Rating: 3 / 5
Some backpackers will find the Kiva Keychain backpack very appealing. It starts off in a 4” x 2.5” x 2” package that only weighs 2.4 ounces. It expands to a 612 cubic inch pack with (unmeasured, mfg claims) 17” x 12” x 3” dimensions.
It comes with a little metal keychain fob that most people on here will immediately cut off, which is exactly what I did, saving 0.3 ounces and getting the package down to a 2.1 ounce day pack. That’s about half the weight of my wind shirt! Unzippering the little sack reveals the true backpack within. It uses a nice 70D ripstop taffeta polyester weave, with an inner coating that looks decently water resistant. Because the main pack zipper is located across the top arch of the bag, any significant rain will likely penetrate regardless of the water resistance of the pack’s material.
The pack uses very simply lightweight straps with single adjustment points. The stitching of the straps is the achilles heel of the thing. With the load described below, the threading on the straps was having a tough time holding everything together, and I would expect that a few days with a 5 lb load like that described below could blow the seams. If not for what I perceive as poor stitching, this bag would be nearly flawless in design given the cost, value, and materials used. While the stitching is simple and cheap across all seams in the backpack, it’s really the straps that would worry me.
To test out the pack, I loaded it will a platypus full of 70 oz’s of water, my Patagonia Micropuff vest, my Marmott Chinook wind shirt, and a fleece REI hat. These are probably representative of what I’d likely want to carry for a day hike, minus some food or a lightweight kitchen setup.
Everything fit in the pack very nicely, with plenty of room to spare. I did not compress the vest, and felt like I could easily add additional items to the load without running out of space. The feel of the packed backpack, using the vest between my back and the platypus was fairly comfortable.
I could absolutely see this keychain backpack being a staple in my overnight packs in the future. If I had any sewing skills at all, I believe reinforcing the straps’ stitching would be well worth the time invested. For those of you reading this who have some sewing skills, I would encourage you to get the backpack. I would not plan on putting more than 5 lb’s in this bag for any length of time. Finally, while I had backpacking in the back of my mind as a purpose for this bag, I primarily bought it for use with my motorcycle. The underseat storage on my bike is nearly non-existant, but can accommodate this backpack in compressed form. Having this pack with my bike when I might impulsively stop to buy something will be a nice luxury.
The "3" rating is soley due to my perceived lack of durability. If not for that, this surely would be a home run product.