What Were They Thinking?! – Bag Dimensions Edition

When the IATA dropped the mic on its recent bombshell plan to standardise, and – for many airlines– reduce carry-on allowances, we wrote about how this would affect Minaal users.

Spoiler: not at all.

If you haven’t read the whole piece, here’s the short version: because we (and you) have an international focus, we deliberately built the bag with international airlines in mind. A lot of those airlines have a 20cm(7.87in) depth restriction, meaning a bunch of bags sold as ‘carry-on size’ in the US will get your bag thrown in the hold and your wallet attacked by fees once you cross the Pacific or Atlantic.

But that’s not the only reasoning behind the 55x35x20cm design.

Just like you, we prefer to believe that airlines don’t dictate our life choices! FREEDOOOOOM!

So… what were we thinking?!

1) Stay Close, Young Samurai

The fundamental rule of carrying weight is that you want it to be as close to your body as possible. The further away from your body, the more unbalanced you are, and the more strain it puts on your muscles and spine just to keep it upright and moving forward.

Drawing of the 'Ouch Zone'

Think of a see-saw – as long as Big Uncle Bobby keeps his bulk close to you, there’s no movement at all. As he slides back towards the opposite end, the leverage increases and you start moving in relation to his weight – moving alarmingly quickly, if Uncle Bobby decides to jump up and down like the irredeemable sadist that he is.

See-Saw by Toshihiro Oimatsu

Photo cred: Toshihiro Oimatsu via Creative Commons.

The same goes when designing a bag. If the weight isn’t concentrated near your back, it’ll feel like it’s dragging you to the ground. When you’re strolling out of the co-working space, or hiking aggressively with your game face on, you want the load to be as snug as possible so that it doesn’t leverage you like Bobby.

(On a side note, this issue is why trampoline-style airflow systems designed to hold the pack away from your back can be a dangerous idea).

During the product development process, we opted to maximise carry comfort by keeping the load closer to your back, which in turn relates to the next reason:

2) Same Space, Bigger Load

Because we wanted to give ultimate flexibility in how you pack the bag –and stay as lightweight as possible – we held back on internal walls and structuring in the main compartment.

As a result, you can fit a lot more in the Minaal than you can in other bags of the same dimensions. Which is obviously A Good Thing for one bag travel; in saying that, it means the weight load can get serious.

As weight increases, it’s more and more important to keep that load close to your centre of gravity – hence the slim depth.

3) Handle It

A core functionality of the bag is the side carry handle. The more depth the bag has, the more awkward it is to carry in side mode. ‘Nuff said.

4) The Bag Is Basically, Pretty Much, In Some Ways, A Dolphin

Dolphin Jumping by Randolph Croft

Photo cred: Randolph Croft via CreativeCommons.

While we haven’t (yet) tested the Minaal in a windtunnel, there’s a natural relationship between shape and appearance. Which of these animals looks more streamlined, sleek, and fast-moving: the dolphin or the warthog?

Warthog Functional Diagram

Photo cred: Quinn Dombrowski viaCreative Commons.

Which of these cars looks like it gets from A to B more efficiently?

Car Comparison Example

Photo cred: Photobeppus andNetcarshow.com viaCreative Commons

The more square a shape is, the more resistance it faces, and the slower you assume it is.

Because we’re all about efficiency and productivity, we knew we wanted a more streamlined profile. A look that turns heads in the office, and in transit. That meant smooth corners, a slim shape, and minimal branding.

And that, dear friends, is the story of 55x35x20.

Are there any other features that make you ask ‘What Were They Thinking?!’

Some unidentified assailants have chained us to our chairs and there’s nothing else to do except write answers. So email feedback[at]minaal[dot]com or tweet us any time! We’ll be here for an indefinite period, apparently.


J & D

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