Featured Individual Review Kulkea Micro Pack!!!!

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Brian Finch, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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    Today we are reviewing the Kulkea micro pack- this item is seriously overbuilt!!! Overbuilt a fantastic way kind of like the Dana design packs of the mid 90s. The stuff that your kids will passed down to their kids. Now the whole family has bags from Kulkea & before you go ahead and say yeah I know what their bags are like- this is on a different level entirely. The bag is a super low profile, lightweight backpack that is specifically designed for action sports. It is made out of a water resistant polyurethane coated 420 D ripstop polyester and 330 D ripstop polyester. Stuff is just bomber. The pack size is 17 1/2 inches tall by just shy of 9 inches wide however it feels much smaller on your back.
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    Other just absolutely killer features are the security pocket and key clip, the very innovative helmet loops that allow you to attach your favorite lid, “tuck it away“ waist belt, Lip balm holder and emergency whistle, daisy chain, it’s got a hydration holder it’ll let you store two water bottles, big ominous primary pocket they will let you put your extra gloves hats and lunch inside, some stashed pockets, vision swapped it allows you the store glasses or lenses and some absolutely insane straps on it.
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    The best part of the pack for me was the straps. They’re very beefy but supportively padded and they contour perfectly against the chest wall and torso. So much so that running or skinning or even dry tool ice climbing- the pack just fits perfectly against your torso and does nothing to restrict body motion. They really nailed the design to allow the scapula full range of motion. You will certainly noticed this when you’re using it. If you’ve ever suffered from the dreaded “strap attack” or had excruciating chafing from a bag, the Kulkea will let you experience a whole new level of motion.
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    *loaded full pack for a day adventure.​
    The big overlapping “shed a layer” closure allows you to very nicely compact an over-layer or down jacket to the pack.

    I did take the pack out today for about a 10 mile run followed by some climbing up trees. No pressure points no soreness and just a superb feel. Earlier in testing on the hill, skinning was equally pleasurable. One of the really nice features is that there’s some drainage to the lower pocket and also some compression closures. This allows you to toss your skins in very easily without having to worry about them getting gunked up in the middle of your pack- The drainage is also key as you likely have some moisture on your skins. Skiing down was really surprising because the pack just disappears after the second or third turn - you don’t really notice it at all. It’s also skinny enough that if you need to ride the chairlift it doesn’t push you forward or put your cervical spine in an awkward position. Really well-thought-out design features.
    • Now, let’s start off with who this item is not for: if you are a weight weenie, wear spandex proudly in public, use the term Rando, YoYo or have skis that disappear underneath your boots because they’re so skinny...... this is not your pack. Yes you can spend the same amount of money on a bag will last you half a day and weigh as much as a plastic grocery bag from Walmart. If this is you please stop reading, your time is much better spent monitoring your body fat composition and hydration level after you’ve eaten three almonds for dinner.
    • Who is this pack for? Well everyone else. Do you like to ski all day not go in? This is your bag. Do you like to not feel like you buy the same crap every year because it falls apart? Also, this is your bag. Do you have children who need wipes, candy, extra gloves and juice boxes with her favorite cartoon characters on them? FoSu - This is your bag.
    • Insider tip:The great aspect of this bag as you can literally be the absolute snot out of it 100 days a year on the chairlift and never have to worry about the durability. I was able to strap helmets, extra jackets, gloves, skins, ice tools and even skis with a little ingenuity and did absolutely nothing to the texture of the material.
    So, if you want to boot up in the parking lot and ski for opening bell to last chair or you are a fan of carrying all the items needed or not for that matter, this is a very streamlined option. This is also a streamlined enough option that if you are in instructor coach and have to be on hill all day-you will not find a better pack. I did play around with skiing with my jacket over and under the pack and unless it’s totally full- under the jacket works just fine. For myself I found that I did not need the waist belt most of the time.

    It’s a little added safety for around $99.
    • Pro tip: get yourself one or two of those plastic telemark skis straps about 18 inches and use it on the daisychain. This is your boogie on down to the disco method of getting your skis + poles on the pack so you can make the bus.
    • Pro tip number two: put a bicycle light flasher on the daisychain and just leave it there-you’ll always be ready for the commute on that bike.
    • Now this pack also will strap onto their traditional boot packs as well; pretty clutch if you carry a lot of gear or have children. Great idea for summertime use is to strap this to be outside of your larger backpack and use this once you’re at base camp. It makes a great summit bag.
    • Final pro tip: there’s a lot of stuff out there on the market, but there’s not as much stuff built this well or as thought out. These guys are also a Pug’s sponsor and if you’re concerned about sourcing merchants of sound ethical practice & consider socially responsible purchases, it’s an easy purchase!
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    Actual Weight, 522 Gr.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2018
  2. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, Jeep Wrangler driver and winter lover Skier

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    If it's made anything like our kulkea powder/boot trekker bags than I've no doubt about the micropacks quality.

    Great review. Was thinking of picking one up for next ski season. I'm convinced now.
     
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  3. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have been extremely impressed with the build quality of the Kulkea product. I have about 100 days with my Heated Trekker, and in all fairness I have not been easy on the back and it is holding up better than any other bag I have had. As @Brian Finch said, these are way over built.
     
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  4. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

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    Good review, I like the part about ergonomic harness straps.
    I'd like to see Kulkea incorperate built-in ski carry straps. It's probably not wide enough for A-frame, but diagonal ski carry should do it for this compact'ish class of packs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  5. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    @KULKEA listens, I will make sure they see this.
     
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  6. Alba Adventures

    Alba Adventures Putting on skis Skier

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    This is a great product review Brian.
     
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  7. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    So, is it missing straps to carry skis? I thought that was the whole point to a pack, carrying skis.
     
  8. KULKEA

    KULKEA Putting on skis Pugski Sponsor

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    Its meant to be a low profile, lightweight pack for essential items. Strapping skis to the pack wasn't quite part of its initial intention, however with helpful feedback like this, we'll certainly look closer at opportunities to accommodate. We do listen and greatly value feedback so as to improve and progress!
     
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  9. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I get it. Hopefully you'll make a ski version as the basics sound good. As this is a ski site, the eval has to be skewed towards skiing and then everything else. In that vein it's a little absurd to ski with a pack that can't carry skis at least. Then there's a shovel.
    This is just a web strap that Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol sells to carry skis. It would be a little ridiculous to use the pack to carry the strap that carries the skis. And then the pack would be in the way.
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  10. KULKEA

    KULKEA Putting on skis Pugski Sponsor

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    If you wear a pack specifically to carry skis, I suppose it would be absurd to wear a pack that is not designed to carry skis. If you wear a pack in order to carry essentials, this is a great lightweight solution. Attaching huge tires to a Datsun does not make it a monster truck. Would be cool though.
     
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  11. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    You can justify all you want, but the pack is pretty ridiculous for skiing if it can't carry skis. Sure, 90% of the time one might not need to carry them. But then for that 10% one needs a different pack. Might as well just get a different one to start with. Or, if you ski somewhere that you're often making short hikes, you're carrying dead weight that doesn't function when you need it.
    Really, this isn't complicated. Nor does it have anything to do with huge tires on a Datsun. It's a ski car that can only drive on dry roads if you must have a car analogy.
     
  12. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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    I would hesitate to call any pack ridiculous. Above is the 90 gram Salomon Sense running pack en route to summiting Hood. :) It has no ski features.

    It’s pretty easy to carry skis.
     
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  13. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    This is not a ski pack, this is why we are reviewing it in the summer. I do think with this feedback, Kulkea could see there is a market for such a pack option.
     
  14. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    If someone is going to do a "hike to ski" then they will probably buy a comprehensive pack for this purpose.
    This review is for Kulkea's Micro Pack, emphasis on Micro. Its intended purpose is for the person who wants to participate in an activity while carrying a few essentials.

    I've skied with a mom who owns the Micro Pack. It makes her ski day a lot easier because she can keep a few essentials for her kids. A bigger pack that is potentially set up to carry skis would probably be too cumbersome.

    If you want a pack that carries skis, there are tons of bigger packs on the market to choose from. Kulkea has filled a space with this Micro Pack that was missing and I think they did a great job with it.

    With the theme that Kulkea has been following, if they build a pack that can carry skis, it will probably be extremely well thought out and durable like all their other packs.
     
  15. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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  16. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Nice!
    Just let us know when the non huge tire Datsun version comes out.
     
  17. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

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    True and I do already have a low profile Dakine Heli Pro 20 / diagonal ski carry as well as a more full-featured but still small low profile Haglofs SKRA 26 / both A-frame and diagonal ski carry plus an option for back panel (padded side which goes against your back), access. However, and while Heli Pro 20 fits the bill for for inbounds walk to access like Aspen Highland Bowl etc., something even more compact along the lines of the Kulkea micro pack if updated (or not as Brian illustrated), with concealed when not in use ski carry straps (I don't like straps hanging all over the place), could be rather useful too as I never pack a shovel or avi probe for such (not necessarily a bad idea, I just don't).
    Again I really like what @Brian Finch said about the micro pack harness comfort, an issue which was the deal breaker with a Black Diamond ski pack I had ordered and returned.
     
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  18. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have had a few Dakine packs, and now a few Kulkea. Kulkea's features and durability slay nearly any other bag I've had.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  19. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

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  20. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

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    I purchased one of these bags right at the end of last season, so only got to use it for a few days. I don't want to duplicate the previous reviews, but did want to add a few points.

    For a lift served day skier like myself who avoids the lodge, this really is the perfect bag. It is especially useful for the daily changes in temperature we get at AZ Snowbowl that require layer shedding. The lined pocket at the top is perfect for the extra goggles I carry, and the multiple pockets are just right for snacks, water, keys, sunscreen, etc. A particularly nice feature is the breakaway shoulder strap that allows you access your bag on the lift without having to pull the bag over your head; very cool. The lip balm pocket is a nice touch as well. The bag loads and rides high, making it easy to wear on the lift. I have never had the desire or need to carry my skis, so no issue there for me. In fact making the bag larger, as has been suggested, would devalue it's usefulness for me. It really does "disappear" when you ski with it.

    I find that a small backpack is invaluable for inbounds skiing, and have tried many over the years. My experience with this bag is limited, but so far it is far superior in practicality than any previous bag I have used. It will be my go to ski pack for next season, so I will report back as I get more use.
     

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