Behind the Crossbow II

Ski season is here!  Well, some places it is here.  Where we are located (in Bellingham, WA) our slopes didn't open until this past Saturday which was really late for us.  It felt like it took FOREVER, but it's finally here and in light of that we thought we'd share an article from a past newsletter about one of our packs that, because of it's reputation as a multi-tool, would be a great companion on the slopes.  It is always fun to peek into Rick's hands-on creative process.  If you want to subscribe to our newsletter and get all the sneak peeks behind the products click here.  

The original Crossbow started with Rick’s goal to design and build an Ultra light pack for Hasty SAR Teams. His vision was something that was durable but still quick, light and lean. Being very hands on about his designs, it was only natural that Rick include in his process a rigorous test. If we are completely honest the whole design began with this specific test in mind, as Rick believed this test would prove both the durability and the leanness of any pack and it was his goal to produce a pack that stood up to the absolute insanity of it.

The test was as follows:


  1. Mountain bike 9 miles from the trailhead to North Twin Sister. 
  2. Climb the west ridge. 
  3. Glissade down the north face. 
  4. Downhill mountain bike the rest of the way to Ferndale Riverside Golf Course. 
  5. Play 9 holes of golf… Without ever taking off the pack…obviously. 


Seems reasonable right? Maybe not, however, the pack survived and was dubbed the "Crossbow." This pack became very popular very quickly and was soon used by people all over the world. Rick himself used/uses this pack on a regular basis for everything from bike commuting to work to carrying his bodysurfing gear in Hawaii. So while we all were sad to see the Crossbow go out of production a couple years back, we are SO excited to see it come back this year with several improvements that make this pack even better for the original intended audience; Hasty SAR. Honestly though, it is still great for so many uses, it is the multi-tool of high quality packs.

Rick being the force and vision behind many a pack design has some obviously pack-geek favorite new features. If you can get him to focus for a minute away from the new water proof zippers that outline the sleeker and sexier exterior pocket silhouettes and main compartment, then I think he would settle on the improved accessibility and ability to organize medical supplies within the pack.

Katlyn Heck
Katlyn Heck