A heated boot bag is a piece of gear that you don’t realize you need until you use one. I first started using a heated bag about five years ago and couldn’t function without one now. Warm boots are one of life’s pleasures. My first heated bag is tattered, torn, and in shambles. It served me well but could have been more durable. Enter the Kulkea Thermal Trekker heated boot bag.
After using the Thermal Trekker for a few weeks, I have some initial impressions. Kulkea did its research on materials and construction. The zippers, tarpaulin bottom, and blend of nylons are bomber. I’ve drug, tossed, and yanked this bag a bunch and can see no signs of wear. One thing that stands out to me is the “performance handle” on the bag’s top. I’ve used it as a grab point the most. I can’t see this handle letting me down like the handle on my previous bag did.
Kulkea also went the extra mile with the adjustable shoulder straps and back support. I’ve found the Thermal Trekker to be easy to hoist and comfortable to carry. I purposely parked farther away from the lodge than I normally would on a few occasions to test the carry aspect. The included sternum strap helps keep the bag centered, and the waist belt kept much of the weight on my hips. Two thumbs up for ease and comfort.
The Thermal Trekker holds a ton of gear. I bring too much stuff to the mountain, and this bag is up to the task. Kulkea says the bag will hold 3800 cubic inches of gear, and I believe it. The large center opening swallows my midlayers, pants, and jacket with room for extra socks, gloves, base layers, boot gloves, and a few other items I probably won’t need but might. A front pocket includes a fleece-lined goggle pouch and storage space for smaller miscellaneous items. The small top pocket is perfect for passes, glasses, gum, and a flask. An added perk to the heated boot compartments is that heat spills over into the main storage area and warms up my clothing. Score!
The two heated side pockets run off a 120V wall plug or a 12V automobile plug and have high, medium, and low settings. I’ve used medium and high the most. The heated pockets wrap around the boot much like a taco shell. The heat comes fast and is consistent throughout the pad. The pockets hold up to a 31 mondo boot. I’m a 28.5 mondo, so no issues there. Sort of. I’ve found the heat doesn’t warm the toes of my boots to the same degree as it does the ankle area where I need it the most to soften my ZipFit liners. Perhaps the toe area sits beyond the heat pad? I’ve fiddled with boot direction and monkeyed with the position of the boots in the pockets, but nothing has helped get the toes hot. I was concerned at first, but after many uses I’ve found no negative effect on the warmth of my feet by not having hot toes to start the day. The crucial part is to have the shell warm enough so that I can enter easily and so that the ankle area of the liners is moldable: the bag does those things perfectly. On my last two-hour drive from my house to the mountain, my boots were warm and ready to go when I was. My boots have been dry each morning on the medium setting when plugged in overnight at the condo. Have I mentioned how nice warm boots are?
I will update this review throughout the season as the bag sees more use and travel. So far the Kulkea Thermal Trekker is a winner.