Columbia Mobex

, February 14, 2011

In 2010, Columbia released their first trail running line that included the Ravenous, some technical apparel and the Mobex. The backpack quickly won awards for its compressible Flex Frame, an accolade which doesn’t do justice to the bags outstanding design and deployment of a the day-to-day needs of the adventurer.

The treasures of the Mobex can be found within. In opening the main zips, the backpiece pulls away from the body to allow easy access to the compartments within, a simple yet key function which shakes up backpack design. The interior itself includes a sleeve for a portable water reservoir, a zipped pocket, one wide elasticated pocket and three smaller pouches. Accessible, elastic and numerous, the interior pockets allow for an outstandingly organised adventure backpack.

The outside of the Mobex is laden with further compartments; one top loading zip for wallet/keys; a bottom loading zip which is remarkably small and the least useful feature of the bag; one apple-sized pocket on the right hip; a water bottle holder with a secure-loop and two further elasticated compartments on the compressible shell.

One of the secondary benefits of the sophisticated pouch system has a strong link to Columbia’s intention to create a trail running bag. By having more pockets at a higher level in the backpack, the centre of gravity of the backpack is raised when the bag is packed efficiently. By putting heavier items further up the bag, in the internal roof pockets for instance, the weight is shared throughout the bag meaning a more durable product and less strain for the athlete.

Although the compressible shell exposes the bag to rubbing and tearing, my Mobex has only torn in one place and, as a testament to the water resistant Omni-Shield fabric, the hole hasn’t widened over time. The shoulder straps show no sign of wear and a strong top handle has been put to the test with fuller loads and that too has shown no signs of weakness.

Columbia Mobex
Mobex in Meiringen, Switzerland © Will Ross

Since putting the Mobex to the test during a traverse of Switzerland by bike, I’m a firm believer in its reliable, multipurpose utility. If its functional prowess doesn’t sway you, know that the stylish finesse of this product is the envy of the everyday adventurer.

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