Home »Cycling» Ski brand launches ‘Tri-Wrap’ MTB hydration pack: Kulkea OTRmost Review
Kulkea is sending it to the cycling industry with the OTRmost collection, a mix of equipment packages highlighted by a new hydration pack for mountain biking. And it offers cyclists a whole new approach to hydration.
Northeastern ski brand Kulkea’s penchant for a bicycling hydration pack uses a nifty “tri-wrap” design. This innovation, along with the expandable 8-15 liter cargo space, opens up a multitude of functions and gives the 17.5 x 8.75 inch pack, weighing less than 2 pounds, more versatility than its size suggests .
I tested the brand new Kulkea product on the trails of Galbraith Mountain in Bellingham, Washington. With a mix of gravel, singletrack, cross-country and downhill trails, I’ve brought the package to the heart of mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest.
In summary: At $ 160 the new Kulkea OTRmost hydration pack sits on the premium end of bike gear. But it has the features, the technology and the quality that prove it belongs in this space.
Hand over the ‘Tri-Wrap’ backpack
Fittingly, it took the tri-wrap package 3 years to design and create the New England ski brand, but it was inspired by cycling from the start.
The most innovative feature that Kulkea has built into this hydration pack is the hydration. With a 2-liter HydraPak Shape-Loc reservoir, which is guaranteed for life, the tri-wrap system can be quickly and easily entered into the reservoir.
To fill up, simply unclip the main gear compartment and fold it up to reveal the tri-wrap system. From there, a Velcro strap pulls back to reveal the two interior panels that lock the storage bin in place.
The reservoir is completely exposed and can be opened quickly for refilling and, most impressively, clamped again without squeezing and fumbling. The plug-and-play hose system is moved out of the way for filling.
Fold, secure, and fasten the reservoir, and the drinking tube flows forward easily and stays locked in place with a magnet. It really is one of the smoothest systems I’ve tested.
Photo credit: Tim Newcomb
Pass the OTRmost functions
While hydration is the focus, the main pocket of the backpack has a 3-inch extension that allows bikers to tuck more into the backpack or close everything tightly when space isn’t needed. This also explains the 8-15L specification.
Together with the main compartment, the backpack has an armored, shatterproof pocket for glasses, a safety pocket, two waist pockets for a smartphone (or snacks!), A helmet sling and a slot for an air pump.
One thing Kulkea left out was any kind of tool storage. According to CEO and founder David Abramowitz, drivers love their own tool rolls. So he added a special pocket on the bottom to hold a tool roll, which also makes the pack more versatile.
However, the backpack also features walking pole loops for versatility when non-biking (or for serious hikes by bike). There is a hidden rain cover under the lower pocket in case riders encounter a surprise shower or muddy trails.
Overall, the silhouette pushes the backpack away from your back for the actual airflow – I really felt that while climbing. Reflective details, a slight loop, and a built-in (and tiny) safety whistle add some extras aimed at cyclists.
The mix of 450D Diamond Ripstop Polyester and 200D Ripstop Nylon also makes the pack waterproof.
Pass the OTRmost MTB Pack Review
Filling the hydration system turned out to be one of the easiest modes I tried and gave the Kulkea product a great start before I even hit the trails. I stuffed extras in the pack to test the extension and used the security pocket for a wallet and key. Everything worked as advertised.
During the climbs, the tri-wrap design’s ability to compress hydration was a noticeable benefit. You could never hear water sloshing, let alone feel the movement of the water, which affects stability.
The high flow bite valve placed over the chest made swallowing easier during the ascent. The magnet meant I could drop the tube back into place without affecting my cadence.
The confused HydraPak Shape-Loc system pushes the weight of the pack’s contents onto the rider and evenly distributes it with minimal water movement. The tri-wrap system also allows the rider to tighten the system when the water level drops and keep everything close to their back.
While most packs advertise an airflow enhancement ability, the Kulkea pack felt especially pronounced, a welcome aspect to the toughest parts of the climb. The back of the HDPE frame and ventilated shoulder straps were bike-specific inclusions.
During the cross country and downhill rides, the tight fit and manageable size of the backpack felt tight and sat out of the way without pulling in any direction. This gave confidence in difficult sections.
Should you buy the Kulkea OTRmost Pack?
The price of $ 160 for that Pass the OTRmost will put some people off, but if durability is what you’re looking for, the pack comes with a 2 year warranty. The hydration system has a lifetime guarantee.
Overall, the small, nimble hydration pack doesn’t really feel like it is carrying water. And the Kulkea has the technology to impress and the features to make it worth your while.
Check the price at Kulkea