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#126346 - 01/05/10 09:05 PM Cordlock idea wins award!!
jacket_inserts Offline

Registered: 10/31/04
Posts: 133
Mmh. I had missed the advent of the one-year expiry date of the posts on this forum. It seems that its usefulness as a repository of gear making wisdom and information is greatly diminished by that. Too bad.

Since I can’t revive the old thread, I’ll have to start a new one. Over four years ago I published on my web page a paper on the effectiveness of tethered springlocks for one-handed use, demonstrating that the bottom-tethered units found on most garments actually work against their intended one-handed use, requiring a much stronger pull on the cord to tighten than the units are capable of holding at rest ( This led me to suggest improvements in springlock and cordlock designs to a pretty broad sample of big-name hardware, backpack, garment and shoe manufacturers. In particular, I suggested that, in addition to making springlock designs that require far less force to release, it would make a lot of sense to add tether bails at the back end of cordlocks, thereby creating a handy one-handed pull-pull system for backpack or shoe closure.

I was mentioning recently in a conversation that I could not believe that I have been publishing on, and advocating for better tethered spring- and cord-lock systems for over 4 years to no avail and that prompted me to check on the “to no avail” part with a quick browse through the main websites (ITW Nexus, National Molding, etc.). So you can imagine my shock when I realized that ITW Nexus has in fact produced just what I had specifically recommended to them over three years ago. It’s the Cyberian cordlock and it won the outdoor industry award at the 2008 International Forum Design in Hanover!! Despite that I have not yet seen it on any commercial gear, which goes to show that, even if you’re ITW Nexus and you win an award for a new product, it may still be a few years before the manufacturers that boast so much of being at the cutting edge of innovation actually adopt it.



#126507 - 01/08/10 12:16 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: jacket_inserts]
DJ2 Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I checked out the Nexus website and found the cordlock you mention. Pretty cool. It must be satisfying to see your idea put to use.

I suggested an improvement in carbon fiber tent stakes to a company and they incorporated it into their stakes. I found that rewarding. I like sharing ideas and have no interest in making money from them.

I see, looking around the Nexus website, that they have other products they include under the cyberian line.

#126574 - 01/09/10 10:49 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: DJ2]
jacket_inserts Offline

Registered: 10/31/04
Posts: 133
Thanks DJ2. As you can tell from the thread title, what really floored me was that not only they made the product but they also won an award for it.

Up to now, my experience with suggestions to manufacturers has been a 1) polite response from a customer service person, 2) dead silence from the product development people that the suggestion was really aimed at, and 3) no implementation. Exceptionally, I got a bit of feedback from the MEC pdt dev. people but still no implementation (tick 1, nix 2, tick 3).

So yeah the situation with the Cyberian cordlok is pretty neat and I definitely prefer this scenario of tick 1, tick 2, nix 3. Especially since I'm hoping to score some free samples out of it. I've installed "caged" springlocks on all my backpacks and get frustrated when I must fumble with a free springlock instead of just yanking on the cord to close it.

However, for heavier/larger packs, springlocks are not the most secure way to grip the cord. Unfortunately, there is no way to make a "cage" for a cordlock to turn it to a one-handed system. So, until someone finally decided to make a cordlock with a bail bar, caged springlocks was the only option for me.

Maternity & baby-carrying jkt inserts:

#126584 - 01/10/10 02:49 AM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: jacket_inserts]
Rick Offline

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I like your idea of the tethered cordlocks. I don't quite understand how the ITW work, but yours outlined on your website I do. Very simple but effective improvement.

About two years ago I corresponded with the customer service folks at Globalstar Satellite. I wanted them to make available the times for a specific location that there would be overhead satellites to acquire a signal for reception. About six months after that they posted the service on their website. Now one can input their location and get all the times and durations that a satellite will be overhead. It only shows these times for a period of four days so I have been after them to increase this time frame, to no avail.

So yeah, it is satisfying to be listened to.

Edited by Rick (01/10/10 02:50 AM)

#126589 - 01/10/10 08:49 AM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: jacket_inserts]
Nek Offline

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 4
Loc: MI
My latest purchase of a UnderArmor jacket has that exact same thing on it. I was a bit surpised by it as this was my first go around with a tethered cord lock.

#126677 - 01/11/10 08:50 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: Rick]
jacket_inserts Offline

Registered: 10/31/04
Posts: 133
Originally Posted By Rick
I like your idea of the tethered cordlocks. I don't quite understand how the ITW work, but yours outlined on your website I do.

let's get the terminology out of the way first. In the industry, the term cordlock seems pretty generally accepted to mean the flat units that really lock the cinched cord tight (and lock it more, the tighter the cord) and that are released by pulling back on a button or a ring. They are most often installed on closures that use static cord and need a secure lock (eg backpack skirts, shoe laces). What I call springlocks are also often referred to as toggles. They are also used for backpack closures sometimes but are much more suited than the cordlocks for elastic cord applications, which is why I was surprised at Nek's statement that he's got the Cyberian cordlock on a jacket.

My springlock cage system works for springlocks but is a bit of a pain to install and, as I mentioned, cannot work on cordlocks. I assume that the Cyberian cordlock works as I thought a tethered cordlock should work. If you picture a standard ring-pull cordlock tethered at the back to the cord casing of a backpack skirt, you can easily imagine that you will be able to:
1. close the skirt by just yanking on the cord with one hand (instead of using one hand to pull the cord and the other to slide the cordlock), and
2. open it by pulling outward simultaneously on the ring and on the opposite end of the skirt closure (two hands required but still one motion, as opposed to sliding the cordlock down the cord with one motion and opening the skirt closure with two hands in a separate motion).

With a smaller version of this system installed on the tongues of a pair of shoe, you can picture that you could close and open both shoes simultaneously with both hands, since step 2 already has your heel holding the opposite end of the opening.

Instead of a ring, the Cyberian has a second bail bar to which you can sew a small webbing tab (or a bigger one if the cordlock is meant to be used with mitts on). I'm quite eager to get some and see how it works on both static and elastic cord and I'll definitely be on the look-out for it in the stores.

#127690 - 01/30/10 10:45 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: Nek]
jacket_inserts Offline

Registered: 10/31/04
Posts: 133
Nek: where are the Cyberian cordlocks installed on your underarmor jacket, with what type of cord (elastic or static?) and do they work for one-hand operation?

I've received 5 free cyberian cordlock from ITW Nexus. The message could not have been any clearer: “WE DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING. You'll get the same number of free samples we would give anyone with a half-legitimate reason for requesting them”. And the more I look at them, the more I think that they may be right and that I probably should have waited to test the samples before I titled this thread as I did.

The design does combine several of the concepts I explained in the test paper on one-hand operated springlocks (1, 2 & 3 below) and in subsequent messages to ITW Nexus (4). However I'm actually wondering if it might have incorporated these concepts accidentally because it seems to have done it while preventing them from working properly.

1) making sure that a pull on the cord does not force it against a fixed part of the barrel;
2) instead, make sure that such a pull will help release the spring-mounted piston;
3) place the bail bar so as to avoid point 1 and facilitate point 2
4) tethering cordlocks to achieve an ease of use similar to top-tethered (or caged) springlocks but with much stronger resistance to slippage.

The Cyberian "cordlock" also helps get the terminology more muddled up because it is in fact a springlock (toggle) but with a cordlock-like grip and a few design inversions. As with springlocks, the cord goes through a hole in the piston. A major difference is that a strong spring pushes that piston inward (instead of the weaker spring that pushes it outward in springlocks). On springlocks, there is a hole matching that of the piston on the barrel. It is the upper edge of that barrel hole that grabs the cord and prevents it from sliding when you pull on it in a typical bottom-tethered/one-hand-use situation (point 1 above & Figure 6a on my test report). On the Cyberian, they did away with that barrel hole. The barrel simply stops at the cord. The spring retracts the piston and squeezes the cord against the edges on the barrel (

A pull on the cord does help to release the piston (point 2) but on my samples you have to pull pretty hard to counter the force of the spring if you want to tighten the cord one-handed. Similarly, you have to pull quite hard on the piston to release the cord, which is why I am quite keen to get Nek's take on his. This strong squeeze puts the Cyberian's cord-grabbing capability within cordlock territory (hence the name) but with no “off” switch. On cordlocks, you get a very tight lock on the cord but a simple pull on the release button or ring releases it, allowing the unit to slide easily along the cord. Not so with the Cyberian. The strong spring is always fighting the release of the cord.

Because of this, it seems that the Cyberian would be OK for shoe applications and for larger/heavier backpacks (though I still think that simple tethered cordlocks would work better for those applications). But, I really don’t see how it could work for one-hand uses on garments, especially with elastic, instead of static cords or for smaller backpacks. With an elastic cord, in particular, I really felt that I was overstretching the cord when trying to tighten and loosen it one-handed through one of my samples.

When using one-handed springlocks to close skirt closures on small backpacks by just yanking on the cord, you need a one-handed system that does not require a heavy load to effect its release. I'm pretty sure that a tethered classic cordlock would work well for that and I know that my "caged" springlocks work well too, even with almost empty and very light daypacks. But with the Cyberians I got, yanking the cord would just lift a light pack without releasing the cord.

The Cyberian could probably work well for garment and light pack applications if it were fitted with a significantly weaker spring. I actually suggested to them that they might consider fitting Cyberians with springs of different strength to allow one-hand operation in different applications.

On the samples I got, the strength of the spring also means that you need a fairly long, grippy and strong pull tab or loop to operate it with bare hands and an even longer/fatter/grippier one to do it with gloves or mitts.

My first look at the Cyberian on the iF conference website suggested that they had understood and applied the principles I keep going on about. However, my enthusiasm has somewhat cooled off now. The text description on their company web page even describes the operation of the Cyberian as a two-handed affair facilitated by the flared shape and knobbly sides and makes no reference to one-hand use capability! So the "message" I spoke of in my opening paragraph may actually be entirely appropriate. The Cyberians may indeed owe nothing at all to my paper and suggestions!

Regardless, I will keep an eye out for Cyberians installed on commercial garments and equipment and look forward to any comments you might have on them.

To be continued...

#127769 - 02/01/10 02:36 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: jacket_inserts]
Spock Offline

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Ingenious enthusiasts are indeed one of the more productive sources for practical industry innovation - as opposed to gimmicks dreamed up by in-house R&D. Examples include athletic-shoe-based hiking shoes (The first were "Rhinos" by Clarks of England who made them after US manufacturers refused to do so.); UL Esbit burners; UL alcohol burners; tarp tents; poncho tents; various hammock innovations; various LED lighting systems; UL packs; and many others including tweaks of existing designs.

Sometimes it takes a while to get an idea adopted. But it's fun when it happens. Of course, it has to be a good idea to begin with.

#128973 - 02/16/10 06:34 PM Re: Cordlock idea wins award!! [Re: jacket_inserts]
Wasatch Offline

Registered: 09/13/09
Posts: 53
Loc: California
One of the most interesting forum threads I have ever read!


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