AKEK Review, Initial Impressions

Bubblehide

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I was one of the lucky few to be selected to be provided an AKEK pack for an unbiased honest review. The pack is their Alpha 3200. Looking at their site, it looks to be the only pack offering from AKEK thus far. For those that may not be aware, AKEK first came here presenting this pack and took a beating from many here. AKEK got a lot of criticism from the members; but keep in mind many of the guys and gals here are gear hoes and quick to pick gear apart; they did an exceptional job of doing that, without even actually seeing the product. One grip was that it is made in China, and similar but not the same pack can be found on alibaba.

AKEK came back here, appearing to have taken the criticism to heart, clarified many question, and has promised to move production to the USA. However what I have in a Made in China pack.

So my initial impressions:
It came shipped in an oversize box with plenty of crumpled paper in there to keep it from banging around. The pack was in a thick plastic wrapper. One of those oversize oxygen absorbers was in the box. The material of the pack (I will be asking AKEK to provide specs on the material) appears to be about the same as Stone Glacier, not over thick, but appears to be durable. My impression is that it will not be anymore noisy than Stone Glacier and Kifaru (I have both) packs. I will be adding pictures of the pack and some specific pictures. For those that asked about belt sizing measuring with the pack laid out on my table, upside down from buckle to buckle, from where they would actually clip together was 33-1/4 inch to 57 inches. Keep in mind that clothes are almost never true to size.

The pack is IMNSHO, very well designed, and EVERYTHING is included, with the exception of a water bladder. AKEK sells their own water bladder, but based on what I see, most will work well with their pack. Belt pockets are a part of the belt as is the lumbar pad. The belt combo comes off the pack, so it is replaceable. The pack has water bottle holders sewn on. I noticed that they bottle cinching system is like other, but also includes a bungee, so it can go around the top of the bottle if it narrows or has one of those bite and pull tops. So when I went to open one of the zippers, I took note of the hard-ish rubberee like plastic half circle pulls over the line; this is a very nice little feature, personally, I like it.

The removable final approach (for a lack of a better term) pack has some cool quick release buckles. They are a very nice feature, but only time and abuse will tell the durability of them. The other buckles, appear to be quality and durable, but time and abuse will tell. The zippers look like very nice zippers, but I thought the teeth were a bit small, so I grabbed several areas and tried to pull the zipper apart; I actually gave it my all figuring it would fail, it did not fail; I was happily surprised, as it means I have more testing to do. The zippers are about the same size as the ones on the wing pockets on my Fulcrum. I saw this small open pouch hanging from the bottom of the pack (what would be my right side, but at first ignored it. Later I noticed this unique buckle at the top right side with a strap going down the shoulder strap with a pull ring, and the light came on. I has it's own quick release gun bearer that can be moved to either side of the pack, so it goes from a righty, to a lefty. I need to put it to use to determine usability, but I love my gun bearers on my packs; this is another very nice feature that comes with the pack, if it is functional. It appears that it will be, but time and use will tell.

The pack has lots of storage that is well laid out, Velcro and clip water bladder hangers. The final approach bag has a water bladder mesh pouch and a clip. The pack has load lifters that appear functional (I will test them with some heavy loads). The frame is carbon fiber. I did try flexing it since someone made a statement like I don't want it flexing into my back. My impression is that it has just the right amount of flex for a carbon fiber frame. The frame is curved to fit what I believe is a normal curve back.. The pack fit my back profile well, empty. There is a built in load shelf for carrying meat out against the frame, where the weight should be, the bottom of the load shelf is placed up from the bottom of the pack, like other manufactures do, so the weight is not to low on the pack.

I wish @AKEK included one of their water bladders, so I could provide my opinion on it too, but I will us one I have. However, they did include a meat sack/ultra light dry bag. Now I can us the dry sack, but I would like to see them selling a waterproof one the size and shape of Stone Glaciers, as it will fit an entire boned out mature mule deer; its been close a few times, but I have always been able to make all the meat fit, and I mean all the meat.

The stitching appears to be quality, I did not see any imperfections, and yes I was looking outside and inside the bag. I did find a few fibers, but the were loose leftover fibers. The stitching appears to be similar to Kifaru as I compared it to my Fulcrum. @AKEK The pack has almost full length side pockets that are sewn to the pack. So like my Kifaru DT1, when you stuff the pack, it appears volume in the side pockets will be reduced. I'd like to see wing pockets like on my Fulcrum, so volume is not reduced. I believe the side pockets will easily hold a tripod, and a 65mm spotter, one on one side the other on the other side, obviously. However, I unsure it will hold my 82mm spotter. I will try it, but another day. The bladder hose opening is in the center of the pack, so it can easily be ran on either side, or either shoulder strap.

Overall, this pack appears to be intended for day hunting, or hunting from a base camp, Ideal for that. But considering the load shelf, it could also work well for weekend trips from overnight to up to 3 days, going very light.

My overall impression: Thus far, I am impressed. This is a very well thought-out pack that comes with everything a pack needs, except for a water bladder and a meat hauling bag/dry sack. So in short, you would be getting a pack with belt pockets, water bottle pouches and a gun carrying system with quick release. The quality thus far definitely appears to be there. I am looking forward to a weekend trip next weekend, at minimum a full one day trip and see how it is loaded. I will also see how it carries a sack full of sand or dirt, but I need to find my scale so I can give an accurate weight for that load.
 
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Bubblehide

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Frame
 

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Bubblehide

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Bubblehide

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Meat shelf
 

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Bubblehide

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Bubblehide

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Bubblehide

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Specialty release buckle
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Bubblehide

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Padding on belt
 

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Bubblehide

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Quick release buckles and zippers
 

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Bubblehide

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Zipper pulls
 

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Bubblehide

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Bubblehide

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If anyone has any question or wants specific pictures of the pack or pack parts, please let me know.
 

wapitibob

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If anyone has any question or wants specific pictures of the pack or pack parts, please let me know.

I hauled out last years Elk in two trips. It took all my strength to get that pack off the ground, lifting it by one shoulder strap and somehow getting an arm thru it. It weighed enough that the stays pushed thru the top of the pack on the trip out.
Do you think this pack will stay together with a load like that?
 
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roosiebull

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I hauled out last years Elk in two trips. It took all my strength to get that pack off the ground, lifting it by one shoulder strap and somehow getting an arm thru it. It weighed enough that the stays pushed thru the top of the pack on the trip out.
Do you think this pack will stay together with a load like that?
what pack did that happen on?
 

AKEK

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Really appreciate the honest review so far! Look forward to seeing more updates and seeing the pack get abused!
 

EdP

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Thanks for the review and excellent writeup. I really like the design features of that pack. Many of the other pack mfgs seem to have forgotten what pockets are. I don't want to be digging in the bottom of my pack, especially my daypack, everytime I want something. The price is pretty steep though, especially for a pack made in China.
 

AKEK

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Thanks for the review and excellent writeup. I really like the design features of that pack. Many of the other pack mfgs seem to have forgotten what pockets are. I don't want to be digging in the bottom of my pack, especially my daypack, everytime I want something. The price is pretty steep though, especially for a pack made in China.
Currently we are offering the packs for $399 to Rokslide members, so this should bring the cost lower than KUIU and other big name packs on the market.
 

Justin Crossley

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Really appreciate the honest review so far! Look forward to seeing more updates and seeing the pack get abused!

I can tell you that you should change out the material on the inside of the waist belt and shoulder straps. Using mesh lining (easier to manufacture) sucks because it doesn't last as long as other materials and debris can constantly get in there.

Look at the older versions of the EXO and you'll see they used to use a mesh and don't any longer. Kifaru has never used mesh as far as I know. Look closely at how they construct their packs since they and a couple of other companies are your competition in this market.
 
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