World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

The skingrowsback PAK30 was a constant companion on my UK expedition in December last year. With multiple international airport transfers and journeys that included Budapest, Scotland, Abu Dhabi and Canvey Island, it certainly proved its worth as carry-on luggage. Since I’ve been back, it’s also attained the King of the Commute title.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

The PAK30 isn’t just a commuter backpack, though. In fact, the entire skingrowsback catalogue is designed for the racing and everyday cyclist. The range also includes duffel bags, the FLIGHTPAK bike box, the new PlanB saddle bag, chainring bags, pedal straps, wheel bags, shoe bags, hip packs, lock loops and a plethora of packing accessories.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

skingrowsback was born in 2006 when Jamie and Catt were working as messengers in Sydney and up-cycling inner tubes into coin purses for their mates. Their range grew to include the various accessories required by that trade, like lock loops and top tube protectors, and this Jamie realised his passion for making strong and efficient portage.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

Today, skingrowsback is a small workshop that makes exceptional use of space — just like their packs — and employs a few locals to help with production. The catalogue continues to grow, with new products designed with Jamie’s highly skilled and critical eye. The Plan B is the latest: a bombproof saddlebag that actually looks good too.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

OK, back to the pack. After visiting the South Coast skingrowsback facility and seeing how their products are produced, and the care that Jamie applies to the process, his materials and his customers, I was supremely impressed  – more so when I first examined the construction of the PAK30.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

The outer shell is a tough nylon: an incredible range of True Timber camouflage prints (like the featured Snowfall) in 900D Nylon, or 1000D in the ‘plain’ colours — and black. The exterior features six MOLLE strips to which can be attached a multitude of smaller accessory pouches. My Kryptonite Mini D-Lock is usually threaded through them.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

There’s a number of pockets on the outside, a main front pocket for those items you need to access immediately, like keys and wallets. On the top of the bag, underneath the ergonomic carry handle, is another pocket that’s in an ideal location for sunglasses. At the back, protected by EVA foam, is a pouch for documents, tablets and other devices.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

The PAK30 opens completely via a Number 10 YKK zip to reveal a cavernous 30 litre compartment. There’s a mesh sleeve that fits a 17″ laptop and an external hard drive or two. On the inside of the front flap are three more zippered mesh pockets. I keep my Leatherman and pens in one and my power cords in the bottom pocket when travelling.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

A nice surprise is a mesh bidon pocket on the inside. It might seem like an extravagance but it’s handy to have a spot specifically for a bottle and to know exactly where it is in the bag, especially when fully loaded. And oh boy, can this pack get fully loaded. Jamie has obviously considered the necessity of adjustability when the bag is maxed out.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

The wide EVA foam straps offer a high amount of stress distribution and are adjustable, as is the sternum strap. The magnetic slide is completely secure and has never come undone. Four compression straps keeps the load tight and doubles as attachment points for the skingrowsback Helmet Scoop.

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

If you ride and travel, the PAK30 will become a close friend — especially when paired with the matching packing cells and accessories from the skingrowsback range. You can comfortably carry enough gear for a week as well as shoes, helmet and requisite tech. And it’s designed by Jamie using military-grade hardware, so you know it’ll last for years.

Oh, did I mention free global shipping?

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World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review

World Tour Portage: skingrowsback PAK30 Review