I thought I might try to open an “official” thread to collect reviews on protective equipment, as that information tends to be a bit scattered around on the forum. Helmet, pads, whatever you wear to hopefully help you not get injured.
ION K-pact Knee pads
I love mine. The sleeve structure makes them stay in place really well. They adapt super well to the shape of my knees due to the impact foam construction - I hate anything that feels like it limits my movement and these don’t feel like that at all. They also don’t move around on me, which means no rubbing on the skin.
Over the years I have them, they have protected my knees from impact really well, even on rocky sections I’ve never felt any hard impact, my knee has always felt nicely protected from all sides. Soft outer covering means that they probably aren’t for you if you kneeslide on asphalt, but with my Muni terrain, they haven’t developed any rips or tears after years of use.
The velcro straps are the wrong way around, if your knee brushes the frame when riding, it can open the velcro. Possibly related: after a few years, the velcro on mine has worn out, so if I don’t close it very deliberately, it sometimes opens accidentally when riding. They still stay in place pretty well then, but it is annoying (But not unusually with velcro that has been in use for a few years…)
Also there is no way to put them on without removing shoes.
Camelbak K.U.D.U. Backprotector/Backpack
I have the 20l version, and I use it for pretty much all my muni rides. It has a level 2 back protector integrated, which you can unzip the main compartment from. The 3 Chest/Belly straps keep it in place really well, and in “protector only” mode, aside from me getting a sweaty back, it’s really unobtrusive.
In “backpack mode”, I’ve found it to be a great backpack. Lot’s of compartments, dedicated space for a 3L drinking bladder, dedicated space for tools, etc… If I go for a ride after work/uni, there is enough space to store my jeans,jacket, and lunchbox, but if I have it almost empty, I can strap it down tight enough to feel small.
Not much, really. As a backpack, it’s not a very well ventilated one - but for a protector…well they are all not really breathable, are they.
Tiny complaint: the integrated helmet compartment doesn’t work perfectly, or at least you have to be carefull when running around with it.
It also doesn’t cover quite as much of your back as most dedicated back protectors - still decent coverage, but if I were to buy a protector for bikepark only use, I’d look somewhere else.
I’ll add a review of my new helmet (Bell Super 3R) and TSG Tahoe protective shirt when I have worn them for a few rides. (I had started writing up a review of my old helmet, but since you can’t buy that model anymore, I decided it would be pointless.)