If you have been around Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) for more than a year, you probably have seen the advertisements for Hylete. Hylete makes fitness apparel for functional athletes, including most popularly the Crossfit athlete to the OCR athlete. Their clothing products are amazing and that is fairly well known, however, when my Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team teammate and Ultra-Endurance Athlete Christina Armstrong showed me her Hylete Icon XL Convertible backpack, I had to pick one up.*
Although it is not designed to be a ruck, the quality, stitching and durability of the fabric makes me think it could be used as one if needed. I picked mine up last year and have had no issues with it despite using it for more plane and car trips than I can count.
So many pockets, it’s ridiculous. Inside the main pouch, there are two mesh pockets (one against your back perfect for magazines) and one on the opposite side (where I like to keep my phone cord and accessories). On the outside, there are two large pockets, which can easily fit extra water bottles or my Hammer Nutrition Insurance Caps vitamins when I’m traveling. Between your back and the backpack are an additional two pockets, one for a computer and a second one with three smaller pockets for more organization of smaller items.
My favorite is the laptop pocket closest to your back, great for keeping my computer close at hand for writing MRG articles, which can be accessed without opening the main pouch. This is also very useful for going through airport security. A close second is the cooler pocket lined with reflective material and insulated to keep your can of Beet Performer warm (or as my wife likes to use it, milk for the baby).
Where do I even start? The main pocket has enough room for all your clothes for the weekend and then some. If you need an extra pair of shoes, then simply unzip the bottom pouch and you have an additional space for your shoes. You can actually fit two pairs of shoes in there if needed, although I’m partial to an extra pair of Icebug race shoes and a pair of Under Armour sandals for post-race. If you need more room, the backpack expands and turns into a small duffel bag (hence convertible in the name).
Plain black, giant Hylete logo on the back. Seems like a win to me. The backpack comes in a couple of styles with the Hylete text written on the side in a couple different colors including black, grey, pink and green. Not surprisingly, I chose the green to match my green/black Mudgear socks and all my Conquer The Gauntlet race gear.
Hylete's backpack line is amazing and I have no suggestions to make it better. I’m having trouble thinking of a product I have used where I didn’t have any recommended improves. Although it appears their company found a couple of improves, they recently released the 6 in 1 Icon backpack. The six in one can be worn as a backpack, extended backpack, small duffel bag, extended duffel bag, removal daypack or messenger bag. Well done…
I think the Icon Expandable and Icon XL Convertible may be getting discontinued leaving only the 6 in 1 left (that's what I get for letting this sit on my desktop for a couple of months). The XL Convertible is still available in the discount section but the Expandable is no longer listed on this site. I haven’t tried out the 6 in 1 yet, but I already am enamored with the Icon Expandable backpack. If I could give this product more than 5 stars I would. If you race OCRs and you travel frequently, go pick yourself up this backpack. It will forever change how you pack, travel and race.
*The Icon Expandable and XL Convertible are very similar. This review covers both but all of the pictures included are of the Icon Expandable backpack.
Rating: 5/5 stars
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