First things first, you want a lightweight non-absorbing material that is strong enough to get abused on a daily basis. Fit and comfort is obviously a big factor as well.
There are plenty of packs to choose from but all the packs have their differences, depending on the adventure you wish to take them on. The moment you talk lightweight (sub 1.5kg) you lose a bit of the durability. Well that has always been the case. With new materials emerging every day, everything gets a little lighter and a little tougher. A few years back ‘cuben fiber’ emerged and made 70L backpacks which weighed around 1kg, possible. It was also material that was naturally water repellent and only the seams and stitching now allowed water to sneak into the pack.
My first pack was a Hyperlight Mountain Gear Porter Pack, which was still 100% waterproof 2 years into its service. I fell in love with the no gimmicks design of those packs and had multiple of the same packs over the years. Being a professional and using those packs a lot over a year, I thought about a few changes that could make those packs ideal for packrafting and in general a very versatile pack.
You see a lot of packrafters strapping a lot of stuff onto the outside of their packs, but that obviously runs the risk of their kit either breaking or/and falling off. I was always a big fan of putting most (if not everything) into a pack. The downside of that is if you are putting your packraft inside that pack (or anything wet for that matter) you will eventually end up with water sitting at the bottom. Or at least a buildup of moisture inside the pack.
Me, coming from a military background, had to rely on my kit at all times and I couldn’t afford to lose or break gear by simply not being careful enough. Hence everything needed to go inside the pack.
Its not as hard as the world makes it out to be. It is rather frustrating that our consumer world has managed to convince us that we need 5 different packs in 5 different sizes – from a day pack to an enormous expedition pack. That is only half correct.
You can make a big pack smaller but you can not make a small pack bigger. In the past bigger packs also meant a lot more weight but with the new materials on the market, that gap is not as big as you think anymore.
Super lightweight packs were not as durable and the marketing world and manufacturers made it out that this just is the way it is, and after so many years you had to buy a new pack. We use the strongest, most durable and recycled materials available to us at the moment, and therefore have packs that can do it all and store all of the critical gear inside to keep it dry and protected.
We are creating a base pack which is the simplest most elegant design with nothing on it you don’t need, but with the ability to add modules like pockets and customise for all your adventures. Easy attachable and detachable features have been added, like pockets for extra gear, panels for ice axes and crampons, and pockets to hold your drinking bladder. Fully loaded it can take about 100L, but you can adjust it and roll it down to a 60L day pack.
The pack will come in two base pack versions. An expedition size pack which goes from 60L to 100L, and the smaller brother goes from 40L to 70L.
Extra pockets inside can take phones, wallets, car keys and some medical supplies. Pockets on the waist strap come in 3 different sizes and are detachable.
If you ever wear your hip belt out, or you change in waist size, you can easily replace it. With all that even the biggest toughest version of that pack fully loaded up with goodies will not be more than 1.5kg.
The packs are under development, but aiming to have them ready for you guys this year!! So stayed tuned…