Having a customer bring a problem like this is invaluable because it identifies market niches. From a designer’s point of view, it’s also really fun to work on projects that aren’t a part of the scheduled production pipeline and a great learning opportunity.
Case in point: this Surefire light pouch.
A light configured this way can’t be bought from Surefire; it’s been pieced together by the end user. Little wonder a pouch solution doesn’t exist. These were the requirements as communicated by the customer: securely holds light bezel up, sides of pouch extend to just under lamp assembly, removable/adjustable lid flap, secures with hook and loop, section of loop sewn onto the lid flap.
The pictures speak for themselves. It’s a minimalist pouch with very clean lines.
While the customer communicates what he wants, there’s usually room for the designer to exercise some creativity. Having someone who knows how to really build gear is a good starting point. Having someone with extensive end user experience is better.
Structure is everything in this pouch design and it shows in all the ways corners weren’t cut. This wasn’t a generic pouch. It was exactingly sized and cut to a very specific profile. The contour had to fit the light perfectly; too tight it’s worthless to the user and too loose, it’s an inefficient design with wasted space. The backing is doubled over 1.5″ webbing, the body is two layers of laminated 1000D Cordura with an HDPE plastic insert to ensure the pouch keeps it’s shape.
A lot of pouch designs use pleated ends. That’s where the bottom of the pouch is folded and sewn down against the backing while the pouch billows out as it extends upwards. It’s a relatively easy way to build a pouch but doesn’t necessarily make the most efficient use of available space. Depending on the size and shape of the contents, the item may never actually bottom out on a pleated pouch. That’s because the pouch gets progressively narrower the lower it goes. At some point, the width of the item won’t fit any deeper into the pouch and there is wasted space at the bottom. Down Range Gear doesn’t build pouches like that unless there is a specific reason. Creating a pouch with boxed corners can be both time consuming and more complicated to design. If a corner is properly boxed and the internal volume is a rectangle, all of the space and the entire footprint of the pouch is used. That’s a Down Range Gear design signature.
This pouch was designed to be PALS (MOLLE) compatible with the use of Tactical Tailor MALICE Clips. This is the preferred method of attachment at Down Range Gear, even for belt pouches. Why? It allows the user to attach the pouch on multiple platforms. The MALICE Clip also makes an incredibly secure and durable plastic belt loop. That said, the MALICE Clip is not inherently stable on a belt without an adapter. Combined with an item like the MALICE Clip Belt Stabilizer or PALS Belt Platform, both of which are built with either Velcro or high friction, nonslip liners, the pouch is superior in the belt mounted role to any purpose built belt loop design on the market today.
We really love working on gear. Take a look at the pictures. Imagination precedes design made real with nylon and thread. We lavish a lot of time on the photography. The picture files are huge and detailed. Zoom in close and you’ll see the weave of the fabric and minutiae like obsessive attention to symmetry and stitch lines. Can you tell we’re having fun? Does it come through in the pictures? Building cool gear never gets old.