A bag for life...
Many sporting products display at least one or two areas of weakness after a few seasons of use. But after 10 years of impeccable service, Leonard Carr's Snowbee Wet Sack has proven itself as a rugged and faultless piece of kit.
When studying for my final year exams at school, there was a term I came across in my product design textbook which I struggled to comprehend, let alone pronounce, and quite frankly changed the way I looked at life: ʻplannedʼ or ʻbuilt-in obsolescenceʼ. So I asked my favourite teacher Mr. P. – who spent hours researching new toys, gismos and software to include as topics for the following weekʼs lessons – to explain the phrase.
“Oh itʼs quite simple really”, he said. “Planned obsolescence is like a sell-by date for products. Take for example that ʻbrand-newʼ Playstation console you want to buy, well, itʼs already using outdated software. The next model, and possibly the model after that, will have already been designed and tested. When sales drop, or a competitor like Xbox release something new, Playstation will do the same to generate long-term sales volume.
“Built-in obsolescence is slightly different, in the way that everyday products are built to withstand limited use so they have to be replaced at some point. They could make them bullet-proof and indestructible, but people would never need to buy another one and, as a result, they would have to be super expensive.
“Hereʼs an example!” he said. “Do you and your Dad ever pack a flask of tea with you when you go fishing?” – ʻDo fish live in water?ʼ I thought. Well, has it ever leaked?” With that he smiled and left for the staff room.
The 5pm bell rang shortly after and I too left the building for home. I remembered numerous occasions when Dad and I ate moist sandwiches and drank lukewarm beverages, and recalled drying out tea-stained car mats and picnic bags as a result of poorly-designed flasks. I also recalled my “waterproof” coats that leaked, the sodden contents of my school bag, and shoes that squelched as I walked. Was that the manufacturerʼs plan all along?
Since that night, I have found great pride in finding products that are built to last and exceed fair use. I have also convinced myself to not fall into the trap of catching an ISD (Impulsive Spending Disorder) by not wanting to buy the latest gadgets and gismos when released, and save money by buying good-label food containers as even the best will leak. Poundland specials with Sellotape around the edges work a treat.
However, I believe there is one item which defies the principle of built-in obsolescence – the Snowbee Wet Sack. The design is over 10-years-old and the only change in that time is that it comes three sizes. It is multi-functional, very quick and easy to clean, the handles are thick and comfortable to hold, and I and many other fishers have great confidence in it. Rarely will you go to Rutland Water on a busy day and not see at least a couple dozen of them in the car park – admittedly I have three!
It was initially designed to carry a full dayʼs catch with ample water to keep the fish cool, or to transport a few live fish from stock pond to lake over a short distance. The zipper is very strong and reliable but not of waterproof design, so you can pour some of the water out if the bag becomes too heavy. But being so waterproof they keep the water out just as well as in, so act as drybags, too. They are invaluable to my fieldsports today and I use them for everything. From cartridges to partridges, wet drogues to spare clothes... you name it, they've carried it. And its modest price tag – just £18.99 – is yet another thing to celebrate.
A recent trip during this winterʼs monsoon rain season proved just how waterproof the sacks are. I was taking part in a smallwater fishing competition, and so I packed my waders, boots, waterproof coats, and waistcoat in one bag; my reels, fly boxes, lines, spare lines, leader materials and packed-lunch in another; along with a third bag to carry fish.
Despite the raging tempest the day was awesome. No blanks, lots of fish, and the top Rod caught 17 rainbow trout. I finally arrived home at 11.30pm, having carefully maneuvered around the heavily-flooded roads, which added at least another hour to the journey, and I was more than ready for bed. I still emptied the car, hung out my sodden waterproofs, when I thought Iʼd better dry my reels and rods, too.
As I lifted the tackle bag I heard a sickening sloshing sound. The shelter, hot drinks and delicious butties the hosts provided due to the wet weather, had made my packed lunch redundant. The flask Iʼd packed in the morning was practically empty; my precious reels, lines, and fly boxes were all swilling around in cold, milky tea. After another hour spent laying out all my fly boxes like dominoes and rinsing off every piece of tackle, I was more than ready for bed.
Yes, I have now found the perfect bag, but I am definitely still searching for the perfect flask.
The Snowbee Wet Sacks have proved a best seller for us for a long time now. We've always had a reputation for excellent value and great quality products too, and when you have one you don't need to change for years you know you are onto a winner. We have always had a strong range of bags and the new Heritage Bag (shown HERE) is also proving another popular addition to the Snowbee portfolio this year. Combine this with products like the new waterproof breathable sweaters and the reason for the growth and success in the fishing, clothing and outdoor market for the company starts to become obvious.
One clear objective Snowbee has always upheld, has been that of always looking to continually improve. This goes for any product, task or challenge set before us and however good a product may appear, we will look to improve and perfect it if we are able and have a strong reputation for innovation and great quality. For 2016 we have introduced 6 pages of new and improved products to our annual catalogue, already packed full of first class items for the game fishing market and all manner of country pursuits.