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DESIGN
Boreas Packs
Design-driven gear from a new brand founded by outdoor industry vets
by Graham Hiemstra
on 25 May 2011
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Smart, simple and functional design drives Boreas Gear, the outdoor gear startup set to officially launch this fall. Although the company is just getting started, the guys behind the scenes all hail from some of the biggest names in the biz (The North Face, Timbuk2, Eastern Mountain Sports, etc.). The team found themselves bored with a market made stale by the overabundance of complicated, tech-driven, as if we all planned on scaling Mount Everest every weekend—call it the SUV effect. Setting out to make something more practical, Boreas started with the premise that solid packs don't need to be elaborate to be comfortable, focusing on proven materials and simple design to save weight and keep prices reasonable. As a result, Boreas will soon offer a full line of functional packs that will hold up in extreme conditions, but are better suited for the everyday outdoorsman.

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We recently got a chance to check out their Muir Woods 20 pack, the second smallest and lightest in the lineup. Offered in 20- and 30-liter sizes, it's just the right size for a day hike or weekend escapade. Its main structure, made of extremely lightweight, silicone-injected 210D ripstop nylon, adds the kind of minimalist detail that defines the brand. By using silicone rather than the standard polyurethane, the pack gains waterproofing without compromising fabric strength (as PU coating eventually causes fabric to become brittle).

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What seems to be the only complicated feature on the pack, a molded foam back panel, is actually relatively simple due to mindful design. By being both corrugated and perforated, the panel allows air to flow though in multiple directions as it's thrust between back and pack during movement. Simple but functional, it's the company mantra put to work.

Self-proclaimed "design nerds", Boreas will launch a full line of bags ranging from a 15-liter sport pack all the way up to 60-liter trekking packs for extended adventures. Packs will be selling in the extremely reasonable price range of $90-200. Keep an eye on their site for to-be-announced dealers and an online store coming this fall, and an extended equipment line soon after.

For a closer look at the details and a peek at other Boreas packs check out the gallery.

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