Sometimes, creating a great product is all about the big things; coming up with an entirely new concept, innovating the use of radically new materials, engineering superior mechanics and so on. More often, though, it seems to come down to the little things. Whether that involves scrutinizing materials, the finer points of form and function, refining existing designs or listening to and incorporating customer feedback; companies whose design and manufacturing philosophy revolve around honing even the most minute details often build the best products.
Spend even a few minutes talking with Vedavoo founder Scott Hunter -- as he describes pattern making and stitching refinements and improvements that many of Vedavoo's most popular slings and packs have seen over their life cycle, waxes lyrical about fabrics and their sources, or talks excitedly about discoveries they've made about their own designs over the years -- and it becomes abundantly clear just how important the little things are at Vedavoo. And the thing about all those little things, is that they quickly add up to become big things.
Hunter's designs start out with deliberate attention to detail and an eye on solving existing problems. Vedavoo's Tight Lines sling pack has been, for years, the only sling pack that stays put on the stream without the need for an infuriating secondary strap. That's right, no strap to swat and grasp at, get caught in your net or tangle in your stripped off fly line when you forget to clasp it, or just generally be a pain in the ass -- and yet the Tight Lines sling doesn't end up on your head or flying over your shoulder when you land a fish or bend down to look under a rock. Quips that this invaluable feature was a consequence of the Tight Lines' relatively small carrying capacity were laid to rest when Vedavoo introduced the Tight Lines 'Beast' sling pack this past year, which offers the ability to carry large fly boxes, a jacket, a water bottle and all manner of other gear and features the same stability and proper function sans auxiliary strap that its little brother does.
Ask Hunter how it's done, and the answer comes steeped with details, considerations that went into the original designs, common sense applications of concepts like center of gravity and even thoughtfulness about technicalities like the volume of an anglers water bottle both when full in the morning and empty in the evening after a long day of angling.
Vedavoo's philosophy extends beyond function and to form, as well. Materials and their uses are heavily scrutinized and refined as products and designs see time in the field. Components that don't live up to expectations are replaced.
Quality is paramount. While most packs on the market are built using pack cloth, Vedavoo's are built using American-made (in Rhode Island) 1000 Denier Cordura fabric for the exterior and are lined with 500 Denier Cordura, both of which have three layers of DWR waterproofing applied. Not only is Cordura incredibly more durable, tear and puncture resistant, it's also self-healing. While pack cloth typically contains a grid of interwoven rip-stop fabric to contain holes and tears, Cordura doesn't need it, and even rebounds from infrequent mishaps -- in many cases to like-new condition -- with little more than a bit of a massage. The magic is in the strength of the individual fibers used in the weave, which are more likely to be pushed aside rather than break in the case of a puncture or other stress-related damage. Slice it with a knife and, well, you're likely still out of luck.
The result of this dedication to quality, according to Hunter, is six years of business without a single quality-related return.
And the folks Vedavoo aren't the only ones looking to ways to refine and perfect their products -- their customers are too, and Hunter and his team are listening. A call from a new owner of the Tight Lines 'Beast' pack this year revealed that the sling was virtually pre-built to accept a water bladder, given a few small modifications that would help keep things in place. The result? Those few small modifications are now part of the Beast's design and all new packs that Vedavoo builds will ship water bladder-ready.
It's also no small thing that all of Vedavoo's products are American made from the ground up, even down to the sourcing of components wherever possible -- fabrics, buckles, zippers, Velcro, webbing and even the thread used to sew Vedavoo's packs and accessories are all made in the U.S.A.
Vedavoo's philosophy is one that focuses on details, problem solving and getting things right. All told, it's an amalgamation of little things that, put together, make Vedavoo's offerings what they are -- products that often stand out amongst the competition and rise above the crowd -- and that's something big.