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View Full Version : New pack company, very solid pack.



SGT Rock
2012-03-05, 14:08
I was down at Amicalola Falls this weekend for their Kick Off. I didn't know they even had one, but this was apparently their 10th year - go figure.

Anyhow, it was a good time, I went mainly to talk to a guy about distribution for my BMT Guide. While I was there I met a guy doing a Backpack start up company. I was checking out his loaded pack one morning at our cabin and gut him to talking about it. It is a super solid backpack that carries very well. I like it even more than my ULA pack which I've been enjoying for hundreds of miles now. I'm seriously considering selling my ULA to buy one at this point. I figured I would throw a plug out there about his pack since there might be folks out there interested in getting a new pack but haven't settled on one yet.

The name of the company is Elemental Horizons: http://www.elementalhorizons.com/ and I had heard about the Aquillo pack that he makes. It made Backpacking Light magazine's Highly Recommended list for 2011, and only one other pack in the category got that. At the time I read about the pack I was researching a pack by Zpacks, and was sort of let down that it didn't even make the recommended gear list which sort of made me rethink it. I was also a little surprised that the ULA Circuit (which is my current heavy hiking load pack) only got an average rating. After trying on one of the Elemental Horizons pack I understand why - it just rode so much better.

The pack I most have my eye on is the Kalais (I hope I spelled that right) which is his newest pack that is just a little below the Aquillo in size and accessories. I don't even see it on his site yet, but I'm sure it will be there soon. IF you are looking for a pack you ought to check this guy out. Matt, the company owner and the whole company for now, does excellent work and can do custom colors and accessories on the pack. I'm thinking ACU pattern material.

http://www.elementalhorizons.com/images/Aquilo-HR-home.jpg

Cuffs
2012-03-05, 14:34
Thats my buddy Matthew! Congrats!

SGT Rock
2012-03-05, 15:44
You know him? Very cool.

Cuffs
2012-03-05, 15:49
Known him for a about 3 years now... I met him because of whom he works with...

SGT Rock
2012-03-05, 15:52
Me too. I shared a cabin with them at Amicalola this weekend. I told him he should come to the Bash but he cannot. He does plan to set up at Trail Days.

Big Mac
2012-03-05, 17:44
Did you try the Aquilo pack on, or the Kalais? With, or without the stay?

SGT Rock
2012-03-05, 19:45
I tried the Kalais with the load, I tried the Aquillo without a load. I also tried the Aquillo with a stay added in. With the Kalais even without a stay it carries very nice. The belt went perfectly on my hips and tapers up slightly on the top of it so that it was snug yet comfortable on the ridge of my hips. I think the load was around 25 pounds (without the stay) but felt better than my ULA did at the same weight with the CF hoop thing they have. There are tie down points for belt pockets or other accessories on the hip belt - one of the things he has looks a lot like the rig Skids has for his water bottle. I'm thinking the Kalais is probably the version I want, I called him and he said the stats should be up soon. The Aquillo is very nice, but it looked like more pack than I need - I'll figure it out. Something nice about that Aquillo is it has tall pockets up each side so you can put your tent poles or something similar down in them. And even though it has the ability to put a stay in it, it still has a slim pocket where you can add a sleeping pad to the back for extra support when you do not want to add a stay. He said he had looked at carbon fiber stays which could be an option for an owner (not through him though) but they would have to be formed and couldn't be reformed once set. The aluminum stay can be formed by the user and then reformed if the pack is sold to someone else later.

Gary
2012-03-05, 21:25
Rock, how did this pack compare to your review of the Gearskin? Getting a new pack for spring and trying to narrow them down.

SGT Rock
2012-03-05, 21:42
The Gearskin always takes time to pack since you have to do it very methodically. The one thing I missed in a pack during my hike was the ability to shove stuff in when I needed to go in a hurry. Also, with a Gearskin I could end up messing the load up slightly and have to stop somewhere to adjust it. And as I went and food changed, the way the pack went together changed. I liked the Gearskin, but by the time I was done I was ready to go for a little more weight to have something that was pretty much the same pack every time I loaded it no matter what the general situation was.

So this pack may not be able to expand as much and cover a wide variety of loads, but it is VERY comfortable and does carry a load on the sweet spot consistently. I want to get one for review. I very much wanted to ask Matt for a loaner to review, but at this point he has only made a handful and one is going to Backpacking light. I hope to get one for a long hike I am planning for next month so I can put it through the paces. Often times a gear reviewer gets free stuff or reduced pricing, but I didn't feel right asking for that since Matt is basically the entire company from beginning to end and it would probably have been a burden to him financially to not get full price on a pack.

SGT Rock
2012-03-06, 10:05
I was digging around on his site and found a blog entry that explains the new pack mostly: http://www.elementalhorizons.blogspot.com/2011/10/zen-and-art-of-backpack-design.html

Here are some pics:

383738383839
Some stats: size medium
Main pocket: 2020
Extension collar: 270
Front Pocket: 210
Side pockets: 150 each - 300 pair
Total: 2800
Weight (without stay) 24.7 ounces
Price (If I recall correctly) is $190

I'll have to talk with him on sizing, because if I am reading his chart right I am a large and that doesn't seem to make since since I am only 5'8" and I think the pack I tried on was a medium. This pack has tie in points for a lot of options like two hip belt pockets (probably go large) and other things like hydration sleeves and such:
384038413842

He even has a special pouch for fishing stuff:
3843

Anyhow, he told me I could get it done in custom colors, I am thinking ACU.

Mags
2012-03-06, 17:16
Interesting. Looking for a load hauler for winter (when I tend to pack in more stuff...and have to carry more for others. :O). Don't want t use a gargantuan relic that weighs 8 lbs by itself...but need something that is meant to haul more than 25-30 lbs, too.

SGT Rock
2012-03-06, 17:59
Mags, I pulled the trigger on the kalais today. Matt said it would be 3 weeks because he has lots of orders to fill now (good thing). I plan to put it through the paces on the AT next month so I'll let y'all know how it handles.

Now I've got to sell some other gear to pay for it LOL.

Now it is up on the catalog http://www.elementalhorizons.com/kalaispack.aspx

Bearpaw
2012-03-06, 19:14
Rock, I'm confused. Is the Aquilos a frameless pack that you can throw the stay into and stiffen up a touch with a pad, or does it have a lightly padded frame already that you can make more comfortable with an extra pad?

Bearpaw
2012-03-06, 19:19
Interesting. Looking for a load hauler for winter (when I tend to pack in more stuff...and have to carry more for others. :O). Don't want t use a gargantuan relic that weighs 8 lbs by itself...but need something that is meant to haul more than 25-30 lbs, too.

I've been using a modified Gregory Makalu Pro for winter. Stripped down, lid gone, all the useless extra webbing removed and a large mesh pocket added, It weighs in just over 4 pounds. It should be thoroughly comfortable with loads of 45-50 pounds. I don't carry that much, but I like the extra room so I don't have to overcompress my hammock quilts and under quilts.

SGT Rock
2012-03-06, 19:32
I guess it depends on how you look at it. The Aquillo comes with a stay that is easy to remove. It also comes with a pocket inside that can hold a pad if you want to use the pack without a stay but use a pad to give it some stiffness. Matt said that this is so you can go without a frame when you want to be light, but if you need to carry a heavier load you can use the stay.

The Kalais comes with without the stay but has a pocket for putting the stay in and also has the inside pocket for a pad.

Russell
2012-03-07, 16:04
Interesting. Looking for a load hauler for winter (when I tend to pack in more stuff...and have to carry more for others. :O). Don't want t use a gargantuan relic that weighs 8 lbs by itself...but need something that is meant to haul more than 25-30 lbs, too.

Mags, check out the Cadillac of packs. Made in Golden CO by Patrick Smith, founder of Mountainsmith.

http://www.kifaru.net/KU5200.html

SGT Rock
2012-03-07, 17:36
Mags, check out the Cadillac of packs. Made in Golden CO by Patrick Smith, founder of Mountainsmith.

http://www.kifaru.net/KU5200.html

Looks like a candy bar with straps.

Mags
2012-03-08, 00:57
Mags, check out the Cadillac of packs. Made in Golden CO by Patrick Smith, founder of Mountainsmith.

http://www.kifaru.net/KU5200.html

Seen their gear before 'out in the field' (being a local company..makes sense!). Should take a quick trip up the road to check it out more closely.

Sure looks sweet. Better question..I'm an active outdoors guy, I have a website that gets a decent amount of traffic, they are local. Why didn't I think of offering to test their gear until now??? :D

Rock: We'll need a gear report! :)

SGT Rock
2012-03-08, 01:16
I plan on it.

Rooster
2012-03-08, 18:40
Looks like a nice pack. Very similar to the G4 I made from Quest outfitters last year. Has a few improvements on the G4 , side water bottle pockets. G4 s big pockets are net accesable without pack removal. I just received a new Granite Gear Crown Vc 60. This pack replaces the GG Vapur Trail. I did a five mile shakedown hike at the local state park yesterday. I put 19 pounds of gear in and took the dog for a walk. The dog is Kimber my black lab! The pack carries vary well. I think it will be a keeper. It has a bit better suspension at the price of a pound, compared to my G4. I could make similar improvements to my G4 and have a similar pack.
I too am headed to Amicola Falls. Im not doing approach trail. Son and I have a shuttle picking us up in Franklin on Mar 28 and driving us to Springer. We are beginning our section hike! Looking forward to time in the Appalachians again! Maybe we will see some of ya there?

Cuffs
2012-03-23, 00:48
There's Rock's pack!

https://www.facebook.com/ElementalHorizons

SGT Rock
2012-03-23, 04:44
I just got home from work (ughh) and had two new pics of my pack. It gets mailed out today. I'll have it with me at the Bash.

38683869

sheepdog
2012-03-23, 15:27
Did you have to pay extra for camo?

SGT Rock
2012-03-23, 16:15
There is an extra charge for customization, but he threw me a break on the price for that since he was having a sale when I ordered it. I'll find out what the normal custom fee is when I do the review.

Big Mac
2012-04-07, 09:10
Did I miss the trail tested review?

sheepdog
2012-04-07, 10:11
Did I miss the trail tested review?

Rock set the pack down and never could find it again due to the camo.

SGT Rock
2012-04-07, 16:13
I've only taken it on one overnight hike so far. I like it and no issues. I'm taking it 160 miles on the AT later this month.

SGT Rock
2012-12-19, 14:58
Just saw this over on Elemental Horizon's photo album and thought some of you might like to see it, Kalais in PINK

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/74035_482476295129401_1358543800_n.jpg

Not my color for sure, by I bet whoever ordered that custom pack is going to love it.

Cuffs
2012-12-19, 15:18
gross. I love their products, but I just cant do that color.

SGT Rock
2012-12-19, 15:24
It may be a safety feature

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk 2

Cuffs
2012-12-19, 15:25
I prefer to go stealth.

SGT Rock
2012-12-19, 15:32
Me too. Coyote brown is a GREAT stealth color in my experience. It blends in better than cammo in my experience and works well in a wide variety of terrain. Too bad Matthew doesn't have it available.

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk 2

Big Mac
2012-12-19, 17:27
I love pink.

Tin Man
2012-12-19, 17:35
I love pink blazing.

nice!

Skidsteer
2012-12-19, 17:41
I love pink.

We all figured that out when you shaved your beard.

Big Mac
2012-12-20, 07:23
We all figured that out when you shaved your beard.

Already growing it back.

Mags
2012-12-22, 19:28
I ended up getting a ULA Catalyst for load hauling.

Mainly because of a guiding gig I did this summer, I was able to get a very good discount.

At 3 lbs, and what it can haul, seems to work well. Ended up becoming my overnight climbing pack, too (being the least experienced climber, I'm the rope b*tch and the ropes are heavy and bulky! :D)

The EH packs still look cool, though!

(Adrianna may want the pink one. ;) )

saimyoji
2012-12-22, 20:04
(Adrianna may want the pink one. ;) )

my guess is she wants you to give her the pink one....

SGT Rock
2012-12-22, 20:06
(Adrianna may want the pink one. ;) )

I'll bet she does.

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