I have had a chance to get access to a Pa'lante Packs, 'Simple Pack' for doing my fourth 'initial walk around' video!
This is not a backpack that I have bought, nor that was given to me, I simply have had access to it for a short period of time.
I suspect almost all of you already know the vast majority of what there is to know about the Simple Pack, so probably not going to be much of anything new in this video for most of you.
You will, perhaps, see some parts of the backpack that you have not seen anybody else online share, however.
For $220 bucks, I expected significantly better quality control than what this backpack has. To be honest, I expected to be wow'ed, and frankly, the way that I ended this video, pretty much says it all, at least for me.
A few people within the industry, cottage owners that is, that I have been talking with about this backpack have told me that they could have this pack made in the sub $100 dollar range (one told me the $80 range) and they could still make money from it - and that is even using the stupidly expensive X-Pac fabric that the Simple Pack uses - fabric, that I have to truthly say, is just not worth the price tag to me. Perhaps I am just not one of those folks/fanboys that is "wow'ed" by the X-Pac fabric, unlike so many others it seem these days. I personally tend to think that there are times when 'too durable' is just that, 'too durable' - and the durability of this X-Pac fabric, which granted, is hella impressive, just does not have any other viable qualities to justify the use of it. Other fabrics that are lighter weight, almost as durable, one hell of a lot less expensive, and significantly less stiff, are already well used, well proven, and well accepted and loved throughout the backpacking market (and I do not mean DCF!)
But all of that aside, the Quality Control of this backpack is just horrific. The worst QC of any full production backpack I have put on. I have seen alpha and beta backpacks with better QC than this backpack. As I told a buddy that I was talking with about the pack, "it looks like some kind of DIY job, not something that I would expect from a $220 pack."
Thankfully, and of course, none of it should affect the overall durability and longevity of the backpack. It is just piss poor QC, that is all. Especially for a backpack that is $220 bucks!
Bottom Pocket & Other Stuff:
I will say that I was able to access the bottom pocket, which I really did not expect to be able to do. That was surprising and, in a strange way, rather enjoyable, as I cannot remember the last backpack that I have had where I could reach any pocket other than front pockets.
I do think they need to take the sternum strap webbing and add some thread-lines on it, turning it into a daisy-chain. It would make it have some multi purposeness too it.
QC issues aside, and the choice of fabrics aside, the Simple Pack is a backpack that absolutely has a place in the market these days for the 30 to 40 liter backpacks. I do not see it as a stand-out within the market, but it certainly has a place. That said, if you are a fan of X-Pac fabric, that will probably cause the Simple Pack to be very near the top of the list of packs in this category. The bottom pocket is super neat, and the fact that I could reach water bottles in it, when I can never reach side pockets, was a huge plus and absolutely surprised me - I have seen others write that they have the same problem with not being able to reach side pockets say they can reach the bottom pocket, so the whole bottom pocket feature alone scores some extra brownie points. I did like the built-in shoulder strap pockets and I would love to see more pack designers move to this - the Six Moon Designs backpacks also have built-in shoulder pouches, which also include a little drawstring to help keep them closed/tighter at the top. The lack of options for s-style straps is a huge down-vote in my book. I realize that guys like Andrew Bentz and John Zahorian are not guys that use s-straps, but hopefully in the future they are willing to offer it for those that like, and those that need, them. All in all, a great backpack overall. In all of the 30-40 liter packs that I have used, I would say it is the first to give any real competition to the much loved and probably top of the leader board, MLD Burn.
ps: i have traded some gear for a Pa'Lante Cuben Simple. Some time in October I will get a walk-around video of it uploaded and shared here on my patron page.