In case you haven’t heard: Kakwa 55 released
Dec 6, 2022 at 8:19 am #3767043Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEARDec 7, 2022 at 7:11 pm #3767178Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Thanks for posting…15 L is a lot of extra volume for a 2-ounce “premium” over the Kakwa-40. Sounds like the perfect pack for people who are getting started and need that extra room to pack their fears while they perfect their gear mix. I have a Durston Drop pack that a friend of mine used on his first backpacking trip. Even though we were out for just two nights he had a tough time closing it because of choices he just couldn’t do without.
Nicely done Dan!Dec 7, 2022 at 8:32 pm #3767181Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Well, I got rid of my Kakwa 40. Just could not get it to work for me with a Bear Canister. I am considering the Kakwa 55 or the Bear Ears though. My 2 cents.Dec 8, 2022 at 7:19 pm #3767286Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Dan congrats on getting the 55 out. Are there any changes to it from the 40L pack?
Kevin I don’t think you meant anything bad by it, but this is the type of comment that makes many people new to backpacking, lightweight backpacking and this site feel unwelcome and judged. There are many reasons why someone would prefer a larger pack, for only 2 oz more. 2 oz!
There are many who prefer the simplicity of fewer packs that can do more. A 55L with good compression can carry the same load as the 40L. It can handle longer trips, longer sections between resupplies and extra winter gear, and can help you carry gear for your companions if they are struggling due to injury or fitness level. I almost never think of sub 50L pack for these reasons. I think the 55L will likely be much more popular.Dec 8, 2022 at 10:16 pm #3767291
Regarding changes, we did some updates to the 40L for the 2023 model that are also present in the 55L. Mostly just minor things like moving the zipper slightly on the side pocket (“QuickPocket”) so it operates a little easier, adding a few more lash points around the front pocket, and so you can strap things to the bottom, adding a bit more padded length to the M and L size hipbelts, and a variety of small refinements to improve quality and durability. That saves about 1oz off the 40L.
The 55L has all those same updates, and is an identical pack other than being larger and a few small differences. Off the top of my head, the only other difference is that the frame is 1″ taller in each size so that the load lifters are an inch higher.Dec 9, 2022 at 7:37 am #3767309Kevin BabioneBPL Member
@Ethan A – Thanks for the note – I never considered that my comment would be taken that way.Dec 14, 2022 at 4:13 pm #3767706Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Thanks Dan for elaborating. Sounds like useful updates and great that you adjusted for the location of the load lifters. Kevin I think you’re genuinely well-meaning and never thought you meant anything bad by it. I’ve just met people who were lurking or attempting to participate here and on other lightweight forums who gave similar examples. I explained most people are well-meaning. I try to be more conscious now planning an outdoor program for inner city youth and adults and have learned how much choice of words matter.Dec 31, 2022 at 9:02 am #3768852
Hello. I’ve been browsing the specs. I notice that a few manufactures will list top and bottom circumference dimensions. My pea brain equates this term to something that is round. I’m wondering if there is a way to describe the measurement(s) with a rectangle in mind? Personally, I use stuff sacks for various items for ease of organization. Even though they are basically sewn as cylinders with a draw string top, when filled, a basic rectangle is formed, i.e. 7×13, 8×15 etc. How can I mash these two thoughts together to get an idea of the 55’s structure? Thanks in advance. ~RLDec 31, 2022 at 11:39 am #3768866Murali CBPL Member
yeah – at least the back width should be given with circumference – that way you can calculate the depth roughly. Like HMG packs give back width as 10.5 inches. So, the way I calculate is 33 inch circum – 21 inches (10.5 * 2) equals 12 inches or 6 inches depth.
You could assume some back length and do above calculation.Dec 31, 2022 at 12:04 pm #3768868
Zpacks and MLD give LxW dimensions. KS shows LxW but I dunno ’bout that. His fine print, as I read it, is when the pack is loaded. I have one of his KS40’s and its a bit small on the static measurements. I’ve tried to do the math as you suggest but it’s not the same or my job, imo. Anywho.. No harm no foul.Dec 31, 2022 at 2:09 pm #3768880MarcusBPL Member
This pack is rather tempting. I have a Mariposa and like it a lot, but also am getting more adventurous and want something mostly waterproof like Ultra and less pockets for off trail exploring. question for K40 users –
How is the back-sweat factor? Compared to the best (air-trampoline) mid (curved & vented pad) or sweaty packs (flat and unvented pad)?
Im really liking the look of everything else on this packDec 31, 2022 at 3:42 pm #3768889
The ‘back width’ of the pack is officially 11″ wide (bottom) and 12.5″ wide (at load lifters). That upper width is defined by the frame as it has a horizontal bar there so it will definitely be that, whereas the bottom of the pack is held flat for the width between the hipbelt wings (6.5″) and then the rest of the circumference is mostly free to round into a cylinder.
If you want to think of the pack as a rectangle, the pack tapers narrower at the ‘front’ and wider at the top, so at the bottom the rectangle is 11″ wide (back), 7″ deep (sides) and 8″ wide (front). At load lifters height it is 12″ wide (back), 8.5″ deep (sides), and 11″ wide (front) – and then a bit larger yet at the top of the roll top. But of course it won’t sit as a perfect rectangle. All packs are going to round into somewhat of a cylinder. Where this is a problem is when it does it against your back (especially at the shoulders) because it lifts the pack away from your back & shoulders such that it degrades the center of gravity and can flop back and forth. That’s why we add the horizontal frame member at shoulder height.
Regarding pack sweat, packs use a bunch of different approaches here from nothing but solid fabric (us, HMG, AtomPacks etc) to using 3D mesh (e.g. ULA) to trampoline backs (Zpacks, Osprey). My view is that none of the methods to add airflow really work that well and they tend to cause more problems then they solve. With a 3D mesh backpanel you still get sweaty seemingly just as easy and the mesh adds weight and is prone to catching spruce needles and debris inside if you’re bushwhacking. An actual trampoline back helps a bit but you still tend to get sweaty (e.g. it’s still wrapping your hips and shoulders with full contact) and while it does help a bit, it is also degrades the center of gravity by moving it backwards which necessitates more forward lean as you hike which can be a cause of lower back soreness. I think hunching forward as you walk is a big issue for back soreness, but people don’t understand the causes well because it’s not an blatant correlation so trampoline packs don’t get fully blamed for the problems they cause. I’m not hardcore against them, but I think accepting a sweaty back in hot conditions as fact of life and opting for a simple fabric back is a pretty good way to go.Dec 31, 2022 at 4:05 pm #3768893
Cool. Thanks for the reply. Thought maybe you were out in the Canadian Rockies testing yet more awesome gear.
For a visual on the design, I can call it an isosceles trapezoid.Jan 2, 2023 at 10:54 pm #3769110John W TBPL Member
I used my Kakwa when it was +/-30C (86F) then switched back to a pack with a mesh panel for the rest of the summer. Not only does the Kakwa prevent sweat from evaporating the foam insert adds a layer of insulation.
I had the load lifters + shoulder straps loosened to provide some cooling which degraded the COG None of the 6L of water I was carrying fit in the shoulder straps. This degraded the COG. What I’m saying it is makes no sense to single out mesh panels when every pack has fit/loading (COG) issues that need to be sorted out.Jan 3, 2023 at 4:52 pm #3769164
Hi John. My prior post distinguishes between mesh panelled backs and trampoline style backs, and only singles out the latter for COG issues as they have a much larger gap.
What I said is that I don’t find a big difference in sweat management between fabric back and mesh back as I get sweaty pretty quick in either, but the mesh adds weight and can collect debris (I bushwhacked with a mesh panelled pack once and for years after was picking spruce needles out of the mesh). I’m sure there is some sweat benefit to a mesh panel – I just personally don’t find the difference to be meaningful and thus prefer not to add the weight/debris issues of mesh.
The backpanel of the Kakwa has a 5mm foam pad to insulate the user from pokey objects in the load. Most mesh panels are thicker (e.g. 5-10mm foam plus 3-4mm mesh) but I agree the COG effects here are trivial because we are talking about 1/4″ vs 1/2″. Where they do become substantial is with some trampoline style packs where the load can be 2-3″ away from your back. In that case is it less than 1/4″ (Kakwa) vs 2-3″, which can be meaningful for the COG.
For water carry in the Kakwa, the 700ml Smartwater bottles work well in the shoulder strap pockets so you can get 1.4L up front with two of those.Jan 3, 2023 at 6:36 pm #3769172John W TBPL Member
The pack I used for the rest of the summer has a mesh (trampoline) panel. It could be spaced 2-3″ away from my back but it is fit/adjusted it so the space is less than 1/2″.Aug 15, 2023 at 9:11 am #3786673
2024 Kakwa 55 teaser: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cv94MV8LotL/
I see larger loops and pleated front pocket.
Announcement of all the updates is next week.Aug 22, 2023 at 3:58 pm #3787387GumboBPL Member
@redgumLocale: Aussie in exile in the PNW
New stock goes on sale at 9am MDT tomorrow (Wednesday).Aug 22, 2023 at 4:13 pm #3787395
Source?Aug 22, 2023 at 5:14 pm #3787401Link .BPL Member
Kakwa 55 it says right on his website
Due to high interest the 2023 Kakwa 55 packs have sold out. However, the updated 2024 packs will be in stock and on sale Aug 23 at 9am Mountain time. Please sign up to be notified when the 2024 packs arriveAug 23, 2023 at 9:10 am #3787436David DBPL Member
Orders are now open, I bought possibly the first!Aug 23, 2023 at 9:25 am #3787437Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
“My view is that none of the methods to add airflow really work…opting for a simple fabric back is a pretty good way to go”
I have 3D mesh on my MYOG backpack
Hmmm… I think maybe you have a point. The 3D mesh doesn’t prevent sweating. Maybe it adds comfort but there’s so little foam it probably doesn’t make much difference. It holds some water to add to it’s weight. There are added holes from the stitching that is a possible leakage into the pack.
I think maybe next time I won’t put on the 3D mesh – just plain fabric. ThanksAug 23, 2023 at 9:41 am #3787438
What’s New for 2024?
The most notable change for 2024 is that we substantially increased the size of the front mesh pocket. We made the pocket wider, increased the volume with larger pleats, and made the pocket taller by moving our logo onto the pocket at the bottom. This new pocket holds twice the volume of the original pocket while still using knit mesh that is much more durable than lycra based stretch mesh. The new logo panel at the bottom is both functional (as it protects the mesh where it more likely to be damaged) and aesthetic (the angled top edge mirrors the angled seam above the front pocket), while mesh drains at the corners let water out.
Secondly, we have updated the fabrics to use the new “X” variation of Ultra 200 that has the same very durable UHMWPE based weave for the face fabric, but now with a more durable interior lining. This Ultra 200X fabric uses a double thick interior film and new adhesives to extend the life of the waterproofing, while also adding diagonal reinforcement (“X Ply”) on the inside of the material to further strengthen it.
We also made a wide range of smaller updates including adding drain holes to the side pockets, changing the cord tensioners to smoother operating LineLoc3’s, adding two more attachment points (now 12), and enlarging all of the attachment points to tougher webbing for easier operation. While overkill, we also added even more double stitching to the pack including top stitching on a few additional seams to make the robust pack possible.Aug 23, 2023 at 11:21 am #3787442
Here’s a side by side picture of the 2023 and 2024 packs to better show the larger front pocket:
Sep 2, 2023 at 3:13 pm #3788276Alex KBPL Member
Such a great looking pack. I imagine that, at 6’6″ with a 24″ torso, the Large is probably just a bit too small. I’ll cross my fingers for an XL in the 2025 iteration :)
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