Thursday, February 27, 2020

Rokman Backpack Gear Review

Twin Lakes
Overlooking Twin Lakes on the Toxaway Loop Trail
If you've been following me on social media at all, you may have seen that I have been trying out the backpacks from Rokman Gear for a while now.  If you haven't heard of Rokman yet, or seen how their packs work, let me just say you're in for a treat! I'll post some of their videos as well, as they're better quality than my videos.

The first time I used the Rokman Pack was on a four-day backpacking trip.  I took the pack without having a complete explanation on all the features, and took a blind approach to hopefully give it an honest review.  Jumping ahead with my take on the pack system--I was blown away with comfort, and grateful for the functionality and quality of the gear! Within an hour of starting our hike, we were met with a rain storm that soaked my hiking partners gear.  My gear, however, was completely dry.  That night, I didn't want to cram all my gear in my small backpacking tent with me.  It rained some more as the Rokman Pack sat outside my tent, but I wasn't worried because I was confident that the pack was protecting everything.  Aside from keeping my gear safe, the pack was easy to use and I have yet to find anything else that is as comfortable!

Here are more valuable features of the Rokman Pack:

BasecampCore Flex Harness
The Core Flex Harness is the foundation of the whole system for Rokman.  It is made with a carbon fiber core, which flexes with your body, preventing resistance and allowing some forgiveness when your pack isn't loaded completely evenly.  Let's be honest, there are many times we are able to load our gear perfectly so it rides nicely on our back before going in to an area or on a hunt--but on that journey, we are in and out of our bag and stuff gets moved around, and then it rides unevenly.  Even when loading harvested animals, it is never evenly balanced.   I love the fact that the Core Flex Harness allows for this forgiveness, while also providing a SOLID and comfortable base to their system!

The Core Flex Harness is fully adjustable to fit practically anyone's torso length and girth. Adjusting the harness is as simple as releasing a tension strap, moving the buckles to the right spot, and then tightening the tension strap. This can all be done in 10-15 seconds. The first time I used any of the Rokman Packs, the main thing I noticed was the amount of padding in the shoulder straps and lumbar support/waist strap.  Aside from the awesome fact that these packs are water proof, I have yet to find a pack that is this comfortable.  The Rokman Pack is by far the absolute most comfortable pack I have ever worn.  It doesn't matter if I have the pack loaded with a few items for a quick day trip or loaded heavier than I would need for a two-week long backpacking trip; the pack is extremely satisfying, and adjusts to fit my body perfectly!

Core Flex Harness - weight: 3.1 lbs. 

You can also clip the Rokman Bino Case right to the shoulder straps of the Core Flex Harness! No more sweat patch on your back from another set of straps when you run the whole system! I'll actually make a separate review of the Bino Case and Harness as to not make this review longer than needed.

Attaching a Bag or Pack Frame
Once you have the Core Flex Harness adjusted perfectly for your body, attaching any of the Rokman bags is super simple.  Each bag or pack frame has two DuraFlex pockets which slide into two hooks on the bottom of the Core Flex Harness.  Then, each pack has a metal stud at the top, which you insert through a hole in the shoulder harness and push in a load pin to secure the bag.  Once the bag is attached to the Core Flex Harness, you just have two clips on each side that help dispense the load weight evenly and provide support.  Now that the bag or pack frame is on, you have 7 points of contact securing the bag to the Core Flex Harness.

The Bag/Pack
Rokman Pack
The Basecamp 5000 on the pack frame
The backpacks that Rokman makes are extremely durable. They're made out of 100% TPU bonded 420D High Tenacity Nylon core fabric and 100% waterproof RF welded seams.  Those are some fancy names to pretty much say it’s made out waterproof material that is extremely durable!  I expected the bags to feel rubbery, but that was not the case when I got my hands on them.  They are not your typical canvas material that many packs are made out of--while at the same time they don't feel a lot different.  The material is a little bit louder than a normal pack, but when it is loaded with gear and strapped down, I hardly noticed this at all.  I will say, one thing I noticed is that the material does not have any give, so in those situations where you like to squeeze one more item in your bag, it is a little more difficult with the Rokman bags.  Rokman combated this by making their packs with the ability to attach other packs or bags to add additional space/storage capacity very easily!  Also, the reason the material doesn’t have any give is because they are fully water proof!  You can literally throw this bag, full of gear, into the river or lake and it will float.  The side pockets are water resistant and are designed to not allow water in unless completely submerged in water for extended periods of time.  It is made to survive through extreme conditions.

Rokman makes three sizes of backpacks as well as a pair of Side Kick Bags that can be attached to any of their packs or pack frame.  Rokman also makes a gun scabbard that attaches to the back any of the bags or pack frame.  The sizes of the Rokman backpacks are as follows:

Base Camp 5000 - 5000 cubic inches, 4.12 lbs. 
Scout 3800 - 3800 cubic inches, 3.6 lbs.
Pinnacle 2500 - 2500 cubic inches, 3.12 lbs.

I have used the Basecamp 5000 and the Pinnacle 2500.

All of Rokman's packs, including their pack frame, have a built in Load Strap that is florescent orange.  The Load Strap is located on the bottom of every bag and is sewn in, then attached to side and top buckles to secure loads.  They built this into every pack with the intention of allowing you to carry in or carry out any item that you are unable to put inside of your bag.  They also built this Load Strap with a "nose hole" which allows your to securely attach the head of any animal you harvest in a secure and safe way. 

Another feature that I love about Rokman is that I can use all three of these bags or the pack frame separately or at the same time on the same shoulder straps/Core Flex Harness!  Once you own the foundation of the system, you can get another size of pack and switch it, depending on what adventure you're going on.  "Piggybacking" the backpacks effectively onto one another is a feature I have yet to find on another pack system.
Rokman Pack
Basecamp 5000 keeping all my gear dry after a rain storm

Carbon Fiber Pack Frame
I want to touch on the Carbon Fiber Pack Frame.  The pack frame is made out of carbon fiber, which makes it extremely durable and strong.  It is also designed to match the contour of your back rather than having a stiff/straight design that is contrary to the human body.  The load capacity of the frame is 250 lbs., but it only weights 3.10 lbs! Just like all of the Rokman Packs, the pack frame can be attached directly to the Core Flex Harness.  The top of the pack frame can be removed if you wish to have a smaller profile pack frame.  This is great if you wish to run the Side Kick bags on your pack frame to go in super light.

Rokman Pack
You can see my sleeping bag (in the white trash bag)
 between the pack frame and the Basecamp 5000.
The way I used the system was by attaching the pack frame to the shoulder straps, and then strapping the Basecamp 5000 to the pack frame.  My sleeping bag carrier ripped, so I put my sleeping bag in between the pack frame and the Basecamp 5000 before strapping everything down tightly (as shown in the picture).  This is how I would recommend running the system: Core Flex Harness, pack frame, and then whatever pack you decide to use that trip.  If I was in a hunting situation, running the same system, I would be able to extend the bag out and use the load shelf to haul meat or other items while still keeping my bag attached on the outside, protecting the rest of my load.

Now to the luxury feature of the pack frame!  I LOVE the fact that I can use this pack frame as a seat. Yes, a seat... The pack frame load shelf has padding in it, which allows you to use it as a seat when glassing or sitting in camp.  It's fully adjustable so you can kick back and relax or sit upright while spending hours looking through a spotting scope.  The load shelf is also made out of the same waterproof material. Using the load shelf is nice so you don't get wet from sitting on the ground. The padding also allows you to sit longer without your rear end or legs going numb like they would from sitting on hard rock or log.

Carbon Fiber Pack Frame - Weight: 3.10 lbs.

Now comes the fun part. You find some amazing gear and love what it does and how it feels. Now it’s time to pull the trigger.  You look at the cash register, back and your wallet, and then back at the cash register... Let's be honest, quality gear is not cheap.  The cost for the Rokman gear is on the high end of "average" gear--but at the same time, when considering high-end gear, it is actually on the lower end of the spectrum.  I've even heard a few people say that they've spent $600 on a "normal" backpack that doesn't do HALF the stuff the Rokman Packs can do!  This is where my wife would chime in and say she would much rather see me pay $600 for a quality pack than buy a new pack every other year because I'm not happy with the one I have.

The lifetime warranty on their gear is also a comfort point. I can rest easy knowing that if there is a defect in the material, I will not be S.O.L. in a year if something fails on me.  Also, looking at the Rokman system as a protectant for your other gear is a huge benefit! All of us know how expensive hunting equipment can be.  Having a pack that will protect your gear from the elements is a reassuring piece of mind that you don't get with all other packs.

Hiking with Rokman Pack
Basecamp 5000 
Core Flex Harness - $299
Pinnacle 2500 - $320  ($619 with harness)
Scout 3800 - $349  ($648 with harness)
Basecamp 5000 - $369  ($668 with harness)
Carbon Fiber Pack Frame - $420 ($719.00 with harness) 
Rokman Extreme Combo Pack: Includes their Core-Flex Harness, Pinnacle 2500, Basecamp 5000, Carbon Fiber Pack Frame, and their Bino Harness - $1499.00


Light Weight
Lifetime Warranty on manufacturers defects
100% Water proof material
Completely Modular System
Fully adjustable to fit you and your load perfectly on each trip
Piggybacking capability
Load shelf/seat
Separate pocket for hydration bladder which is 100% waterproof
Load Strap - Hunters Orange, Nose Hole game strap system to secure any item you wish
Attach your Bino Harness right to shoulder straps

Cost - In defense of Rokman if you were to buy each item separately from any other company, you would be very competitively priced.  I don't know of any other gear where you can get this quality, comfort, and functionality for these prices.
Noise - I put this as a con, as I will admit, the material is slightly louder than some other materials, but not enough that I wouldn't use it in any situation.

I would fully recommend Rokman packs to all outdoors men and women who love quality gear.  Aside from all the "cool" features, I have yet to find another pack that is this comfortable, regardless of how heavy I pack it.  It is hard for me to go back to any other backpack after using a Rokman Pack because of the comfort factor, alone.  This is a system that is for all levels of outdoors enthusiasts; from your weekend warriors to your week long back-country hunters, Rokman has a system that fits your adventure.  Looking at Rokman as an investment for your gear, as well as for your experience, is something that can't be beat.

Rokman PackRockman Pack
Basecamp 5000 with gear floating in my kids' swimming pool

As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion.  Rokman did not ask for this review, nor did I receive any compensation for this review.  Rokman did not give me any instructions or guidance on how to review the products so everything written on this post is based on my personal experience with the product.

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