A year ago, Boreas was started by Tae Kim, the Creative Director behind Alite Designs. Kim showed he wasn’t afraid to take design risks, creating the two-legged balancing Monarch Butterfly Camp Chair and the zip-crotch Sexy Hotness sleeping bag. With Boreas, Kim is offering design flair while showing his serious side.
We tested Boreas’ lidless Buttermilk on a climbing trip to Spain. Despite the fact that it has a bald, strap-cinched roll top, the pack has plenty of options for packing organization—a zippered front pocket, an oversized stretchy front pocket that clips close, and waterbottle pockets. The bag has tapered sides, which make searching for gear much easier because the mouth of the bag was wider than the bag. One of our favorite features is the hidden front lash loops, which recess into the pack’s seams when they’re not in use. The z-foam back panel pack carries a solid load wihtout being overbuilt. The hip belt holds a rain cover, which comes in handy more than you'd expect. The only clips on the bag are nose to nose on the front—one to cinch the roll top closure and one to clip the front pocket. It's a nice minimal feature for the airport. (When we checked the bag at Barcelona Airport on the way home, there were no straps, clips or clutter to get caught in airline conveyors. And even packed full of metal climbing gear and tossed around by baggage handlers, the bag pack was good as new when it arrived home.)
We'll have Boreas' newest, the Lagunitas, in the field soon. This 22-liter pack offers the best features of the Buttermilk—widemouth design, hidden daisy chain—paired with a new infinitely adjustable suspension system that adjusts with the tug of a strap. Tightened, it's a trampoline, perfect for biking and hot weather travel. Loosened, the weight moves closer to your back for stability while hiking or climbing.
The Buttermilk: Available Now, 40 liter,$154; 55 liter, $174. The Lagunitas: Available February 2012, $129, boreas.com.