Posted July 23, 2013 in News and Events by Jim Markel
Red Oxx Bags are tough. The only way to build a bag that can stand the test of time is to build each one by hand right here in Billings, Montana. CEO Jim Markel explains the manufacturing process and shares them with you here.
Step 1 – Patterns & Cuts
In an age where most everything is made offshore, or built by subcontractors and then represented as Red Oxx stands apart from the herd. By building bags from scratch here in our Montana factory, this philosophy has always been our favored path.
To build quality bags, we start with quality American-sourced materials. Quality hardware, zippers, and fabric. By selecting high quality raw materials at the beginning of the process, you are assured tested strength in every Red Oxx item.
The first step in our manufacturing process begins at the cutting table where layers of colored fabric are stacked. Selected bag patterns are then hand traced. The skill required to hand cut with precision is something that our cutting department prides itself on. They’re also experts at calculating yields. It takes a trained eye for scanning fabric for potential flaws before the construction beings of any bags.
Step 2 – Sewing & Assembly
Our highly talented group of sewing specialists takes the cuts and builds "sub-assembly" pieces that often include hardware. For example, the handclasp that’s on nearly every bag we build. Each handclasp is cut, stitched, then turned inside out, restitched and the snaps are added. Since the handclasp is the most touched part of a bag, we made it one of the strongest.
After seeing some bags come in with failed Velcro, we adopted steel snaps instead. Velcro has a limited lifespan. We have yet to see a failed snap from hard use. Sure, it might take a second longer to snap your clasp, but at least you won’t have to send the bag in for repair in a couple years.
During this stage, each sub-assembly is meticulously quality checked before moving along to the next step in the build process. This eliminates waste and improves quality during production.
Step 3 – Grommets, Snaps & Cords
Our American materials suppliers are also known for providing much of the hardware and soft goods used by the U. S. military. With our background as military parachute riggers we expect the same sort of durability out of our finished gear. These materials are known as "Mil-Spec&uot;.
By selecting high quality raw materials at the beginning of the process, we do our best to assure maximum strength in every Red Oxx item. When push comes to shove and you’re stuck in the nether regions of Bagmanistan, you’ll appreciate the minimal weight heavy-duty raw materials possess because of the strength they provide. If something does happen to break, our "No Bull" lifetime warranty has your back.
Step 4 – Monkey Fists, Claws & Final Inspection
Rigger check! At the end of the line it comes time to turn out and inspect each and every item. The rigger motto is "I will be sure always" and we grant our quality control department full authority to reject any item for any reason.
Such as the handclasp. Loose stitching or bad tension can send a handclasp to the reject bin. Monkey Fists are added to every zipper pull and the Claw Shoulder Strap to each appropriate bag.
Step 5 – Packing, Shipping & Tracking
After surviving birth, your gear makes a block and half journey from our factory to our factory outlet store. Once there, it’s received into inventory, processed and packed up for the much longer journey to your door.
Since all of our production and sales are done here in Billings, Montana, we like to say "not sold in a store near you".
Cheers, Jim Markel CEO