Posted: Dec 08 2018
by: moskomoto

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Let’s Talk Backpacks

December 8, 2018

Backpacks are the current hot topic around the Mosko shop. Should we, shouldn’t we. And if so, how?

On longer multi-day ADV trips, I’ve been using the Nomad tank bag instead of a backpack. But I still use a hydration pack for trail riding, the same pack I use on my mountain bike. It works ok, except that like most backpacks, it’s restrictive and fatiguing on a long ride. Plus the straps fit awkwardly over my body armor, digging sharply into my shoulders in a way that they don’t when I’m cycling.

Andrew had the same issue, so he upgraded to the Klim Nac Pak, which has a chest harness instead of normal shoulder straps. He loves it. His experience with the Klim pack convinced me to get a Kriega R15 a few weeks ago. The Kriega has a chest harness too, and although I haven’t worn it riding yet, I like it so far, and I think it will solve the shoulder issues.

Since we both have new backpacks to geek out on, and since we’re also in the business of making bags, the possibility of a future Mosko backpack keeps coming up.

The problem with backpacks is that the landscape is so completely cluttered. That’s why we put it off till now. No matter what activity you’re into, there’s a pack for it, in pretty much every size, shape, and color imaginable, with all sorts of pockets, organizers, stash spots, straps, buckles, reservoirs, and harnesses. Many of them are pretty good, too.

I have my new moto pack (Kriega), two mountain bike packs (DaKine), a commuter pack (DaKine), a spearfishing pack (Beuchat), a backcountry skiing pack (DaKine), and a backpacking pack (Deuter). I have a crushable backpack (Cotopaxi), a travel backpack (ArcTeryx), and a book-bag style pack (North Face). My new roller luggage (Thule) turns into a backpack, and of course many of my Mosko bags also convert to backpacks. Even my inflatable paddleboard and kitesurf gear came packed in special backpacks.

Do I really need another backpack? No. Is there room for another? Yes of course!

We’re just starting to think about this. It’s a big project, and a big opportunity too if we can do something unique and nail it. Andrew and Scott have a ton of experience creating backpacks for DaKine and Patagonia. If we can come up with a good concept to start with, this should be a very fun project.

We need as much input as you’re willing to share. Here are a couple questions to consider:

  • What pack do you currently use?
  • What do you carry in it?
  • Things you like/dislike?
  • Who makes the best riding backpack, and what makes it the best?
  • What would your ultimate riding pack look like?
  • Also, to help put your response in context, it would be great know what kind of riding you do, and on which bike?

The best place to post responses is on our advrider.com thread, if you’re an inmate there. Otherwise, facebook or blog comments works too. I hope we get a ton of responses, the more the better. Thank you!!

For inspiration, we’ve been looking at hydration packs designed for long distance running. They’re minimalist, they mostly use some kind of chest harness, and they’re designed to stay put while you move around a lot.

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We also like the idea of a hip-mounted option. I have a personal bias against fanny packs, as someone who grew up in the 1980s. However I am trying very hard to work through that. A lot of mountain bikers are opting for waist-mounted hydration over backpacks lately, so there’s clearly something to it. Here’s an interesting one that Sarah used (and liked) on our last company ride.

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We’re thinking of starting with three different options: 1) a minimalist upper back hydration pack with a chest harness and no waist strap (i.e. the running-inspired option), 2) a hip-mounted option like the one Sarah used, and 3) a larger full size hydration pack about the size of something you’d use mountain biking (12L or so), but with a chest harness. As a fourth option for a future season, maybe we’d introduce a 20-30L ‘trail builder’ style pack for people who like to carry everything on their back.

What do you think? Please let us know.

Overland Expo East

Ash & Sarah flew out to North Carolina a few weeks ago for Overland Expo East. I wasn’t there, but they sent these pics. Apparently it was a mud-bath, with lots of stuck vehicles. Heavy rain on Thursday and Friday soaked the parking lot and made it difficult for people to move around. They even closed the gates for a while. Then weather cleared up on Sat & Sun, our new 20′ twin EZ-up display setup looked cool, and sales were up significantly over last year. Even with the rain & mud, we were happy.

Some thank you’s from Ash, who is sitting next to me while I type this: Thanks to David Mays for helping to bring the bike down at last minute in the middle of the pouring rain. Thanks to Mike & Sharon for their overwhelming hospitality and help both in and out of the booth. Big thanks to RJ and Jeff for bringing the loaner bikes! Also a shout-out to JC for always showing up at exactly the right moment. And of course, our hero Roel!

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Long Beach Moto Show

Ash and Sarah got back from Asheville Monday, and Ash & I were back on the road Tuesday morning headed to LA for the Long Beach show, a two-day drive. Sarah spent the week in the office and flew down to meet us there on Thursday.

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This year they had all the ADV vendors gathered in the same area, with several adventure bikes and lots of presentations in the middle. This layout was so much better than before, back when the ADV folks were scattered around the building, all mixed in together with the leather jackets and molded earplugs. For the first time ever, the ADV section had it’s own cool, distinct personality in this large and diverse show.

We ran into our buddy Bill Whitacre, just back from a trip in Australia.

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In the ‘Adventure Out’ area they were showing virtual reality clips from the new California Backcountry Discovery Route.

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We went to the first screening of the new California BDR film. This looks like a pretty fun new route. Maybe we’ll try it on our Mosko team ride next Spring.

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A customer brought over these cool locking zip ties. Not sure yet how to use them, but still… a very cool idea.

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Melbourne Moto Expo

We packed up the booth on Sunday night, and flew to Melbourne Australia on Monday for the Moto Expo. This is Australia’s largest motorcycle show, and it alternates between Sydney and Melbourne. It was our first show in Australia.

We flew with all our samples stuffed into 3 carry-on’s and 6 checked bags, some of which were overweight and others oversize, costing around $500 total. When we landed, our bags were held in customs until we paid another $500+ in import duties, GST, and brokerage fees. All of which took many hours to sort out. We were expecting this, but still had sticker shock at the price. It’s a good reminder of the freight and duty challenges faced by riders in Australia – and elsewhere – and why we want to establish local fulfillment in multiple spots around the world.

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Pretty happy with how the booth came out. The new backdrop looks cool, I just wish our logo was more visible. That plus a couple pallets, bikes, and flags fills out a 20′ indoor booth pretty well for a fly-in, indoor show like this. We’ll get the printing fixed on the backdrop before the IMS shows this winter.

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The show was incredible. We were so happy with the turnout, the orders, and just the overall reception to our products and company. Thanks so much to everyone who came by and made it what it was. And big thanks to Brett and Ben for the loaner bikes. We will definitely be back!!

Here’s a pic of Ash, at night, in our Melbourne hotel room, after setting up the booth. She’s entering orders from Long Beach while watching ‘Grease’ on Netflix, ha!

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Ash & I recently started using these phone mounts from an Australian company called Quadlock. It’s a pretty slick system. I didn’t even know they were Australian until we saw them at the show. They make a moto mount, a cycling mount, and a belt clip mount that fits (just barely) on MOLLE webbing.

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This is Chris Peters, one of the founders. Nice work dude.

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After the show, we spent a day driving around the outskirts of Melbourne and meeting with 3PL fulfillment centers. With a 3PL, we ship inventory straight from the factory to Australia, clear it through customs, and ship orders to Australian riders from a base in Melbourne. This is the same thing we’ll be doing soon in Europe. We’ll work out the kinks in Europe, then do the same thing in Australia once we have it sorted out. Probably in 6-8 months.

Here are pics from the three different warehouses we looked at.

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After that, we wanted to chill for a bit, so we headed up the coast to a beautiful spot called Apollo Bay in hopes of finding surf. Unfortunately, there was no surf to be found, so we bought a couple skateboards and went exploring on land instead.

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From Apollo Bay, we drove back to Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, and after 24 hours of flights, delays, and airport floor naps, finally made it home after three weeks on the road.

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New Products

We just got a cool new prototype of a redesign for the Scout 25/60 duffle, v2.0. This is still a ways out from being ready, but it’s a good start.

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The locking latch is moving forward, but the factory is experiencing some challenges with getting all the functionality we want into a single device. They asked if we could possibly split it into two devices: one that locks it to the bike and one that locks it closed. We’re not crazy about the idea, so we’re hoping for another solution.

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The locking cable lock in the picture below, is the functionality we want to incorporate into the locking latch in the picture above.

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Now that the Basilisk riding kit, Deluge rain kit, Signal jersey, Imbricate base layer, and Autotomous belt (we went with lizard-ish names) are in production, we’re brainstorming what’s next on the apparel front. A couple things we’re considering are insulating layers and trail-riding pants. We’re wide open to additional ideas as well, so if there’s something specific you’d like us to consider, please speak up!

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Outback Motortek Racks

We’re getting a bunch of questions about Backcountry 35 fitment on Outback Motortek racks. The answer is that yes, it fits, using only three of the four supplied Mosko mounting pucks. Lorry Gombos, the founder of OM, sent us these pics to show that the connection is plenty strong with only three pucks. We’re convinced.

This seems like an interesting company with solid products & really competitive pricing. The racks are designed in Canada and made in Hungary. Check ’em out.

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Other Stuff

Jesse Felker from Jesse Felker Media & PNW Dual Sport just sent this awesome pic from UNRally 2017. Love it.

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Speaking of the UNRally, Geoff Moe texted these sketches and drawings of the party-yacht landsailer he’s building for UNRally 2019, using a converted catamaran with axles and wheels. This is gonna be cool.

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Right before Long Beach, Andrew, Lee, and I spent a three-day weekend in Central Oregon. It was an epic – albeit slightly chilly at times – way to end one of my favorite Fall riding seasons ever.

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Ash & I are headed to Ecuador for the Holidays, leaving in two weeks. We’re getting bikes from our friends at Ecuador Freedom Bike Rentals. Can’t wait!

Just a heads up: Mosko is closed for the Holidays from Dec 22 to January 2.