The Klymit Motion 60 is a multi-day backpack that uses a removable inflatable pad to augment its frame providing increased comfort and support. A 60-liter alpine-style pack with a top lid and four tiers of side compression, the Motion 60 can haul a serious amount of gear, but also compresses down to a lower volume when you don’t need all of its capacity. Weighing just 41.4 oz, the Motion 60 is a good value despite a few idiosyncratic quirks.
Storage and Organization
The Klymit Motion 60 is an alpine-style backpack with a top lid (sometimes called a brain) that covers the pack’s large main compartment. A top lid is a nice feature to have if you plan on using a backpack for four-season use, especially in winter when you want easy access to extra hats, gloves, maps, and snacks. The top lid has two pockets, one on top and one underneath facing the top of the main compartment with a key clip inside.
The main compartment closes with a drawstring closure, with an extension collar so you can stuff more gear into it. Unfortunately, the top lid is sewn to the back above the back panel, so it can’t be raised like a floating lid pocket would, making it somewhat difficult to fully utilize the extra extension collar capacity.
The main compartment also doesn’t have a hydration pocket, although it has dual hydration ports. The space that would have been occupied by a hydration reservoir is used to store a small inflatable pad, clearly the raison d’être for this Klymit backpack, which provides some extra stiffness and back panel padding for increased wearer comfort. I’ll talk about the pad more below, but mention here that the pad is too big for the pocket that it fits into, giving one the impression that the pad wasn’t really designed for this pack.
The Motion 60 also has an enclosed rear pocket, side mesh water bottle pockets, and large zippered hip belt pockets that give you a lot of organizational options for storing your gear. The rear pocket zippers shut, unlike the mesh or kangaroo pockets, you find on many other multi-day packs. Zippered storage like this is nice, but there’s no drainage port in the pocket, so you can really only store dry gear in it.
The stretchy lycra side pockets are large enough for a one liter Naglene bottles and have a piece of shock cord routed through the top so you can cinch them closed to prevent gear from falling out. This is a nice feature missing from most packs. The side pockets are not tough enough for off-trail use, but the lycra fabric is fairly tear resistant. While I can reach back and pull out water bottles from the side pockets, I can’t put them back in without taking off the backpack. You might have better luck if you’re more flexible than me.
The hip belt pockets are large and have solid front panels providing extra durability and water resistance. They’re oversized and very convenient for storing a point-and-shoot camera, cell phone, and snacks. The zippers are also waterproof, a nice added touch.
External Attachment Points and Compression
The Motion 60 has four tiers of compression straps, which is probably twice as many as you need for a pack of this size and capacity. Unfortunately, you can’t remove any of them without cutting them off.
While the compression system does let you collapse the capacity of the pack when partially empty and or when you want better load control, the extra straps make it awkward to strap on bulky gear like snowshoes or a sleeping pad to the side of the pack. There are also 5 gear loops surrounding the rear pocket that can be used to rig custom attachment points, in addition to a single central ice ax loop, below the rear pocket.
The lowest tier of compression, located inside the bottom side mesh pocket, can be routed through the side mesh pocket or over it to keep it out-of-the-way, another very useful feature.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The most noticeable element of the Motion 60 is the 3.9 ounce inflatable pad used to add padding and some stiffness to the backpack. Located behind a mesh panel, the pad is designed to provide a more personalized fit that conforms to your body shape.
While the inflatable pad is removable, it’s not insulated or thick enough to serve any other function than as a component of the backpack. This is a missed opportunity for multi-use gear, in my opinion, one of the cornerstones of ultralight and lightweight backpacking gear. The inflatable pad is also too long to easily fit into the backpack pocket provided and must be doubled over and scrunched down to fit. One gets the feeling that the pack and pad were bundled together, rather than being purposely designed for each other.
The pad has a permanent air tube connected with a push-button valve to release air and deflate it. When you receive the pack, the air tube is routed through a hole in the base of the main compartment through the hip belt to a plastic bulb inside the right-hand hip belt pocket. You squeeze this bulb to inflate the pad, but it makes that hip belt pocket worthless for much else.
I recommend you take the bulb off the hose (it’s removable – I checked with the manufacturer) and reroute the hose so that it sticks out one of the holes in the mesh behind your back. This frees up the second hip belt pocket. It’s easy to re-attach the bulb to the hose. Just don’t lose it.
While the pad augments the stiffness of the frame, the real work is performed by a U-shaped aluminum frame stay that slots into channels sewn into the back of the pocket holding the pad. This frame stay, which weighs just 3.4 ounces, is removable, but I wouldn’t recommend it because you’ll experience some torso collapse with a heavily loaded pack. The stay terminates behind the hip belt in the bottom of the main compartment and is responsible for most of the load transfer to the hip belt.
Hip Belt and Shoulder Pads
The Motion 60 has a pronounced lumbar pad at the bottom of the pack. The hip belt runs behinds it and is connected to the pack using velcro. While Klymit doesn’t offer the option on their web store, they will exchange hip belts if you need a larger or smaller size than the one included with the torso size you select at purchase. The same may not be true if you buy the pack through a retailer other than Klymit.
The hip belt has wide padded wings that connect using a double buckle system so you can tighten the top or bottom differentially, good for women and men with curvy hips. The inside of the hip belt and the underside of the shoulder pads are padded with soft closed cell foam covered with a grippy stretch fabric. The hip belt pockets are located toward the front of the hip belt, rather than flush with the back of the pack, providing easier access.
The shoulder pads have load lifters, but they’re attached to the pack bag and not to a frame element, so somewhat less effective is pulling the load forward. The shoulder pads come with elastic hydration hose keeper loops and with extra stitching so you can reposition the height of the sternum strap, which has a whistle in the buckle.
The Klymit Motion 60 backpack is a good value if you want a lightweight backpack (41.4 ounces) that has a top lid and closed storage instead of open pockets. While it has a few idiosyncrasies, it’s capable of hauling a lot of gear making it quite suitable for shoulder season backpacking when you want to bring more insulation and a few luxury items or for longer trips the require more food weight. While Klymit rates the backpack for 55 pounds loads, I think you’ll find that a 40-pound load is a much more realistic maximum load for this pack. While the inflatable padding does add an element of comfort and adjustability to the fit of the pack, it doesn’t increase its carrying capacity.
Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) received a Motion 60 backpack from Klymit for this review.