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KLIM Krew Pak

Does more than carry your stuff.

by Martin Hackworth

Photos: Martin Hackworth, KLIM

KLIM Krew Pak

     During this year's Tour of Idaho, I elected to use a KLIM Krew Pak for carrying a few items that I wanted to keep off the bike. In each of my previous Tours I've used an OGIO Flight Vest combined with either a fanny pack or some other hiker/runner specific lightweight backpack. This year I used the Krew Pak along with Giant Loop Mojavi bags and a Giant Loop Zigzag handlebar bag for tools. I believe that I have found my setup. 

     The Krew Pak is much better for technical riding than a hiking/running backpack. It is festooned with useful riding-specific features like straps that are anatomically correct for riding and positioned to accommodate armor. Perhaps the most insightful thing that I can relate about the Krew Pak is that after five months of nearly daily use, I occasionally forget that I have it on. I kid you not. I've stopped in the middle of a trail near the beginning of a ride more than once thinking that I've forgotten to bring the pack even though I'm actually wearing it. My 11-year old son, by the way, thinks that these episodes are hilarious. 

     The KLIM Krew Pak is the largest capacity backpack in the KLIM lineup (9" x 14" x 20"). It has a removable tool pouch which turns out to be an unexpectedly useful feature. There is a fleece-lined goggle pocket on the outside of the main compartment and another, smaller fleece-lined pouch in one of the shoulders to insulate the hydration system hose in cold weather. The back panel is constructed in a manner that minimizes sweat. All of the straps, including the sternum and hip straps, are well-positioned and comfortable.
The hydration bladder and bite valve are of thoughtful design with a capacity of three liters. The Krew Pak very comfortable to wear, fully-loaded or not, and the manner in which it moves with your body to keep its load in place is exemplary.     
     When I reviewed the Krew Pak for our Tour of Idaho Tested 2013 feature, it came in for some criticism on our reader forum for being too heavy. While the Krew Pak does weigh 3.8 lbs (with the removable tool pouch and hydration bladder), and has some features aimed at the snowmachine market, I find that it carries it's extra weight well. The fact that it does not move around while riding is worth some heft all by itself. The Krew Pak appears to be nearly indestructible, which also accounts for a few ounces here and there. Forget about it comfort seals the deal. The best parallel that I can think of comes out of mountaineering, where backpacks for serious climbing went through a similar design evolution during the 1970's. During that time, a few manufacturers discovered that a pack with a well-designed suspension system, though adding some weight, often carried better than lighter packs. Comfort reduces fatigue, and in my view, that is precisely the case here. Not having to fiddle with straps and brace for a shifting load while riding makes the Krew Pak well worth the small amount of extra weight that it carries.

     Another thing to consider when choosing any riding accessory is where your purchase money is going. A pack mentioned as a favorite by one of our readers, who was critical of the Krew, is the Osprey Talon. The Talon is a fine backpack, and is, indeed, much lighter (and less expensive) than the Krew for approximately the same volume. Having worn both, I like the Krew better, but your mileage may vary. It is, however, relevant to note that Osprey (along with more than a few other non-motosport outdoor retailers) donates money to organizations out to restrict motorized access to public lands. Ponder that. The return on your backpack investment can be a bulletproof pack that carries well and lasts for years, from a company that invests not only in moto-specific R & D, but in supporting our sport, or the return on your investment can be funding the demise of your own access to public lands. Let's see how that 1.5 pound/$30 savings works for you then.       

KLIM Krew Pak

MSRP: $135.99 

The Good: Forget about it comfort.
The Rad: Appears to be indestructible.
The Gnarly: Forget about it comfort leads to AARP jokes.

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Darnit son, I forgot the pack again. We have to go back.
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