TESTED: KLIM ARSENAL 15/30 BACKPACKS
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
Klim’s Nac Pak riding backpack has built a very strong following over the years. Many riders who run these packs swear up and down that it’s the best riding pack they’ve ever used. It fits well, carries tools, hydration, snacks, and has room for other essentials making it a great pack for all sorts of rides. KLIM isn’t a company that rests on its laurels, and they’ve come out with two new moto-specific backpacks. One raises the performance of the already great Nac Pak, and the other brings a great new option to the table. Meet Klim’s Arsenal 15 and Arsenal 30 backpacks.
The Arsenal 15 is the moto-focused premium version of the Nac Pak. Riders who are familiar with the Nac Pak will instantly recognize the similarities. Starting with the harness, KLIM has enlarged the harness chest pockets to hold modern smartphones and added stash pockets to both sides. The back panel is a new design that provides structure to the pack, and thanks to some strategic foam and mesh placement, allows air to flow between the pack and your back, helping keep you cooler. Moving inside the main compartment, you’ll find room for the included 3-liter hydration bladder, and a hanging point for Klim’s outstanding Tool Pack. More on the Tool Pack in a minute.
On top of the main compartment, you’ll find a top pocket that can be opened to reveal more pockets, one of which has a goggle wipe. Below this top pocket is a kangaroo pocket, perfect for stashing a rain layer or other odd-sized items. KLIM did a great job with the compression straps for the kangaroo pocket, as they don’t compress the pockets on the outside of the pouch. This means you can shove something into the kangaroo pouch, cinch it down, and still have easier access to the pockets on the outside of the pouch. KLIM also stashed a rain fly in a zippered pocket in the kangaroo pouch, and as someone who has been nuked in more than one monsoon rainstorm, I’m really glad to see this feature. Rounding out the pack is an organizer pocket on the outside of the kangaroo pouch. Total storage volume of the Arsenal 15 is 14 liters.
The Arsenal 30 pack is for riders who want to bring more with them on their rides. Folks who are familiar with real outdoor packs from backpacking or hunting will instantly recognize a number of features on the Arsenal 30 that speak to the pack’s quality design and potential for off-bike use. Starting with the harness, there is a proper hip belt that does a great job holding onto the iliac crests of your hips, so you can actually carry some weight in this pack. Load lifters help keep the comfortable back panel glued to your back. The back panel is also where an included 3-liter hydration bladder is carried.
The main compartment of the Arsenal 30 can be fully opened to lay the pack flat, and there are enough zippers to open just the top, or each side of the compartment individually. On each side of the main compartment are stretchy pockets that can hold a 1-liter bottle, and in these pockets you’ll find two compression straps for each side of the pack. The top and outside pockets are similar to what’s found on the Arsenal 15 in that they have plenty of provisions for organizing small gear, and the top pocket has a goggle wipe as well. The Arsenal 30 also has a rain fly and Tool Pack. Total storage volume is 29 liters.
KLIM’s Tool Pack deserves a mention here because it’s proven to be a great tool organizer. I’ve been running the same Tool Pack for several years now, and in that time my pack has traveled thousands of miles and done a great job keeping my tools organized and protected (from each other, and from eating other gear in my pack) in a form factor that’s easy to load into any backpack or bag I’m using. The Tool Pack is a quality piece of kit, and I would strongly recommend using it. I’m glad to see that it’s included with both new Arsenal packs.
In use, the Arsenal 15 quickly demonstrates the value of its moto specific design. There are no unused features here – this pack has been optimized to do a great job carrying the gear that riders need to support all sorts of rides from all day dual sport missions to hard enduro and single track sessions. The Arsenal 15’s harness is designed to embrace your chest, so spend some time fitting the pack to yourself to get the best experience. Only when the pack is jammed full with the heaviest of loadouts does the harness start to show its limitations, but when you’re not trying to carry as much weight as possible, the pack becomes a seamless extension of you body.
If you’re the type of rider who needs to carry more than the Arsenal 15 can swallow, then the Arsenal 30 is the pack for you. KLIM did an excellent job of fusing proper backpack design with a moto-specific feature set, making this a great pack for riders who need all of the storage space on their back. The Arsenal 30 can carry all of the camera gear that I need with ease, and its multi-zip main compartment makes accessing that gear a breeze. The pack has enough storage volume to carry everything you need for a fast and light moto-camping trip, and for so many other uses. If you’ve only got a few things to carry, the Arsenal 30 can be cinched down, but you may find its full size frame getting in your way.
KLIM has done a great job with the Arsenal 15 and 30. Both of these packs are well optimized for moto-use, and in the case of the Arsenal 30, off-bike use as well. As someone who has been beating on the same KLIM backpacks for several years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed moving into these new packs and taking advantage of their new features while continuing to enjoy the same awesome experience I’ve come to expect from KLIM backpacks. The choice of which pack is right for you comes down to how much storage space you really need for your types of riding. Know that either way you go, you’re going get a premium moto pack that is going to help enable years of great riding experiences. For more information go to www.KLIM.com.