I consider the Kolob the “workhorse” of the pack line, so I focus less on weight and more on durability. Many of the changes applied to the Heaps apply to the Kolob… pretty much all of ’em, actually. In re-working the Kolob for women (the new Shenanigans), I reconsidered decisions I had made previously and made a few changes to both the Kolob and Shenanigans:
bigger pleated back pocket: I extended the back pocket to be as tall as possible.
reworked bottom of the pleated back pocket: I redesigned this for better drainage and to allow it to puff out a bit more = more usable space.
bigger lid: not as big as the Heaps, but bigger than the Spry (which retained the old lid size)
A lot of the changes made are internal. The pack is easier to make and more consistent with the Heaps pack as it runs through the factory floor. I took a bit of superfluous stuff out, and as consequence the weight has been reduced from 4 lbs 5 oz down to 3 lbs 9.5 oz, a full 11.5 ounces! A nice thing about having a couple years’ experience with the pack, and having it in the ZAC rental program – a bunch of reinforcements I originally thought were necessary have proven to not be helpful, and have been deleted.
Kolob Front View
I added reinforcement to the place that wears out first on the Kolob, the bottom edge of the hipbelt. After testing for a year on my personal pack, I am well satisfied that this additional strip of Cordura helps it last a LOT longer yet does not affect comfort, even in summer conditions.
A bigger change unique to the Kolob: I changed the back panel (the one that sits against your body) to packcloth. Friends had pointed out that when the pack is wet, the Cordura holds water and can be uncomfortable against the back. With lots of time in the field, it is pretty clear that the back panel sees the least wear of any part of the pack, so using the somewhat lighter fabric for the back panel will be a win. The Heaps has been like this from the beginning, and I have not seen a Heaps where this has been a problem, even though I have used a couple Heaps packs until they were in tatters.
2016 Kolob Side View
I revised the side-armor somewhat, moving the seam up between the two pieces, making the “pocket” deeper. I’m not a big fan of using the “pocket” for holding water bottles, especially when rappelling and swimming (ie, when things fall out), but I know a lot of people use them for this. The new seam line makes it easy to run the lower strap through a loop on your bottle, to help keep it from falling out.
Suspension changes: added to the hipbelt – belt loops to hold the long straps off to the side, away from the rappel device. I changed the wing-strap buckle to a clip-type buckle, so the strap could be used to hold things, and so the hipbelt could be changed out more easily. I re-shaped the shoulder straps so they fit women better, and added DRings to the sternum strap for hanging your rope-gobbling carabiner, which also makes the sternum strap position easy to adjust.
2016 Kolob Suspension
Colors for the upcoming year are Great Pumpkin Orange and Envious Green, with the Grey packcloth in places and the Silver webbing and buckles, most places. The lid straps and buckles are black, so they will be easier to keep separate.
Tom is the progenitor of Tom's Utah Canyoneering Guide, Utah's premier canyoneering information resource, and Imlay Canyon Gear, America's #1 maker of canyoneering-specific gear. If he's not canyoneering, he's probably snuggled up with a good book.
Posted on Dec 3rd, 2015