JungleLarry's Product Review: Rome Insurgent Pack
- Size: 3050 cu. in./50L
- PowerPanels with high-density PE foam carries a board vertically
- Fold-down back panel carries a board horizontally
- Three-way access to main compartment—top, back panel and bottom
- Pole Harness secures poles tip-down for safety
- Quick-release Axe Holster delivers immediate access in sketchy conditions
- External shovel sling
- Internal sleeves for avy gear
- Internal hydration pocket with port
- Dual side pockets
- Quick-access top pocket for small essentials
First off, I've been in the market for a new pack for quite some time now (a little over five months). I've looked at all of them and tried on as many as I could find. My review of this pack will be relative to my experience with all the others; that is, if I say this pack is good, that means it's better than most other packs out there and it's not just a blanket term used to say, "I like it". Sick. Let's get on with it.
The bag looks great. It really does. The print on it is done in that usual Rome-ish overlay style, but it's not tacky at all. My only complaint is that the pack looks loose in a sort of duffle bag kind of way, but I think that's to be expected from a 50L pack with this sort of minimalist design. Oh yeah. 50 liters. And it looks like 30. Props to Rome for that one. Other than all that business, it looks like a snowboard pack. It's got straps, pockets, zippers, and clips. What more could you want?
Right now, this is one of the most complete packs you can buy as far as features go. Where one company chooses one feature over another, Rome says, "**** it. Let's put both on there". It's not uncommon to find a pack that only carries a board horizontally, or only carries a board vertically, or carries a board vertically but has a strange unintuitive horizontal carry system, or vice-versa. Not Rome. The Insurgent pack has a conventional horizontal carry system with elastic cords to keep the carry system in place, and a vertical carry system with two buckles and side flaps that keep everything tight and secure. Definitely one of the better board carry features I've seen.
But with different carry systems you have to have different bag access features. If you're carrying your board vertically, getting into the top or bottom of your back can be hassle since you'd have to prop your bag up or lay it down in the snow, possibly some of your gear wet. Instead, Rome has a access panel right behind the horizontal carry back-panel so you can just set your bag down, open it up, and get to whatever you need. On the flip side, the pack has both top and bottom access if you're carrying your board horizontally.
If you need somewhere to put your stuff, there's plenty of choices. First, there's an easy access pocket on the top of the pack that could easily fit some spare goggles, an iPod, a knife, or some other small essential. Inside the pack, there's a hydration pocket to hold your water bladder, a hose port so you can drink your water, little sleeves for an avalanche beacon or whatever you want to use it for, and plenty of space for a substantial first aid kit and whatever else you may need. On the outside there are also two side pockets with deployable netting to secure anything you might need quickly. There are also features to secure a shovel, an ice axe, and probes if you're in some deep backcountry.
All that being said, this pack would really polish off the gnar if it had two little pockets on the waist straps. The AK bags have these and I think they're a fantastic feature to keep little snacks or maybe a cell phone. It kind of blows having to take your pack off every time you need something, especially when it's something small like a protein bar. I'm not crying, though.
Comfortable pack is comfortable. In fact, it's very comfortable. The padded horizontal carry system is soft on the back and you hardly notice it. The straps have plenty of adjustments to get everything fitting perfect. It's pretty lightweight, but also heavy duty in construction. The fabric on it feels
tough. Carrying a board on it is very comfortable and the pack doesn't shift at all while wearing it. Did I say it was comfortable?
All in all I give this pack a 9/10. If it had those two little pouches on the waist strap and had a bit better styling like the AK packs it would be closer to a 10. Really. That's all I can find wrong with it.
If you're looking for a pack that can take you out into the backcountry and is chock full of all the features you need to keep you safe, this pack is just about as good as you can get. For the price, it can't be beat. Get it.