Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The KettleBack....Product Review

A few weeks ago I ordered the KettleBack and I wanted to use it a few times so I could give an unbiased appraisal. As you know, I'm very serious about my workouts and the tools that I use. I use the best implement for the job. In my case, I use the FT-80 Heart rate monitor, Vibram Five Fingers and Dragon Door Kettlebells. I wanted to see if the KettleBack would become the kind of tool that I'd be eager to carry in the ol' toolbox. Each tool I use is the best tool for the matter at hand.

First off, I was very excited to check out the KettleBack. I talked to both product developers before I ordered it and I was excited by their passion and the effort they put into it before it was ever available for sale. If I remember correctly, there were 9 prototypes tested before they arrived at the finished product.

Kettlebells are best used out of doors, in my opinion, and the main reason I was so intrigued with the KettleBack was that this product would truly make any kettlebell portable. Ordinarily I'm not going to rack or farmer walk a big kettlebell more than a 1/4 mile as an example, so most of my beach sessions have been limited to a 16 KG kettlebell. Well not anymore.

The KettleBack is really well made and I knew that the construction was sturdy. I didn't need to worry that the pack would bottom out and that I would need quick feet to dodge some iron. All the hardware, webbing, zippers, straps, Velcro and pack itself are pretty much industrial grade. This not a modified daypack. It's a backpack specifically rated to carry kettlebells. It's top rating is 24 KG but I toted a 32 kg kettlebell on a 4 mile hike and it isn't any worse for wear.

Here's a overview of how it works. You unzip the main compartment and place your kettlebell inside a foam insert. Once it's placed then you have a horn strap to secure it from the top as well as a bell strap across it. Think seat belt. The area that crosses your back is fully padded with a special lumbar pad. There is absolutely no "bounce" at all when you are on the move. Once you get to your workout venue, it takes about 10 seconds to get the bell out of the KettleBack and ready to swing. Or snatch. Or Press.

In addition, there are pockets for all that you need to carry with you. Plenty of room to store on top of the bell. Place for fuel and liquid. Towels. You name it. Very well thought out design.

I love the KettleBack and I am excited to use it a lot. I used it last weekend for our D-Day Man Maker session. 50 snatches and then 400 meter power walk with the 24 KG in the pack 4 times. I hiked the other day. The Suburban Warrior Series has some great workout ideas as well.

If you like to work with your kettlebell outdoors and want to combine some amazing active recovery type work with your kettlebell session than you should really invest in the KettleBack. It is of quality design and construction and you will be so glad you have it to use. I know I am.

Sandy Sommer, RKC

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At June 10, 2009 at 7:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to hear an unbiased, but positive review of the kettleback from someone I can trust, Sandy, thanks. I'm quite tempted to one of these products, but the UK/US exchange rates and also transatlantic delivery costs would make it quite an expensive item for me. Of course, true quality is never expensive, but I think I may need to wait for a "UK-version".

At June 10, 2009 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't become EU rep for them. You should ask LOL

At June 10, 2009 at 8:40 AM , Blogger Chris J said...

Remember, I'm partly crazy. I think we (all kettlebell users) are though.

Can you load 2 bells in to it? you said there was storage space... I'm thinking 24 on bottom, 16 or 20 on top of it.

I like working out with my 24kg, bell, but for lots of things, it's still too much, I like the option to move down in weight when I'm starting to run out of steam. Lower weight to finish safe basically.

Besides a ~90lbs pack would be perfect.

At June 10, 2009 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

I'll have to see about loading it with two bells. I haven't tried it. Certainly it wouldn't rate out at that could it may still work.

At June 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I have no need for the KettleBack at the moment, this is a terrific review!
Makes me want to go out and get one (if I had the extra loot burning a hole in my pocket...)

Seriously, great review Sandy! I'm sure a lot of your readers will go out and purchase it after reading what you had to say about it....

At June 10, 2009 at 4:40 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


I got an email from the KettleBack folks and they do put multiple bells in for boot camps etc. However since only one can be secured they only "rate" it for one bell.

At June 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM , Blogger Mom for 4 said...

Do you know if TSA will let you bring a kettlebell as a carry on item on a plane? This would be great for bringing along a KB for summer travel!

At June 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

I've never tried it but have heard tales of folks carrying them on. I've also heard of folks checking them too.


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