Lightweight, customizable, versatile backpack frame.
The wilderness, for those brave enough to immerse themselves within its untamed embrace, is the epitome of a constant adventure. And with the promise of the wild, comes the need for gear that's willing to keep up. Enter the Klymit Air Beam, a product of two outdoor powerhouses, Klymit and Granite Gear, who've married their respective design prowess to breathe life into this game-changing pack frame.
The concept is simple, but ingenious. In essence, we're talking about an air-inflated backpack frame sheet, light as a feather yet possessing the might of a pachyderm, which offers superior load-bearing capabilities without adding an ounce more than necessary to your load.
The Klymit Air Beam weighs only 2.4 ounces, without the hand pump, and even with it, you're looking at a modest 3.3 ounces. The pump itself, which allows you to customize the air pressure in the frame sheet, is a thoughtful addition that nods to personal comfort and preference.
For those committed backpackers carrying the popular Granite Gear Vapor Current packs, this frame is a worthy upgrade. It's not just a matter of shedding a few ounces here and there – although saving 2 ounces over the stock HDPE frame is a win. More importantly, it's about achieving the same load rating of 35 pounds while augmenting versatility and comfort.
Coupled with the Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 pack, another high achiever in its own right, the combination weighs just over 2 pounds. An incredibly light package, it steals the limelight in the ultra-light pack market, a tribute to the relentless pursuit of these two companies for superior gear design.
The beauty of the Klymit Air Beam isn't limited to its featherweight characteristic. The advantages are manifold. Stiffer, more comfortable, flexible to movement, adjustable, and with optimal load transfer – these aren't merely improvements, they're a leap forward in backpack technology.
Rhoads and Maxfield, the brains behind this concept, have hit the nail on the head with the Klymit Air Beam. Traditional backpack frames can be restrictive, limiting your movement to a few set positions to ensure weight distribution. The Air Beam changes the game entirely, offering seamless weight transfer to the hips across a spectrum of body movements, without compromising on stability or comfort.
The partnership of Klymit and Granite Gear is inspiring. Two grassroots companies, pioneering new paths and pushing the boundaries of outdoor gear technology, are the kind of collaborations the world needs more of. With a shared belief in innovation, not just for the sake of novelty but for delivering superior performance, they've given us a product that, in my humble opinion, stands a cut above the rest.
The only blemish in this otherwise rosy picture is the unfortunate discontinuation of the Klymit Air Beam. At $49.95, it was a steal, and its absence from the market leaves a void for those always on the lookout for that perfect blend of durability, comfort, and lightness in their outdoor gear. Here's hoping for a similar or improved iteration in the future to fill that void. But for those who were fortunate enough to snag one, they've got themselves an example of innovative design that's as versatile as they come.
- Lightweight: The Klymit Air Beam is extremely lightweight, even with the included hand pump. For backpackers looking to cut down on weight without compromising on structural support, this is a significant advantage.
- Versatility: This frame sheet can be inserted into any Granite Gear Vapor Current pack, providing a substantial degree of versatility. It allows users to improve their existing gear without needing to buy a whole new backpack.
- Comfort: With the ability to adjust the air pressure within the frame sheet using the hand pump, users can customize the rigidity and comfort level to their preference.
- Load Transfer: According to the co-developers, the Klymit Air Beam transfers load to the hips in a wider variety of positions compared to traditional rigid backpack frames. This allows for greater comfort and ease of movement when carrying heavier loads.
- Durability: Despite its light weight, the Klymit Air Beam is made with strong materials designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor activity.
- Discontinued: One of the biggest drawbacks is that the Klymit Air Beam has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase. This makes it difficult for interested consumers to get their hands on it.
- Dependence on Air Pressure: While being able to adjust the air pressure can be a benefit, it can also be a drawback if the air pressure decreases due to a puncture or slow leak. This could potentially lead to a loss of support during a hike.
- Additional Task: The requirement to inflate the frame sheet could be seen as an extra task that users need to carry out before setting off on their journey.
- Cost: While it's no longer relevant given the product's discontinuation, the additional cost of the Air Beam could have been a drawback for some, especially considering that it was an add-on to an existing backpack, rather than a standalone product.
- Limited Compatibility: While versatile within the range of Granite Gear Vapor Current packs, the Klymit Air Beam was not designed for compatibility with other backpack brands or models. This could have limited its appeal for users of other backpacks.