There are a lot of different types of material used for bag construction these days, everything from thin flimsy nylon to vinyl or canvass. Even leather. Every material has its’ purpose. There is nothing wrong with that flimsy nylon if you just need an inexpensive gym bag with no expectations of long life. If you are interested in esthetics and beauty, there’s something about the beauty of leather that’s hard to beat.
Knowing the needs of our customers for ruggedness and security, when creating the Big Namba Studio Backpack we made the decision to go with one of the most rugged materials available today and chose to use 1680D ballistic nylon. Most “specific purpose bags” today use either canvass or a nylon material. The number designation on the nylon is much like the thread count of sheets; the higher the number, the better (and more expensive) the material. Currently, there is no higher nylon rating than 1680D, meaning that Namba Gear is using the best ballistic nylon available anywhere.
As performers, one of our biggest pet peeves is arriving at our gig with a big sweat stain on our back, especially if that destination happens to be one that pays really well. That’s why Namba Gear uses a special material on the back of our backpacks that helps to absorb and wick away moisture. This material is also padded to provide an extra cushion between you and your bag. You will also notice that we use this same material for the underside of our straps for exactly the same reason.
Structurally, every backpack has its’ stress points so we thought you should be aware of them and see what Namba Gear has done to address those inherent weaknesses and allow you to compare with other products:
Strap / Body Juncture – Almost all backpacks are designed with a seam where the strap joins the body of the bag. In fact, that’s exactly how our first backpacks were designed. It is the defacto standard construction. The problem is revealed when wearing the backpack slung over just one shoulder, when carrying heavier than normal weight. Slowly but surely, the seam starts to tear loose. To address this problem, Namba Gear looked to military specs and discovered that the strap seam is moved away from the body and onto the strap area itself, which means that the beginning of the “strap” is actually a part of the body design. Although a bit more expensive to produce, it is an elegant solution to the problem.
Bag Handle – This is really two parts, fit and strength. 1) The handle design is about the ergonomics of how the handle fits your hand to carry and support a specific weight. A canvass strap may be just fine for lifting 5 lbs, but try to use it to lift 30 lbs and it’s a different story. Namba Gear uses a rubberized handle with finger grips that fits the hand perfectly and offers excellent traction control so that the handle does not slip out of the hand. 2) Handle strength is concerned with properly securing the handle to the bag so that it does not pull loose. Most handle straps are simply sewn to the body of the bag. Namba Gear handle straps are sewn to the bag, then X-stitched, and then a rivet is driven through the strap and bag.
Body Design – One of the most noticeable and unique things about our backpacks is that they have a rigid shape integrated into the design. If you take everything out of a Namba Gear backpack and set it on the floor, it does not fall into a heap of cloth at your feet. It retains its’ shape and remains upright and ready to load. That’s because between the ballistic nylon exterior, the internal padding, and the interior nylon we have inserted a thin sheet of rigid plastic. No, it’s not like having an ATA case, but it is one more layer of excellent protection for your gear. We got the idea for this shape when discussing security for all of the gear. Unlike the hiking bag concept, we took off all of the little convenience pockets on the exterior of the bag, meaning that all of the gear is inside of two large compartments to help prevent theft. When we took all of the little pockets off we discovered that this clean design and rigid construction also lends itself to a beautiful aerodynamic silhouette, perfect for bike or motorcycle riders.
Get the Most from Your Big Namba Studio Backpack
Cable Management System – It seems that we were not the only ones that had a tendency to just throw our cables in the bag at the end of a gig. But all it takes is a little organization and not only do you not spend time untangling your cables the next day, it leaves more room in the bag. Simply roll your cables in a circle, secure them with one of the Velcro cable ties that come with your bag and hang the cables on the “hooks” located in both the front and rear compartments. Be sure to let the leads drop down behind the divider to protect anything on the outside from getting scratched.
Back Compartment Opens 180° – Since the front of the bag is curved, we needed a method to use all of the space inside the back compartment so that we could accommodate as many different controllers as possible. That’s when we hit on the idea of allowing the hinges to come loose so you can lay the bag flat for quickly packing and unpacking some of those oversize mixers and controllers. To the best of our knowledge, no other bag offers this great feature.
Key Strap – One of the Namba Gear crew took a flight out of LAX to Germany, parked their car in long-term parking and dropped their keys in the front compartment of the Big Namba Studio Backpack and forgot about them. The keys promptly settled to the bottom of the bag. When they returned home, they practically had to unpack the front compartment in the parking lot to find their keys. The next day, a new feature was scheduled for the next production run as we added a strap/key fob to the interior of the front compartment. Now it is super easy to find your keys and they stay safe and secure.
Secret Stash Pocket – Whether it’s air or train tickets, some sheet music, or a notebook, sometimes you just need a pocket that is easily accessible without opening the entire bag. That’s why we slipped a big flat pocket on the back of the bag with zippered opening on the right side, keeping the items that you need handy when you need them. It’s the pocket holding your Velcro cable ties.
iPhone/iPod Pocket in Shoulder Strap – We’ve gotten so used to having our music and communication devices at our fingertips, it just doesn’t make sense to stow them inside the backpack, so we created a pocket integrated into the strap to hold these devices. The new 2014 Big Namba backpack will now fit the Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 as well.
Big Namba Studio Backpack Road Test:
Major News Network – We got the call from a Washington DC area DJ with some questions about our Big Namba back in 2011. Later on we got a call from a major network where that same DJ was employed, explaining that he had brought his bag into work and everyone flipped out over the bag and they wanted to get several of them to road test. “When we go on location, we try to hit the ground running. If possible we want everything to travel as carry-on in the plane so that we are not standing around at baggage claim for an extra 30 minutes,” the network representative explained. In 2013 that network purchased virtually every brown Big Namba Studio Backpack in the USA to outfit every location team member. Which is why we ran short of brown Big Namba’s for about four months, in case you were trying to get a brown one and couldn’t find one that year.
Fits In Overhead Compartment of Airplane – When we were deciding on the dimensions of the Big Namba, we had several goals in mind. Fit M-Audio’s Axiom 25 MIDI Keyboard, fit a 17 in. laptop computer, fit 12 in. vinyl, and legally fit the backpack in the overhead compartment of an airplane. We succeeded on all fronts, making the Big Namba Studio Backpack one of the most versatile musician bags ever. Multiple Grammy nominated artist Carmen Rizzo sent us this photo of his Big Namba on the plane to prove the point.
Rubber Feet – We’ll never forget getting the phone call from Brazilian keyboardist Thiago Pinheiro. He had just returned to Sao Paulo from a Latin American tour and told us that he had put his backpack down on the wet pavement at the airport while waiting for a taxi, and now the bottom of his bag was wet and he was afraid that it would discolor. ‘I have news for you, it rains in Brazil… a lot,’ he said. The result of that call was the addition of rubber standoffs on the bottom of the backpacks, now a standard feature for all of our larger bags.
Lockable Zippers – Not only do we use top-of-the-line zippers for our bags. The exterior zipper heads are lockable with an external luggage lock. We learned of a customer who purchased one of our bags after he had a $500 microphone stolen out of one of the convenience pockets of his bag while standing in the security line at JFK Airport in New York. The thief just unzipped the pocket reached in and came out with a beautiful microphone. Having lockable zippers means that you can stow all of your valuable gear in your bag and throw a lock on it, which will prevent someone from opening it up and checking out what is worth stealing.
Ergonomic Design – If you look at Reviews of the Big Namba, you’ll notice a common theme; Big Namba owners are pleasantly surprised at how well balanced and “light” the backpack feels once it is being worn. The straps are wide and cushioned to spread the weight, just like using a wide guitar strap on a heavy bass guitar. But it is more than that; it is also the typical weight distribution due to the interior design plan that keeps the bag from feeling like it’s going to tip you over on your back.
Philosophy of Constant Improvement – Namba Gear owner Woody Moran worked for Akai earlier in his career and was exposed to their philosophy of constant improvement and has brought that philosophy to Namba Gear. Take the Big Namba as a great example, since the backpack first hit the market in 2009 there have been twelve significant upgrades made to the bag; upgrades to make it more versatile as well as more rugged. We take a lot of pride in our products and endeavor to provide you with the best transport solutions on the planet.
BIG NAMBA FITS:
Akai MPK 25
American Audio VMS4
American Audio VMS4.1
Gemini DJ G2V DJ
M-Audio Axiom 25
M-Audio Axiom 25 Pro
M-Audio Oxygen 25
M-Audio Torq Xponent
Native Instruments Machine Studio
Native Instruments S2
Novation Bass Station II
Novation Launchkey 2
Novation 25SL MKII
Novation ReMote 25
Novation Zero SL MKII
Numark iDJ Pro
Numbark iDJ Pro
Numark Mixtrack II
Numark Mixtrack Pro II
Numark Mixtrack Quad
Reloop Jockey 3 Remix
Reloop Terminal Mix 2
Samson Graphite 25