I didn’t make it to Summer OR but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some cool gear to talk about myself. As a self confessed gear-nut, few things get me more excited than trying out new outdoor products. Well, unless the gear I’m trying out happens to be a pack of some kind.
I’ve written about my collection of packs before. They’re all of various makes, models, and sizes, and I love everyone of them for a specific purpose. They do have one thing in common, they’re all backpacks. By definition, they carry their load on your back, which is the traditional pack is suppose to go after all.
But the Syncpack is not your traditional pack. For starters, it’s a frontpack! It’s designed to compliment your backpack and be worn on your chest, with a two fold purpose in mind. First, it provides easy access to any items that you may need throughout your hike, such as snacks, a digital camera, compass, or anything else that you might want close at hand, and with 400 cubic inches of space, it can hold quite a bit. The other benefit of the Syncpack is that it helps to redistribute weight, balancing out the load on your back by putting some on your front, changing your center of gravity.
The first thing I noticed about the Syncpack when I took it out of the box was how high quality it was. Every aspect of the pack was well made, including the harness system included with it that allows the pack to interface with any other backpack. The frame on the Syncpack is made of strong, but lightweight aluminum, that holds the everything in place while you move and secures the Syncpack with what ever other pack you’re using it with. The system is not complicated at all to set up, but it did take some trial and error adjustments to get everything just right. Once you have it configured though, everything fits together nicely, and you can begin to enjoy the benefits of the system.
The first thing I noticed while using the Syncpack was how great it was to have easy access to the more common items that I was always reaching for. I kept my trailmix, GPS device, and a small digital camera in the pack, along with a few other snacks, and some items I dropped in just to fill it up, like gloves (not very useful in Texas in the Summer), trail maps, a pocket knife, and more. I tend to use packs that are hydration ready, and I love the convenience of my hydration bladder, however, the Syncpack also has two water bottle holders that not only allow you to comfortably carry more water on the trail, but it also puts those bottles in within easy reach. No more asking your buddy to grab your water bottle from your pack because you can’t reach it yourself without taking the pack off.
After using the Syncpack on several day hikes and putting it through it’s paces, I started to notice the benefits of the counter balance effects as well. At the end of the day I didn’t feel the effects of the load on my back nearly as much, and it allowed me to move over the trail for longer periods of time at a faster pace. The Syncpack website says that you should put 20-25% of your total weight into the pack to properly redistribute your load. I would say that in my case, I only redistributed about 10-15% of the total load, and I still noticed the difference. Your milage will vary however, depending on what you are carrying.
While I am very satisfied with the Syncpack as a whole, there were a couple of adjustments that needed to be made when using it. First, it took me a little while to get use to having the pack on my chest. Once it was adjusted properly, it was plenty comfortable but it still felt a little awkward wearing the pack. However, the more I used it, the less it became an issue. Especially when your gaining the convenience of having your small items close at hand.
The other thing I noticed was that the pack was rather warm while using it in Summer conditions. Have you ever worn a pack on your back when it’s hot? Do you remember how great it feels to take it off at the end of the day? Yeah, the Syncpack is like that too. To be fair though, I’ve been using it Summer conditions in Texas. We’re talking mid to upper 90’s at a minimum during the heat of the day, and very humid as well. This wouldn’t be a major issue in cooler conditions, but it was something I did notice while testing out the pack.
The Syncpack is a new product and isn’t readily available everywhere yet. However, it can be ordered online and comes with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, for $159. For serious backpackers, hikers, photographers, and general outdoors enthusiasts, the Syncpack is a great addition to your gear closet. It’s a unique piece of gear that will leave you wondering how you got along without it for so long and I think you’ll be impressed with it’s design and quality. Highly recommended.
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