ION Transom 16 Backpack = No Sweaty Monkey

Words Cam McRae
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Sep 17, 2015

ION started making products for board sports in 2004 and then branched out into mountain biking in 2012. Until recently ION products weren’t available on this side of the Atlantic – but they have now entered the North American market. They make some interesting products so this should be good news for riders on this side of the Atlantic.


The Ion pack can hold lots of gear, but it looks like it will compress nicely for smaller days.

A back pack sometimes feels like a hug from a sweaty monkey. ION wanted to free you from that embrace – particularly for the climb – so they developed the Air_Condition system. Pull the straps on the waist belt and your pack magically cantilevers several inches away from your back, allowing air to flow between your jersey and the pack.


Get some distance between yourself and the sweaty monkey by pulling the straps. Everything felt perfectly stable when I did this, but there was very little weight in the pack.

Oddly the pack doesn’t feel any different when this happens because it’s still held securely at the waist and shoulders. When it’s time to descend you pull the straps again to release the pack and snug it closer to your back.


Pull the strap forward to push the pack away from your back and reverse the process when you want to be cuddled again.

The Transom holds 2 litres of water and 16 or 24 litres of gear, but it’s remarkably light. It also has compression straps for days when you aren’t burdened by too much gear. You can slide in an Ion SAS-TEC back protector for days when you want to get rowdy. Or if you plan on falling on your back.

All contact points are designed to shed moisture and promote airflow.

The K_Lite Zip pads look interesting and convenient. They are low profile but they buck the trend by using a hard cap to keep you out of the ER, instead of one that stiffens on impact. You can easily deploy them using the zipper and then remove them as quickly. These could be perfect if your rides involve long climbs and descents and you prefer not to wear your knees on the way up.


Quick release pads?


Open wide and notice the non-slip bands and a comfy knee cradle.


When you are done simply zip them up. They will retain the size adjustment you used last and shouldn’t require any fine tuning. Unless you have eaten a lot.

ION makes clothing as well – and their outerwear looks particularly good. We’ll be getting some test product in October so we can tell you how they work beyond the trade show.

Maybe some of you like the hot monkey hug?

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