I’ll try to sum up my first impressions of the KS Ultralight gear Imo Pack here. Later on I will have to follow up with some reflections after taking the pack to the trail.
General design and craftsmanship matches the impression I got from the web page. The X-Pac fabric looks fantastic. With a weight similar to a Cuben hybrid this material is very promising. It shows nothing of the folded paper-like structure that you can se in Cuben hybrid; on the contrary it is really good looking with the red color covered in x-grid pattern. The main body consists of a tube in red X-Pac fabric. Size of the main body matches the 22 L specification in my opinion. It’s a little bit smaller than the body of my Gossamer Gear Kumo with a main body volume of 28 L.
Seams are reinforced on the inside but as I’ve understood there is no seam sealing or tape on the inside, so the pack is not waterproof even though the X-Pac fabric itself is waterproof. The pack closes with a standard Velcro roll closure top. Each buckle on the roll top attaches to a buckle on the shoulder straps doubling as a load lifter strap. The manufacturer calls this invention a “joker hat” closure. My first test indicates that this actually work but I think a wider 20 mm strap would be less prone to twist than the 13 mm straps I opted for.
The front pocket is made of 70D nylon and covers both front and sides of the pack; the top of the pocket has an elastic cord and a buckle attached to the top. This design works well and keeps the contents of the pocket safely secured on the inside. I managed to squeeze down both my rain jacket and half full 2 L platypus bottle in the pocket and still had some room left. On the sides of the pack there was unfortunately not that much room. At most I could put smaller items like a sitting pad or a first aid kit there.
Very much of my requested modifications are made to the lifting system. This is the main reason to the total weight of 290 gr and is a trade off made for good comfort during hikes where I want to move faster than usual with a light load. The back is covered in a 3D mesh fabric, giving a little bit of stability to the main body and hopefully also giving some ventilation to my back.
The belt is equipped with two small side pockets in 70D Nylon with waterproof zips covered in 3D mesh on the inside. For me these pockets gets positioned a little bit too far to the back, making them a little hard to reach.
As the Imo Pack is supposed to be a very light backpack there is no height adjustments available for the shoulder straps. This makes it a bit hard to find a perfect fitting for shoulder straps and belt together.
As this backpack is so much lighter than usual the main purpose for me to use a belt is not so much to carry the weight of the pack on my hips as to fix the load onto my back, stopping it from moving around while I am moving. I am a little bit worried that the shoulder straps are a tad short. It seems to work quite well right now, but I will have to wait and see until after some more extensive usage.