K2 Genesis: Perfect pack or useless gadget?
December 8, 2005
It’s official, I’m becoming my mother. And the scary thing is, my husband just flashed a bit of my father. All of this because of a backpack.
At the start of every ski season, my husband Rob, who runs a local ski shop, receives an amazing amount of free gear. This year, a K2 Genesis Pack was part of the booty. On first glance, it seemed pretty cool: A backpack with tiny speakers built into the shoulder straps. You put your iPod or MP3 player into a little pocket at the top of the pack and plug in; an on/off switch and volume control are also on the shoulder strap. It’s like your own personal surround-sound stereo system, and it’ll go for six hours on four AA batteries.But the more we thought about it, the less enchanted we were.From my perspective (and this is where I sound like my mom), the Genesis Pack is just another source of noise. You see, I love peace and quiet (perhaps because I rarely get any?). You’d be hard-pressed to find me cranking tunes while hiking in the backcountry, skiing powder or even walking to the bus stop. And if I were to listen to music at these times, I wouldn’t dare make it public. Granted, on the Genesis Pack’s lowest volume setting, the music plays softly and the speakers direct the tunes toward your ears. But still, there are no earplugs (which is actually a selling point for the pack), so it’s likely you won’t be the only one listening.
For Rob’s part, the Genesis Pack is just “another useless gadget” – and this from a gearhead who loves, and I mean loves, gadgets. It’s not a real backcountry pack (it has a CD pocket and cell phone holder, of course, but no spot for a shovel, skis, probes, etc.). And because there are no earphones, background noise interferes with your music-listening (unlike me, Rob tries to lose himself in music now and again). Plus, it can be frustrating (and this is where he sounds like my dad): You can’t shuffle your music around without taking off the pack, unloading the iPod, reloading the iPod, putting the pack back on …. and worse, after only two weeks of sporadic use, one of the speakers is on the fritz and who knows how to fix it?Again, we’re old folks, relatively speaking. And despite the “adult” price tag of $130, we are clearly not the market K2 targeted with the Genesis Pack. Note the gear review lingo from http://www.kidzworld.com: “Keep pumpin’ while your tunes are jumpin!” Or my personal favorite: “It’s the perfect bag for two of life’s greatest things – snowboarding and tunes.”If only life were that simple.
Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org