The FIXER Bag: USA-Made Messenger Bag w/Spy-Worthy Features (Canceled) project video thumbnail
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$7,050 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By The EST Collection
$7,050 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About

The FIXER Bag: USA-Made Modular Messenger Bag with Open-Source Organization

There are tons of great bags out there, but as an east coast-dwelling, city-hopping, office-visiting commuter and traveler… well, most of the bags on the Kickstarter market didn’t suit my purposes. 

A lot of them look like they were designed for life in the suburbs or sleepy Rocky Mountain towns.  Since I couldn't find the right bag for my needs as a Fixer, I designed my own... and hired a 70 year old factory in the US to make it.

This is The FIXER Bag:

A FIXER is a fighter, a talker, a spy, a problem-solver who can fade into the background or command attention, whatever the situation may call for... and this is the bag they wish they had. (And can have soon.)

This is a bag for the mean streets. For cities that don’t sleep. For staying light on your feet. For urban exploration and red team infiltration.  (No endorsement by Red Teams Blog intended or implied, but if you want to know what the term "Red Team" and "red teaming" means in the world of security, Google it.)

Organized, modular, flexible, protective and even bulletproof (with the optional IIIA panel from Angel Armor).  Tuned for everyday carry and destined to be a constant companion.

Modular. Adaptive. Compatible with thousands of open source accessories (hook-and-loop, MOLLE/PALS, drop-in, belt-mounted). Customizable to your mission. Full of secret and subtle features and hidden compartments.

...so many features we had to give them their own video (scroll down to the "Uses and Functions" section to see it).

Every stitch - every single stitch - has been thought through and has a purpose.

This is THE FIXER BAG, and it’s made right here in the United States (New Haven, CT to be specific) in the factory that still makes the original DeMartini messenger bag designed in 1965 upon which ALL others are based.

Download our Press Kit here.

Help us spread the word about The FIXER Bag to your friends and readers and earn 12% cash back on every one of your referrals who backs us!  Details here (it's super easy).

The EST Collection designs and creates bags with James Bond-worthy features for everyday carry and travel, with open-source organization and accessories.  

The FIXER Bag is our first bag under the EST label, but we have designed and brought hundreds of products to market for different clients in many different product categories, from apparel to housewares to tools to furniture.

Some people collect shoes or kitchen gadgets or cars or watches. I collect bags (and I'm not the only one).

Like you, I’ve spent years searching for “the perfect pack” and have come to two conclusions: 1) no single bag can do everything (nor should it) and 2) being able to easily swap out accessories lets a bag cover many more roles than ones with hard coded organization.

With those ideas in mind, I set out to design a bag that: 

  • Has one hand accessibility
  • Works with accessories from hundreds of manufacturers (no proprietary mounting systems)
  • Conceals hidden depths of secret features and has one deep-cover compartment
  • Looks great (even in a corporate environment) with a modern style and as few snag points as possible
  • Has ZERO indication of being a “tactical” bag, even though it does have “tactical” features
  • Fits your EDC essentials without being so big that it is an excuse to carry 30 extra pounds of gear 
  • Can survive any weather short of a hurricane 

Months of development and a variety of evolutions led to The FIXER Bag; my perfect pack for these purposes.  (Say it... say it 10 times fast, I dare you.)

The FIXER BAG is available in 3 variants:

Every accessory (and more!) will be available to add after the campaign if you want to put together your own specialized version from day one.

On one level, it’s a bag. It holds your stuff and lets you carry around your stuff while you’re out getting more stuff (to paraphrase George Carlin).

Look a little closer and you'll see it is engineered for you to access what you carry using just one hand.

And if you get philosophical about your bags, it’s a finely tuned instrument that allows you to effortlessly move between the many different roles you play each day… or the roles you may be called upon to play without warning.

So rather than trying to find a way to fit your life into the bag, you can adapt the bag with our accessories (or ones from any of hundreds of manufacturers) to more perfectly fit your mission. That’s what we mean by “open source” accessorizing… no arbitrary or proprietary attachment systems here.  

You can attach any hook-backed (aka scratchy Velcro®) accessory from any maker to suit your needs... even if it's totally custom gear.  We even compiled a list of some of our favorite accessory makers here to get you started, and the list covers everything from first aid to tech organization to survival gear.

There are four large loop (soft-side) panels on and in the bag, providing plenty of real estate.

Want to add MOLLE/PALS (military attachment system) accessories to your FIXER Bag?  Slap on a hook-backed PALS panel or attach our soft-side hanging panel (included with The Monty and Don't Shoot the Messenger Bag variants).

The FIXER Bag is intended to be the infinitely customizable platform for your everyday carry and can utilize accessories from nearly any manufacturer to fit your ever-changing mission.

 

Carrying your stuff safely is important, but what's the point of carrying gear if you can't access it easily?  That’s why we applied the “one hand” test to the design: the user should be able to access most of the features easily and with one hand while wearing the bag.

The Fidlock magnetic+mechanical clasp opens and closes with one hand… as long as you know the trick.

Access the contents of the bag without opening the flap. Zipper is waterproof.
Access the contents of the bag without opening the flap. Zipper is waterproof.

 

Access the subtle loop-lined back pocket quickly and easily. Can be used for quick access to life-saving gear.
Access the subtle loop-lined back pocket quickly and easily. Can be used for quick access to life-saving gear.

 

Don’t get trapped! Release the bag quickly if you need to make a fast escape.
Don’t get trapped! Release the bag quickly if you need to make a fast escape.

 

We’ve worked with overseas factories on other projects (including apparel) and have nothing against that practice. In fact, there are a lot of products that you can’t feasibly make in the USA… but this bag was not one of them.

Last year we were introduced to the owners of a bag factory in New Haven, Connecticut that has been around for over 70 years. In fact, they still produce the ORIGINAL messenger bag design from DeMartini that started it all decades ago.

We know design, they know bags and together we were able to craft something that could only be put together with face-to-face collaboration, without the $10K+ in travel expenses to line up an overseas manufacturer.

If there’s a problem, it’s a ten minute drive to meet and resolve it (twenty if I hit red lights). If there’s a misunderstanding, there is not a language barrier to overcome. We’re not translating measurements to metric… ewwww metric. We’re not waiting a month (or more) for a container to cross the ocean. Nothing is getting stuck in customs. No unannounced substitutions of materials are being made and no corners are being cut.

Does it cost more (per piece) to be Made in the USA? Yep. But factoring in everything else - especially the much lower likelihood of something going wrong - we all win.

New Haven, CT specifically has a long history as a center of commerce and culture. The home of Yale University, it’s surrounded by aerospace, medical and major manufacturing facilities. To be honest, we were lucky to be here AND to find a factory here - a fantastic introduction through our local makerspace MakeHaven made the connection.

The FIXER Bag has so many things going on that they deserved their own video.  If you prefer to read, scroll down for pics and descriptions.

EXTERNAL FEATURES 

Water-resistant with a waterproof zipper. Flap, lining and bottom are made of waterproof sailcloth.
Water-resistant with a waterproof zipper. Flap, lining and bottom are made of waterproof sailcloth.

 

Convenient drop-in pocket for ID, MetroCard, train tickets or cash hidden behind the logo patch.
Convenient drop-in pocket for ID, MetroCard, train tickets or cash hidden behind the logo patch.

 

The logo patch itself is removable and has a hidden pocket built into it. Stash cash, a Trackr unit, lock picks, etc.
The logo patch itself is removable and has a hidden pocket built into it. Stash cash, a Trackr unit, lock picks, etc.

 

Slap on a hook-backed reflective, glow-in-the-dark or FoF IR patch to be seen at night.  Shown with a third-party reflective accessory, not included.
Slap on a hook-backed reflective, glow-in-the-dark or FoF IR patch to be seen at night. Shown with a third-party reflective accessory, not included.

 

Foam-treated 1000lb. tear strength Biothane handle lays flat and out of the way… except when you need it.
Foam-treated 1000lb. tear strength Biothane handle lays flat and out of the way… except when you need it.

 

Quick release clip lets you abandon ship.
Quick release clip lets you abandon ship.

 External Access

External access to interior items through the waterproof zipper (without opening the flap).
External access to interior items through the waterproof zipper (without opening the flap).

 

Subtle, large pocket on rear is fully lined with loop-side camera bag material for attaching hook accessories (organizers, medical kits, camera gear, CCW). The lining is stitched down to stay in place when removing items from the pocket.
Subtle, large pocket on rear is fully lined with loop-side camera bag material for attaching hook accessories (organizers, medical kits, camera gear, CCW). The lining is stitched down to stay in place when removing items from the pocket.

 

 

Back pocket is sized to snugly hold a 9"x12" AngelArmor Ally One bulletproof panel (optional accessory). Less than a quarter inch thick and less than a pound, it's the lightest life insurance policy you can buy.
Back pocket is sized to snugly hold a 9"x12" AngelArmor Ally One bulletproof panel (optional accessory). Less than a quarter inch thick and less than a pound, it's the lightest life insurance policy you can buy.

Check out this independent video demonstrating the panel's effectiveness and get full specs from AngelArmor.  Please note that sales to Connecticut residents must be conducted face-to-face, so alternate delivery arrangements will be made at the conclusion of our campaign.

One-handed magnetic+mechanical Fidlock clasp. The clasp will snap together when the magnets get close enough, but you need to push the halves side to side to open it again. Great engineering.
One-handed magnetic+mechanical Fidlock clasp. The clasp will snap together when the magnets get close enough, but you need to push the halves side to side to open it again. Great engineering.

 INTERNAL FEATURES

Underflap attachment straps - carry a jacket, tripod, umbrella hands-free. You can also clip on ready-access accessories like flashlights and carabiners.
Underflap attachment straps - carry a jacket, tripod, umbrella hands-free. You can also clip on ready-access accessories like flashlights and carabiners.

 

Double loop-covered flat drop-in pockets. Carry slim essentials in the pockets and attach the optional organizer panel or any hook-backed accessory or morale patches to the front.
Double loop-covered flat drop-in pockets. Carry slim essentials in the pockets and attach the optional organizer panel or any hook-backed accessory or morale patches to the front.

 

Dual drop-in pockets are convenient for carry items you need to reach often.
Dual drop-in pockets are convenient for carry items you need to reach often.

 

 

Two stretch Tweave fabric pockets keep your computer accessories (like chargers) from bouncing around. Includes a key loop to attach your keys so you always know where they are.
Two stretch Tweave fabric pockets keep your computer accessories (like chargers) from bouncing around. Includes a key loop to attach your keys so you always know where they are.

 

Large internal loop panel provides more real estate to attach hook-backed accessories and patches. You can even stack accessories like our laptop sleeve and organizer panel and keep them connected to each other.
Large internal loop panel provides more real estate to attach hook-backed accessories and patches. You can even stack accessories like our laptop sleeve and organizer panel and keep them connected to each other.

 

Large hidden smuggler pocket you’ll need to discover for yourself. Can hold folded documents, maps, passports, cash and more.
Large hidden smuggler pocket you’ll need to discover for yourself. Can hold folded documents, maps, passports, cash and more.

 

Laptop sleeve and hanging panel are both included in the Monty package.
Laptop sleeve and hanging panel are both included in the Monty package.

The laptop sleeve fits most 13” laptops. It can be carried loose or mounted inside the bag, and other accessories can be mounted to it.

 The hanging panel has MOLLE/PALS on one side with a field of loop and a tablet pocket on the other side. It attaches with dual clips to hang inside the bag, and it can be flipped to expose or cover the PALS in many different configurations, and even be accessed through the flap zipper.

 

Attach the organizer panel (not shown) to the front, interior, laptop sleeve, attachment panel or in the back pocket. Includes slots for pens, phone and accessories with ergonomic access.

Our manufacturing partner in New Haven, CT makes bags - camera bags, backpacks, messenger bags and more - all day, every day.

Their process starts with design (which we provided) - input on feasibility - creating patterns - selecting materials - sample-making - refining and prototyping some more - trimming down the production process to be as efficient as possible - and running the same steps in the same order time and again to complete the project.

This is not a small shop or team of first-timers.  They know more about making bags than I'll ever know, and I'm thrilled to be working with them.  They are a unique resource.

 

We will be working with BackerKit for all fulfillment surveys at the end of the campaign
We will be working with BackerKit for all fulfillment surveys at the end of the campaign

 

It is just as easy to set a HUGE Kickstarter goal as it is to set a small one.

A lot of bags and other products made overseas have high minimum quantities, and cost a lot of money (travel, shipping samples, QA, tariffs, etc.) to get to the point of having something to sell. By making the product locally, we are cutting out many of those cost factors that can add up quickly.

A $10K goal - by Kickstarter bag standards - is pretty low, but it is all we need to make this project a reality. That sum allows us to initiate the first round of production and recoup some of our marketing, campaign and R&D costs.

If the project goes double, 5x, 10x or 50x over goal, the factory is able to scale up production. If we exceed our goal (see stretch levels below) we'll open up some additional options for flap materials and colors.  And with a 30K square foot factory and 20+ employees, production is not going to be an issue at any volume.

 

 

  

$25K - unlocks a red contrast stitch color option

$35K - unlocks a second color/flap material option

$50K - unlocks a third color/flap material option

$100K - we will include an amazing upgrade to ALL bags.  We have a few ideas what this could be, and as we approach this figure we'll gather opinions about what you want for the upgrade!

Thom works with successful online stores and helps them grow quickly and sustainably.  As an e-commerce consultant and product designer he has worked in the apparel, jewelry, furniture and EDC industries.  

He has been documenting the creation and development of The EST Collection (including this Kickstarter campaign and beyond) at www.ESTCollection.com/articles for other creators and e-commerce brands to learn from the journey.  If you would like to discuss what FIXER Group can do for your online store, please contact us through this campaign.

Risks and challenges

The risks for this campaign are well-managed. We are working with a reliable, local factory that has been in business for 70 years. Prototypes are done, samples are done, and production issues have all been worked through. All materials are in ample stock with vendors, and we have allowed enough extra room in the timeline to accommodate any unforeseen supply or production delays.

All parties are accountable and we plan bi-weekly face-to-face meetings to review progress throughout the campaign and production process.

If there are any delays or hints of delays, we'll be 100% transparent on the campaign page and updates. Even if we greatly exceed our goal, we should have no problem hitting our timeline.

In other words… this is what we do. Good to go.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Earliest Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (Slick)

    Save 20% for supporting us within the first day of the project! This reward is for the Slick variant - one FIXER Bag, no accessories. (All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign). Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Slick
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    Early Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (Slick)

    Save on your choice of FIXER bag by being one of the first to support us! This reward is for the Slick variant - one FIXER Bag, no accessories. (All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign). Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Slick
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    Earliest Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (Monty)

    Save 20% for supporting us within the first day of the project! This reward is for the Monty variant - one FIXER Bag plus 3 accessories (laptop sleeve, hanging tablet panel, accessories panel). All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign. Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Monty
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    Early Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (Monty)

    Be an early supporter and save! This reward is for the Monty variant - one FIXER Bag plus 3 accessories (laptop sleeve, hanging tablet panel, accessories panel). All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign. Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Monty
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $260 or more About $260

    Earliest Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (DSMB)

    Save on your choice of FIXER bag by being one of the first to support us! This reward is for the Don't Shoot the Messenger variant - one FIXER Bag, 4 accessories (laptop sleeve, tablet panel, accessories panel, 9x12" Angel Armor IIA Ally One bulletproof panel). All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign. Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.
    Because this includes a ballistic panel, US sales only. We will try to include an international option for the Angel Armor add-on at the end of the campaign.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Don't Shoot the Messenger
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    Early Bird - 1 FIXER Bag (DSMB)

    Save on your choice of FIXER bag by being one of the first to support us! This reward is for the Don't Shoot the Messenger variant - one FIXER Bag, 4 accessories (laptop sleeve, tablet panel, accessories panel, 9x12" Angel Armor IIIA Ally One bulletproof panel). All accessories will be available as add-ons after the campaign. Rewards ship on or about May 15, 2018.
    Because this includes a ballistic panel, US sales only. We will try to include an international option for the Angel Armor add-on at the end of the campaign.

    Includes:
    • FIXER Bag - Don't Shoot the Messenger
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (31 days)