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Transpack Comp Pro - Could this be the ultimate Boot/Gear Bag?? (And not just for Racers!)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

One of the things I discovered as I started taking my ski racing more seriously is that I found myself carrying more and more gear on race day.  What had started as one pair of skis plus a small backpack with lunch/ drink somehow morphed over a couple of seasons into 2 pairs of skis, on-hill wax kit, lunch, helmet, spare goggles, gloves et al.  (As someone who travels a lot in my professional life you would think I would have learned to pack and travel light but unfortunately I have never lost my "just in case" mentality :mad) .  Now, at a few mountains it is possible to park close to the lifts and boot up and reduce the amount of gear that needs to be carried but more often than not, if you don't want to walk in your boots, you end up having to lug the whole kit and caboodle up to the base lodge to gear up, then carrying the pack and gear up to the start

 

So, over the years I have bought and used a variety of different packs to try to cope with this challenge, none of which have really checked all the boxes for me.  

 

My Hot Gear bag is great for drying out boots and keeping them nice and warm (and flexible enough to be able to put them on!) while travelling to the mountain.  However, trying to use it as a back pack it falls down in a few areas

  • Its capacity, even in the large size is less than optimal (for me)
  • It's bulky shape makes it somewhat unwieldy to ski with and to ride chairlifts with

 

The Swix coach's pack has some strong points

  • It is excellent in terms of accessibility - it opens up like a rollaboard and you can easily find stuff in it
  • It has a front pocket that is the perfect size for my start-line wax kit.

However overall capacity is fairly limited.  While it functions well on-hill, I found that when I was heading to the lodge I looked like an old style door to door salesman :(  with gear - boots, helmet, shin guards etc. - all attached somewhat precariously to the outside via karabiners, velcro straps whatever.  So by the time I got to the lodge ready to boot up, my boots that were nicely warmed up had gone cold and on several occasions I found I had dropped some stuff along the way.

 

Last season I tried another option with the Sierra Designs USST issue backpack.  Now this seemed at first like it would fit the bill.  Well built, good straps, easy to carry, decent capacity.  Or so it seemed.......over the season I found a few downsides to it

  • While the overall capacity was good, it was almost all in the main compartment.  And of course, as sod's law would predict, every time I tried to find something it had invariably made its way to the bottom and I would end up having to pull a load of stuff out to access it.
  • The side pockets were basically big enough for a bottle of Gatorade or a couple of pairs of goggles.  My wax kit had to reside in the main compartment (and see previous point!!)
  • The capacity soon became challenged if I put my boots inside so I was reverting to hanging boots and helmet on the outside again.

 

So, while good points about all of them, they all required compromises.  Thus when @Philpug told me that Transpack were bringing to market a new "Competition” pack I was, as ever, somewhat skeptical.  The last Transpack I owned was about 15 years ago and, while the design (for the time!) was decent, the construction and durability was more for occasional use than as an everyday Pack. 

 

Like a good salesman though, Phil provided me with some more background on this pack.  It has been designed in collaboration with POC with the key objectives of meeting the requirements of ski racers, providing enough capacity and storage; and also having the Transpack trademark of separate boot compartments on the side.  

 

Well, sure Phil, that sounds great but does it square up to a real life user?   OK, I should have known better  :D   Here you go says Phil, test this one to see what you think and write a review.......! 

 

So, first inspection.  Hmm, this is a pretty well made bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy-duty construction, good webbing and carry harness, lots (and I mean lots!) of pockets.  Large boot compartments on the side, additional large pockets on the exterior of the boot compartments, large (cavernous?) main compartment, strong zippers, various internal and external pockets well sized for keys, bill folds, cell phone, drinks bottles, snacks etc. And a separate compartment for a back protector where it will contour nicely around your back.   The main compartment is finished in a gray color rather than black to make it easier to find stuff  (a nice mod previously suggested by @Tog as I understand.)  Taller and less boxy than previous Transpacks.

 

So far so good thinks I,  but I bet I can find its weakness!  Let's dig out the absolute maximum amount of gear I might carry on race day and see what doesn't fit.  Sooo......here goes:

 

  • Boots
  • Back protector
  • Arm guards
  • Helmet
  • Start line wax/tune kit
  • Warm-up pants
  • Race Suit
  • Training shorts
  • Vest
  • Extra jacket to leave at the bottom of the course
  • Goggles * 3
  • Gloves *2
  • Ski socks * 2
  • Gatorade
  • Lunch
  • Water bottle

 

 

 

Holy crap!  Do I really tote all that stuff???  :eek  I really need to get a life!!!  Or maybe rent a Sherpa?  But yes, sadly, typically most of it gets used on race day.

 

Ok, now to pack it and let's see what doesn't fit. 

  • Boots first.  Wow, these compartments are large!  I could probably get both boots into one of them! 
  • Wax kit fits nicely on the outside pocket, gloves and goggles on the other side.  Makes them all easily accessible without having to empty out other stuff.  
  • Back protector in the dedicated pocket - check.  
  • Main compartment: lets fill it with clothing and lunch. 
    What's this - there is still plenty of space!.  OK, Helmet can go inside as well, no need for it hanging off the outside getting bumped. 

 

 

Well - it looks like there really has been real world race input to this design!.  I have found nothing to complain about yet.  OK, lets weigh it first - 35# loaded :mad    I am sure by now that it will be too awkward/boxy to carry comfortably so lets put it on my back.  Dang, wrong again!  It sits nicely like a decent pack.  Doesn't feel too boxy and badly balanced as so often happens with squarer shaped packs.   Wow!

 

One final test remaining.  On-snow performance (!)  Just to really put it through its paces I keep it filled as shown (with a different pair of boots obviously!) and take it to the hill.  Weight/load is well-distributed, easy to carry.  On to the chair and the external carry handle simplifies loading, holding it square on and at a nice height rather than having to hoist it above seat level.  OK, lets try skiing down with it,  with an extra pair of skis on my shoulder (race conditions??!!) :rolleyes .  Well, I obviously know I am carrying a pack (and remember it is much more loaded and heavier than it would normally be when I am on the hill on race day) but it is not pulling me backwards and sits well on my back.  Nothing to complain about here, no issues skiing down.  There really has been serious design input and testing here!

 

 

So, is this the ultimate race/boot/gear pack?  I would say pretty darn close!! 

 

But.... there is a lot more to it than that.  This is not simply for racers.  It could comfortably do duty as a skier's only required weekend pack (or even a week for those who can travel lighter than me!).  The external grip lets you carry it like a conventional bag if you want and would certainly be preferable to those people (you know who you are!) who insist on wearing their backpack as they get on a plane and bumping it against every aisle seated passenger in the process.! With careful arrangement when packing it should fit in the overhead bin of a normal single aisle aircraft - such as an Airbus 320- without having the boots hanging off externally.   This is I should stress a guesstimate, as I haven't tested it in this mode yet.

 

Could it be improved???  Well, I was just thinking about putting a small heating pad in each boot compartment....... :D     But apart from that, I have not yet come up with anything I would want to change!     I really don't want to return this!!!!

post #2 of 23

Thanks Ray, great review. Please keep the bag, I am looking forward to hearing a long term review and you have spent some real world on hill time with it. 

post #3 of 23

@ScotsSkier, you're not a very big guy.  That's a big bag.  That's a lot of stuff!!!:eek

I wonder if @MastersRacer has seen this bag :dunno

post #4 of 23

Thumbs Up I have a very similar design Technica badged bag.  I was skeptical when I ordered it shifting from the very old traditional boot bag,  but I have been extremely pleased with the layout and durability.  Mine has two smaller pockets in the front (outside) where the Transpack has the smaller auxiliary pockets on the sides.  The front pockets are where I keep a scraper, stone, ski lock, collapsed plattypuss, and stuff that might go in pockets while skiing then back in the bag last when putting it in the car.

 

This really is a better mousetrap.

post #5 of 23
Phil, Ray: price, availability? I surfed to Transpack's site and saw the Compact Pro, not sure if it's the same thing.

Nice thorough review.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

Thanks Ray, great review. Please keep the bag, I am looking forward to hearing a long term review and you have spent some real world on hill time with it. 

 

Thanks Phil!  :beercheer: Appreciate it, it will get put though its paces and updated

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

@ScotsSkier, you're not a very big guy.  That's a big bag.  That's a lot of stuff!!!:eek

I wonder if @MastersRacer has seen this bag :dunno

 

Yeah, but have you seen some of the U12/U14 racers?    Some of them seem to be carrying packs bigger than themselves!!!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

Thumbs Up I have a very similar design Technica badged bag.  I was skeptical when I ordered it shifting from the very old traditional boot bag,  but I have been extremely pleased with the layout and durability.  Mine has two smaller pockets in the front (outside) where the Transpack has the smaller auxiliary pockets on the sides.  The front pockets are where I keep a scraper, stone, ski lock, collapsed plattypuss, and stuff that might go in pockets while skiing then back in the bag last when putting it in the car.

 

This really is a better mousetrap.

 

Yes, good design CRG.  I think one of the things that i have not really shown in the pictures is that this version is significantly taller than previous transpacks or similar models.  That is part of what makes it a better and more stable "fit" when you are using it without the rear heavy feeling that some of the smaller versions can have when you load them up.  i am on the road but will post another picture with a yardstick to better show the dimensions

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Phil, Ray: price, availability? I surfed to Transpack's site and saw the Compact Pro, not sure if it's the same thing.

Nice thorough review.

The Compact Pro is the smallest Transpack closed pack for boots.  40L, 17 x 15 x 13.  The XT PRO is 49L and the TRV PRO is 54L, 15 x 19 x 19.  I found dimensions on REI but it's hard to tell which measurement is which.

post #8 of 23

The Transpack Comp Pro is new for 2015.  We'll be getting product pages and information up soon. 

post #9 of 23
I'm shocked you managed to get everything in there!
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasChalker View Post

I'm shocked you managed to get everything in there!

:)  yup!  surprised me too!  And it wasn't even stuffed full at that!  

post #11 of 23

Hope it holds up better than the three self-destructing Transpack "POS" models I've been stupid enough to buy for myself and my kid. 

 

Signed, Eeyore

post #12 of 23

Qcanoe, I'm a little surprised to see you post that, mostly because we've had great luck with our Transpacks.  

:dunno

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Qcanoe, I'm a little surprised to see you post that, mostly because we've had great luck with our Transpacks.  
th_dunno-1%5B1%5D.gif







The middle one may be excusable as a result of normal wear and tear over five years or so. However, the other two - on two different packs - both happened with less that a season's use. Never used anywhere except between car and base lodge. No airline use. Just reporting my experience.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post








The middle one may be excusable as a result of normal wear and tear over five years or so. However, the other two - on two different packs - both happened with less that a season's use. Never used anywhere except between car and base lodge. No airline use. Just reporting my experience.

If they are less than a year old, bring them back to the selling dealer, Transpack is very lenient and fair with their warranty claims. 

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Update with pictures showing size

 

23inches tall, 18 inches across

 

 

post #16 of 23

So sounds like 4 inches taller and 3 inches wider than the TRAV PRO, the largest of the existing models.  Is the depth about 16 inches?

post #17 of 23

Transpack ok if you drive to the mountains, but if you fly on Southwest the bag, your boots, helmet, etc will not fit in the overhead.  Since we fly to ski, I just bought a Line bag and the boots lay flat, so I can carry my boots on the back, fits in the overhead, and give me both hands free to manipulate one suit case and a Sportstube bag.

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimelles1 View Post
 

Transpack ok if you drive to the mountains, but if you fly on Southwest the bag, your boots, helmet, etc will not fit in the overhead.  Since we fly to ski, I just bought a Line bag and the boots lay flat, so I can carry my boots on the back, fits in the overhead, and give me both hands free to manipulate one suit case and a Sportstube bag.

 

Jmelles.  I havent tested it yet but with a bit of judicious arrangement this new one could fit in an overhead in the same way a 22inch roll aboard does.  

post #19 of 23

I have been using a Transpack for the last 5 years and my kids are using transpack junior models.  It's a pretty utilitarian design, very functional.  I only have three negative things to say about it: 

 

1. the materials may not be up to the highest standard, my transpack is/was falling apart at the seams pretty badly.  Kids' packs are still OK.

2. the back padding was not up to snuff, you always end up with your helmet pressed into your back.  

3. most back protectors don't fit (this is my daughter's main complaint- she cannot fit her protector into her pack).

 

Looks like some of those issues are solved in this new model, although at the expense of the size.  I hope every new TransPack has a back protector compartment.  If you don't use one and need padding, just cut up a camping pad and stuff it in there.  This compartment seems like a really god idea. 

 

The moment someone makes a junior ski boot pack that fits a junior back protector, I will buy two. 

 

 

P.S.  This season I got a Kulkea pack which like Transpack has boot compartments on the side, but unlike TP they are not angled inwards, so its a box shape instead of a triangle.  It seems to be made much better than TP, with some pretty clever features.  There are still some things that I find annoying.  There is no true helmet compartment, its supposed to be carried on the outside, but everyone who I know likes to carry the helmet inside- who wants to put on a wet helmet after carrying the pack in a storm and taking it to a warm lodge.    Also, the boot compartments have clever flaps that can open to reveal mesh to "aerate" the boots on a warm sunny day.  Unfortunately, they velcro-close upwards, so the paranoid thought is that if I leave it outside for a long time the snow could get in through the gaps.   All those features and pockets come at the cost of weight- its a heavy pack.  Not that I care much about that, but I don't think Kulkea is not tall enough for a back protector.  

post #20 of 23
I was looking at those Kulkea packs earlier in the season and was wondering if anyone had tried one. Thanks, Alex.

(Later in the year the store where I'd seen then was having a half price sale. I went in with high hopes but they had never heard of such a product. Doh!)
post #21 of 23

I really like our Transpacks (each member of the family has one) in terms of convenience, and storage capacity while still fitting into the overhead bin. Always, many different aircraft. But they're not the most durable. Material over boots is thin enough that one trip as baggage produced two dime sized holes and several frays. All healed with tape, and cannot tell if other brands would have faired much better. Have a hunch the buckles should have gone toward inside, even if it makes the helmet unhappy. 

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimelles1 View Post
 

Transpack ok if you drive to the mountains, but if you fly on Southwest the bag, your boots, helmet, etc will not fit in the overhead.  Since we fly to ski, I just bought a Line bag and the boots lay flat, so I can carry my boots on the back, fits in the overhead, and give me both hands free to manipulate one suit case and a Sportstube bag.

I do not disagree with you, personally, I prefer the Sidekick Pro for airline travel, check out my review of that here: Transpack Sidekick Pro.."A backpack that carries your boots verses a boot bag you wear on your back" . the Sidekick Pro is lower and wider and fits better in overhead compartments and still holds what the average skier needs to carry. 

 

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimelles1 View Post
 

Transpack ok if you drive to the mountains, but if you fly on Southwest the bag, your boots, helmet, etc will not fit in the overhead.  Since we fly to ski, I just bought a Line bag and the boots lay flat, so I can carry my boots on the back, fits in the overhead, and give me both hands free to manipulate one suit case and a Sportstube bag.

Forgot there was a discussion a while back of how to take a V-shape Transpack as a carryon:

http://www.epicski.com/t/64799/transpack-as-a-carry-on

 

I've been using the Sidekick Pro for several years both when driving and flying.

 

I also have a rolling Transpack Butterfly carry-on that is shaped like a suitcase.  Bottom half is where the boots go securely.  Plenty of room for ski clothes for a day.  Has a laptop section too.  Got it for my daughter to use for flights out west.  This season I used it and the SideKick for one trip.  Without boots, the Sidekick is the same as any mid-sized laptop backpack, with the advantage of having a dedicated spot for helmet and googles.  The combination worked well at Midway since I ended up with the longest walk possible between gates.  The Sidekick and the helmet could fit under the seat most of the time.

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