apologize for misleading anyone; Hammarhead had a lot of great product and was run by a good group of people… we were shocked to see comments like this, and have no idea where, when, or why things went bad. As I mentioned in another reply, we will keep our readers informed if anything surfaces that can help you recoup your losses.
if anyone is interested I have an HH1 back that I used for a week and is now sitting in storage box that I would sell. The bag is beautiful but now that I’m not riding I don’t have much use for it. $333.00
email me at email@example.com
Sorry, dlucas2, I am not trying to kill your sale — perhaps it already happened — but if anyone wants a great pack to use on a motorcycle, don’t ever buy an HH1. Don’t buy one at a discount. Don’t accept one as a gift. As a pack, it looks OK and is roomy. So if you are the type who wants to carry it to your job or if you are a hipster who needs something “cafe” so you can tote your laptop and mustache wax over to the craft nano brewery in Park Slope, buy it. But as a motorcycle pack, it’s borderline useless. I have one and put about 1000 miles on it in fall, winter and summer in Seattle. The problems? The useless extras material on the shoulder straps will beat you like an agitated dominatrix at any speed over 30 mph. (Why not make a place to tuck them?) The open pockets fill with water. The “parachute” hardware won’t hold the straps threaded. Twice I had to get the unraveling seams restitched by an upholstery shop.(The person who did the work openly mocked the quality of the original HH1 stitching.) I cannot fathom that the reviewer actually used one before writing this puffy review. It was such a shitty pack for riding I put it away nearly two years ago. I recently ran across it in my basement and was so immediately irritated by its very existence that I decided to post the review I forgot to write after buying one. Now I learn that the company was run by shitbirds. Big surprise. A judge should make James Loughead wear one during a cross-country ride on one of his overpriced, high-mileage no-front-fender JackShits. The beating he’d take would be partial recompense.
Thanks for the insight. Obviously these bags aren’t being sold anymore as Hammarhead has effectively bit the dust. Good to know the quality overall wasn’t all it was made out to be. We wrote the review as part of a package deal with Hammarhead; we were hired to shoot the product and promo shots way back at the bags release so this went in tandem with it (hence the original post being from two years ago). I did, however, enjoy your line about the “agitated dominatrix”. Thanks again for the comment.
I considered buying this particular bag years ago when I first saw it pop up online. Feeling nostalgic and curious if this bag was still available, I went searching and came across this blog post. Of particular note was your review, Mike — I got a good laugh out of it. Cheers.
Thanks Mike, that’s an awesome post and I really enjoyed reading it.
While I have not sold my bag at this time I do plan on keeping it I so have to interject and say the the quality and usefulness of this bag is simply not subpar by any means. The bag is made by d’emploi out of NYC and they are true old school craft men their product is over built I will agree with that but that’s a positive in our disposable society.