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Q&A: With Kyle the Creator of The K-Pack

The Athletic Genius interviewed Kyle of K-Pack a neoprene backpack that would hold all of those important items while exercising. 

Q: Why did you call your pouches K-Pack and when did you launch it?
A: The first K-Pack was made for me as a Christmas gift when I was a Junior in high school.  I’d previously described the idea to my family, so when my aunt drew my name in the family gift raffle, she decided to bring the idea to life for me.  Had she not done that, it’s hard to say if I would have ever gotten it off the ground.  I tend to be a doer so I’d like to think so, but there’s no way to know for sure.  In terms of the name, when she made me the first sample, she wrote K-Vest on the outside pocket.  The K was simply for Kyle.  People seemed to like the name, so it stuck.  Although I originally pursued the K-Vest and had some initial success, I eventually had to abandon the project.  Between that time and now, another company started selling a golf harness called a K-Vest, so I decided to change the name to K-Pack.  I’m aware that it makes me look like something of an egomaniac selling a product that is named after me, but it’s no biggie, I dig the new name.

Q: What inspired you to develop K-Pack?
A: When I invented the K-Pack, I was a junior in high school and I’d just quit the soccer team to run cross country.  I was a decent soccer player, but I was a better runner and I felt cross country would help me to prepare for track.  I was trying to get recruited for track, so cross country made more sense than sitting on the bench.  The soccer team went on to tie for the state championship, but I turned out to be a pretty good cross country runner, so I didn’t regret the decision.  It also enabled me to come up with the K-Pack!

When I switched sports, the cross country season had already started and I wasn’t in shape.  I’ve always been a really hard worker, so I started working out several times a day to get into running shape.  To make my runs a little more enjoyable, my mom bought me one of those neoprene waist belts to carry my music player.  It seemed like a good idea at first, but once I tried it on, I didn’t make it to the end of my block without taking it off.  For me, it felt extremely uncomfortable.  I soon figured out that it worked much better if I strapped it over one shoulder like a sash.  Doing so put the pouch in between my shoulder blades, which had the effect of reducing motion and therefore increased comfort.  While my solution worked well enough, it was difficult to put the belt on that way and I felt that there had to be an easier and more comfortable solution.  I’ve always liked coming up with inventions, so I gave the problem some though and eventually came up with the K-Pack.

I decided to bring the K-Pack back after a loooong hiatus because I’ve always felt like it was a great product that never really got it’s shot.  I knew next to nothing about business when I came up with the idea and I definitely put my trust in some people that I shouldn’t have.  Now that I’ve had a couple of other ventures, I feel like I’m ready to do this right.  So far, I couldn’t be more psyched about the response that we’re getting.

Q: Will there be any other styles and colors for this line in the future?
A: I definitely plan to add some new colors in the coming months.  One of the great things about neoprene is that it’s available in a ton of colors and designs.  I’m big on giving people options, so as long as it’s not too pricey, I’ll do that.

Q: How does the design of the K-Pack help with comfort and flexibility during activities?
A: One thing that isn’t always apparent to people is the fact that you can wear the K-Pack with the pouch on your back or with the pouch on your chest.  Sometimes people prefer the pouch on the chest if they need to be able to access the pack really easily.

The design of the K-Pack is effective because it has both an adjustable mid section strap and adjustable shoulder straps.  The location of the pouch between the shoulder blades also helps to cut down on pouch motion.  Another thing that helps is that the neoprene is a bit stretchy.  This allows for the straps to have some give, but not too much.  From a safety standpoint, an important feature is the reflective tape on both the shoulder straps and on the pouch.  The reflective tape is easy to see because it’s going over the wearer’s shoulders, and the pouch is high up on the wearer’s back between the shoulder blades.  Increased visibility is also more comfortable in that it helps prevent the wearer from getting hit by a car, which I imagine is pretty damn uncomfortable. 

Q: Are you looking to add more accessories to the line if the K-Pack takes off?
A: So the short answer is not really, but I’m open to it.  I think that we’ve done a great job on the K-Pack and it’s a really cool product.  I have some ideas about small changes that I might make to the product in the future, but it’s a pretty simple deal and it works exactly as it’s meant to.  That being said though, I have no idea where technology is headed from here, so we’ll see.  What’s funny is that I originally invented this product to hold my CD player.  For you youngins who are like, “what the hell’s a cd player”, one of the problems with compact disk players was that they skipped when you ran with them.  So in addition to increased comfort, the K-Pack also prevented CD players from skipping (which nothing else did at the time).

Eventually, ipod shuffles, nanos, and other small players came out and I felt like the window for the product had closed.  Now, years later, technology is what it is today and I feel completely naked without my smart phone.  The K-Pack allows me to take my smartphone, wallet and keys with me when I run, so I started thinking that maybe other people could use it too.  The other lesson I think is that you should always be exploring alternative uses for your product.  I was way too focused on CD players and I didn’t think about all of the other things that people like to carry when they run.

Q: Are you a hardcore athlete yourself?    
A: There was a time when I would definitely have fallen into that category.  I was particularly good at track and even got recruited to run at some D1 schools.  I had a good amount of natural ability in the sport, but I also worked really hard.  I was usually the guy who would push everyone else to do extra workouts.  I decided to hang up my spikes though in college because there were other things that I wanted to explore.  I still do a fair amount of running, but nothing like before.  At the moment, I’m doing the insanity workout videos, which are pretty intense.  I come from a big sports family, so it’s something that I’m always around.


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