Tramplite Pack by Colin Ibbotson

Discussion in 'Reviews & Previews' started by murpharoo, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    A quick intro to the Tramplite Pack by Colin Ibbotson.


    The Tramplite Pack is hand made in the UK by Colin Ibbotson. It is approx 55 litres and comes in 9 back lengths (each 2.5 cm different) and 4 belt sizes.

    Colin will build it in almost whatever fabric you request. He offers 2.2 oz silnylon, 2 weights of Dyneema (3.5 and 4.5oz) , Xpack in its different forms and Cuben Hybrid (50D). Each fabric clearly has its advantages and disadvantages and Colin will expound at length regarding these.
    I am not wholly convinced by Cuben hybrid, despite loving my Blast, so for longevity I opted for the 4.5 oz Dyneema. This fabric has served me well in my Pinnacle and Gust previously.

    The pack is superbly made with no visible defects and superlative attention to detail.

    Colin liaised extensively in the run up to production making sure my requests were fulfilled and ensuring we chose the correct back length and waist belt size.

    The pack has a large mesh rear pocket and 2 large solid fabric side pockets. Both the rear and side pockets have shockcord adjustments. There is a carbon fibre frame with 2 long 4mm diameter carbon rods up each side and a carbon spreader bar at the top that supports the pack and holds the other 2 bars in place. The top and bottom of the pack open for easy access. Top is a roll closure with additional poppers and a safety whistle buckle.


    The bottom has poppers and straps is automatically held tightly shut when worn (nothing can fall out). A part of the shoulder straps cord attaches to the edge of the bottom opening ensuring that when the pack is worn it closes without conscious effort. Additionally there are side compression straps, side ice axe attachment points, a chest strap and accessory straps at bottom and top.

    The waist belt has 2 straps on either side meeting at a single central buckle in a V style arrangement. This helps get a tight firm grip on the iliac crest as you can independently tighten the top and bottom circumference. I have never used a waist belt like this before and must admit to never having had a problem with standard belts. It may be that I have never carried the weights that a V style belt excels at preventing from slippage. It certainly feels secure and I expect it to function well.

    The bottom of the pack opens fully to allow easy access to items in the base of the pack. I envision using this to stow my rain gear outside of the pack liner. This helps reduce water ingress in to the body of the pack when retrieving / replacing wet waterproofs. Other items eg an insulating layer could also be placed there for cold rest stops. I think my usage of this feature will evolve over time.


    The flexible side carbon rods allow the weight distribution to dynamically change with different loads. Colin has designed the pack so that with light loads the weight resides principally on the hips. As the load increases the carbon frame flexes to allow the weight to start to sit on the shoulders more allowing them to take a portion of the load. It is a little difficult to explain but the back length is designed to be purposefully a little long thus lifting the shoulder straps and lending them more of role of load stabilisation when the load is light. As the load increases the shoulder straps then function more like .... well shoulder straps !


    Colin also built a large cuben pack liner for me that has draw cord openings at the top and the bottom. The liner is vast - fully the whole size of the pack and with the dual openings it allows full use of the top and bottom access to the pack contents. This is 36 grams in 0.54 oz cuben.

    I have not yet had the opportunity to 'get out' with the pack so I cannot comment as yet on the carrying comfort after a few days backpacking. That's the real test as we all know.... :D

    Not my best video as I hoped to film outside in the sun. The weather conspired against me... it never stopped raining all day.

    PS - I should add there may be a considerable wait for these packs. I waited about 10 months and Colin only builds items in his free non hiking time.


    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
    kiltedpict, redscotti, Teepee and 6 others like this.
  2. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I loved this when i saw it on twitter. Not sure on the bottom clossure methodology now ive seen it but Colin usually thinks things through. Would just worry about abrasion on the dyneema cord when the pack is in contact with the floor / rock etc. Once those poly sheaths get roughed up it goes real quick but that said its easy to fix in a pinch.

    Have you got it hands on yet?
  3. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    ignore me its your vid lol
    murpharoo likes this.
  4. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Looks very well made and obviously a lot of thought gone into it. The frame system is an interesting design.

    But I'll be honest - I'm very sceptical about that base opening. Looks like a fiddly muck catcher to me.
    Access from that end is something I've never felt the need for.
    murpharoo likes this.
  5. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    Yeah.. that's my oh so stylish lounge ;).

    There are 3 poppers and 5 cords involved in the bottom closure. I'm pretty careful where i place my packs so that should help mitigate too much abrasion damage. I will monitor it anyhow and report back.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
    Mole likes this.
  6. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    Like you i have managed fine all these years without any bottom access to my packs. It wasn't the reason for purchasing the pack and I'll have to see if it gets much real world use. You may be right that flipping the pack over to get at the base may prove too much faff.
    On the other hand wet waterproofs might go quite sweetly there. Though there is also the back mesh pocket for them i guess...
    Tramplite likes this.
  7. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Looks a finely made piece; reservations as expressed about the lower entry point.

    I've sufficient packs anyway. No, really...
  8. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    I guess as a regular user of UL gear, you'll be more careful than most. My packs usually end up with damp mucky bottoms!
  9. theoctagon

    theoctagon Thru Hiker

  10. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Thru Hiker

    Superb workmanship, but agree, the base opening...a bit too fiddly.
    Still, would never say ,"no".
  11. Wurz

    Wurz Summit Camper

    How much is it?
    edh likes this.
  12. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    £190 for black 4.5oz dyneema.
    Other fabrics may / will be different.
  13. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I was expecting a revival of his Skins pack when I saw the thread title :)

    I like that, it reminds me a lot of my ULA packs. I could probably make use of that lower entry, for waterproofs like you say, whether it's any easier or better than going in the top time will tell. Since reliable (cuben) pack liners came along I don't mind dipping in the top to grab my wets now, it's only my cookset and day food getting wet if I do.

    It's missing hip belt pockets for me, but no doubt Colin would add them.

    I look forward to seeing how you get on with it
    murpharoo likes this.
  14. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    That's good value.
    murpharoo likes this.
  15. Wurz

    Wurz Summit Camper

    I suppose that's not a bad price for a niche product. But then that's quite a bit to pay for an unproven item. I think it looks like a Prophet but with variant of a Zpacks frame. Personally I don't see the need for the bottom entry, to me it is like the big packs with bottom compartments. Cheers for the info.
  16. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Slightly cheaper than a ULA Ohm from UOG. Same dollar price as ZPacks Arc Haul, but you have to add on quite a bit for postage and customs charges. In that context I think it does look decent value.
    murpharoo and paul like this.
  17. Wurz

    Wurz Summit Camper

    Mmmm. But then a bit like trying to buy an Appkit bag who wants to wait 10 months?
  18. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Colin is doing this as as favour to people who have expressed an interest in his gear, not as a commercial project. If people are prepared to wait, thats their choice :thumbsup:
    Tramplite, paul, ADz and 1 other person like this.
  19. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    Like Robin said - no one is twisting anyone's arm. I was happy to wait and Colin was kind enough to build it for me.
    Just passing on info for those that are interested.
    Tramplite, paul and Robin like this.
  20. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Thru Hiker

    Yes, enjoyed your Vid', Murpharoo.
  21. bumbly

    bumbly Section Hiker

    What diameter is it though. 5.5mm upwards Dyneema is crazy strong and abrasion resilient. It's used for slinging some climbing protection and lives through the tight turn at the end of a nut for donkeys.

    edit: the only problem I could see is that if the cord is bearing much weight then micro melt sites might develop with any pack bounce. What would typically happen is the gridstop stuff would stiffen at the points of maximum pressure and eventually crack(the cord itself would likely be fine as each time it is cinched a different section would be in contact). That's likely not a real world problem as something else would probably fail in a reasonable amount of time before that became detrimental to the face fabric.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  22. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    its linelocks so 3mm i guess
  23. Tramplite

    Tramplite Trekker

    I have personally used these packs on every hike since 2010, which on last count was around 20000km, so untested it is not! I think you would struggle to find a more trail tested pack ;-)
    JKM, kiltedpict, Graham and 2 others like this.
  24. Tramplite

    Tramplite Trekker

    The bottom opening is something you use when the need arises, not all the time. Remember the top opens for normal access just like a normal pack. I use it for storing my cold weather down jacket in the same dry bag that my sleeping bag lives in just before I start hiking. That way it's well protected from the damp tent/waterproofs which is likely up the top. I could put my jacket in a separate dry bag up top but why carry 2 when 1 will do the job. When I get to camp the jackets first thing out even before pitching the tent or unpacking. A good side effect of the bottom opening is any water that enters the pack can drain straight out. I kind of like the bottom opening but remember you never have to use it but it's a feature that adds no weight :)
    murpharoo likes this.
  25. Tramplite

    Tramplite Trekker

    Kit isn't a business for me, I'm a hiker and this is a hobby! If I'm off trail and somebody asks for something then I do my best to accommodate them, that may mean waiting but I will always be very clear about that. Hiking will ALWAYS come first and that will not change anytime soon :)
    Jamess, Wurz, edh and 1 other person like this.

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