Summit Hut Raves About Imlay’s Kolob Pack

The ICG Kolob Pack

Charles from Summit Hut recently gave the Kolob Pack a stellar review, noting:

…my favorite all-around pack has become the Imlay Canyon Gear Kolob… these packs have been designed specifically for canyoneering, but the features make it a great pack for general use.

While I understand why Tom removed so many bells and whistles from the “traditional modern backpack” in evolving his line of canyoneering-specific backpacks, it’s never been clear to me why he hasn’t marketed the Imlay packs to a larger non-canyoneering market. Maybe it’s a price point issue? I haven’t shopped around lately… is an ICG Kolob pack more expensive than a heavier, pocket-and-zipper-and-clip laden backpacking pack? ICG packs are certainly too heavy for the ultra-light crowd, but I think the general backpacking crowd appreciates a tough, bright, no-frills pack that carries well and lasts many, many miles.

If you are a canyoneer AND a backpacker (I know there are many of us out there), it’s worth considering consolidating your arsenal, over time, to one pack that can do it all. And though I’ve never used my Imlay packs for “backpacking” trips, per se, I’ve certainly used them for multi-day canyoneering trips (backpacking trips) with great satisfaction.

Anybody have an opinion on this? Would you take an Imlay pack on a multi-day backpacking trip? If not, what would you be missing from your other pack(s)?

Speaking of Tom Jones and his packs, Tom will be leading another 3-day Neon Canyon trip in Escalante National Monument this weekend, October 7 – 9. If you’re looking to squeeze in one more brilliant desert adventure before the cold sets in back home, this is a great opportunity to try out a Kolob Pack and spend three days with its maker, putting the pack to the test. Who knows, maybe you can be Tom’s next break-through model?


About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
This entry was posted in Canyoneering, Canyoneering Equipment, Gear Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Summit Hut Raves About Imlay’s Kolob Pack

  1. Thanks for mentioning mentioning my review on the Summit Hut blog!

    Just thought I would leave a comment to mention that I think the larger ICG packs can be great backpacking packs! But, my experience is that the weight of the packs is an issue/barrier for many people. If you are doing multi-day trips on easier terrain (where the durability of the ICG packs won’t be an advantage) with a lighter weight load (when the great suspension will be less of a factor) a lighter weight pack makes sense… On the other hand, the simplicity gained by just having one great pack (always packed with essentials) to do basically everything is great!

    Charles Miles
    Summit Hut Buying Team

  2. avatar Myra says:

    The Imlay line of packs seem to have terrific features. I used the Leprechaun pack for a couple of day canyoneering trips and it was perfect for that purpose. I can imagine using it for other purposes as well. It’s nice to have simple packs that drain well and dry quickly.

    However, as a 5’4 female, I have a different issue with the larger Imlay packs (Kolob and Heaps). They may work well for taller people who have broader and longer backs. On me, though, the stiff, large back of the pack runs from my butt to the top of my shoulders, and since I don’t have a flat butt, it’s like having a wide board strapped to my back that digs down on my trapezius muscles because my butt is pushing the bottom part of the board up. With weight added into the pack, I found it nearly impossible to walk with it on my back.

    I have a friend who’s 5’2 and has back issues from a car accident when she was a teenager. She easily totes plenty of weight in packs such as Osprey Aura and similar products that are designed for the female frame. Walking two blocks with approximately 20 pounds stuffed into the Kolob pack, however, triggered muscle spasms in her back.

    The sizing problem doesn’t make the Kolob pack any less useful for people whom it fits. I’d just encourage smaller individuals interested in this pack to make sure they can walk comfortably with it (laden with weight) before they take off for three-day, 60-mile jaunts in the middle of nowhere.

  3. avatar Tom Jones says:

    Good points, Myra. Fit is probably the most important aspect of any pack. I wish I could make the packs in more sizes, but the numbers don’t really support splitting the packs into more styles (for next year, at least).