ONE Staff / August 4th, 2016 / Gear
Mosher Originals: IBEX Pack Review

How do you carry your blades? In your hands? With a strap or handle? What about a backpack? How is that working out? Now think about it: have you ever had a really well-made blade-carrying pack? How about one that was custom-made after you ordered it? Now be honest, the answer is no. Which is why we’re excited to tell everyone about the latest and greatest addtion to our arsenal of blade bags — the Mosher Originals IBEX pack.

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Our first introduction to Mosher Originals came somewhere on Facebook where we saw a photo of Leon Basin with his large Wizard blades strapped onto a pack. Voila, that was a Mosher bag. This very model, the IBEX, to be exact. That in turn led us to the head honcho at Mosher Originals, a newbie blade fan named Tom Mosher, and that’s why we actually have one of these packs.

What was clear from that one photo was that the bag had a thought-out compression system that would allow large loads like a pair of skates to be held securely. Read that again: securely. In 25+ years of blading we have used every manner of blade bag to carry skates and gear, and sadly nearly all of them suffer from the same shortcomings: mediocre build quality and feature-over-performance design. We are happy to say those problems are addressed in Mosher’s Canadian workshop, and assembled with materials all sourced from North American suppliers.

How come this bag is better than others? Glad you asked! Let’s take a look at the features and craftsmanship that makes the IBEX a serious contender for bag geeks and blade heads.

Okay, a blade bag can’t do much without quality straps, and right off the bat the Mosher IBEX ups the ante with Duraflex autolock side release buckles that do exactly what they were designed to do — hold stuff where you want it. Though they look a lot like regular old plastic clips, these puppies are heavy duty and feature a thumb-actuated release so there’s no slipping or shifting of the load. And since we all know that skates aren’t the most evenly-balanced and predicable load to carry or pack, this is a real benefit. Six straps total (four on the sides, two up top) ensure that your gear stays secure while packed in the IBEX.

A must-have on any serious pack, the IBEX’s expansion flap allows this bag to carry just about anything. We’ve strapped a large box to it and skated to the USPS, packed blades and gear for a session, and had a place to put wet towels and trunks when heading home from the beach. If you’ve never had a backpack with an expansion system, then you’re long overdue.

And since Mosher paired his pack with a wide, tall flap that covers most of the bag’s surface area, not only can you haul big stuff, you can do so safely and securely. There’s also really no right or wrong way to use them. While writing this review we realized we packed our blades differently than shown on the Mosher website. Truth be told, we prefer our method.

We’ve talked about strapping stuff to the outside of the IBEX, but that’s just the half of it — this thing has got room to spare. Taking cues from classic napsacks, the IBEX main compartment is just one big ol’ space for just about anything. While the bag’s outer is made of Cordora nylon, the interior is lined with waterproof Oxford nylon. Ours is bright yellow, which makes finding stuff inside a snap. There’s also a padded internal laptop divider, so your trusty work horse can go along for the adventure.

Keeping with the knapsack theme, the IBEX has a fold-over opening that not only cuts a clean line for the pack’s design, but gives you greater versatility when it comes to hauling stuff since it works as part of the expansion system. If you do anything other than drive a car as a main mode of transportation, I can’t stress enough how helpful this bag would be for hauling random stuff around your life. We’ve seen this style showing up on more and more bags, and after using our IBEX for awhile we can see why. It’s so flexible!

In addition to the overall quality of the materials used on the IBEX (and all Mosher products), well-executed design goes a long way to making this bag something special. Beyond the name brand nylons there’s YKK Aquaguard zippers, reflective paracord 550 pull tabs on all zippers for visibility and ease of use, side pockets for water bottles and other supplies, cushy Air Knit padding for comfort and breathability, plus three of those rugged YKK zipper pockets to keep everything dry.

When you feel the IBEX, you can feel the craftsmanship and quality. It feels like someone cared about making the bag the best it can be, because they did. That was Tom and his team.

So have you decided to order yourself a Mosher Originals bag yet? You know our thoughts on the subject. We can’t think of a single skate carrying backpack we’ve ever used that was as good or better than the IBEX. But it’s not for everyone. Sure, there are cheaper options out there. Solutions from companies with better name recognition or wider availability. Though if you’re looking to get what you pay for — a high-quality bag you’ll have for years and years — Mosher should be next on your list.

We’ve reviewed the amazing IBEX but they offer other stuff too, so don’t be shy. If you decide to pick one up, you’ll be supporting a blader-owned small business from Toronto that is committed to bringing innovation to their craft.

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