Review: The World is Your Gym With EmPack
Just add water to turn this backpack into a weight training pack.
Having access to a gym is never guaranteed. If you're a frequent traveler, especially someone who enjoys adventures in the great outdoors, it's a certainty that you will have moments when you want to workout and have no way to get to a gym.
Bodyweight training is the obvious backup and it's great. But its does have limitations. Plus it's fun to get creative with new toys. And that's where the genius of a backpack that turns into a weight training pack comes in.
Crossfit athlete and coach Emily Schromm brought this idea to life when she launched Evolved Motion and the EmPack on Kickstarter in 2015. EmPack now provides travelers with an incredibly effective and convenient tool for growing stronger and leaner with progressively harder workouts while traveling.
EmPack ($149) and EmPack Nomad ($99)
The EmPack is the first and only backpack designed for use as a weight training tool. It's incredibly practical for travelers - it's a backpack after all, so you're probably bringing one on the road anyway.
Water bladders allow you to easily add weight and it's made from military-grade Cordura fabric, so you know it's durable. Use it as a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or to add weight to your favorite bodyweight exercises.
The Nomad is the smaller version of the EmPack and has been designed with trail runners and hikers in mind. It includes one reservoir and a hydration pack can be added for an extra $15.
Preparing Your EmPack For Use
Taking Straps Off
From Backpack to Weight Bag
I tested the EmPack and instantly fell in love with it. I travel with a backpack anyway, so it makes sense to use the EmPack and have an extra workout option readily available to me no matter where I am.
It's easy to setup. In less than five minutes, you can convert the EmPack from a backpack that holds everything you're taking with you into a sandbag/kettlebell/barbell substitute. Seriously, this thing can be all of those in your strength training or conditioning workout. There are six different padded handles on it, so you can try different grips.
The water bladders, known as reservoirs, weigh around twelve pounds each when filled and are snug in the bag once placed in there with the straps tightened down. You can also fill them with sand if that's more readily available to you.
1 Reservoir = Beginner
2 -3 Reservoirs = Intermediate
4 Reservoirs = Advanced
I have used a weighted vest for years but have always struggled with bringing it with me when flying. The EmPack solves this problem for me. When I arrive at my destination and want to workout, I take everything out, fill the water reservoirs, remove the straps, and I'm ready to workout. You can't beat that convenience when trying to workout away from home and a gym.
As a backpack, it provides more than enough space for all the clothes, books, and toiletries you would need for a weekend trip. It also has a laptop sleeve, a front side zipper, and comfortably padded straps.
The great thing about EmPack is that you can easily incorporate it into almost any bodyweight workout. Getting tired of air squats? Clean your EmPack up into the rack position and now you're doing front squats. Not challenged by push-ups anymore? Wear the EmPack like a backpack (which it is after all) and now you're doing weighted push-ups (far superior to bench pressing in my opinion).
Here are two of the first workouts I did after getting my EmPack. I think you'll enjoy them.
This is a variation of "Hotel Hell" - one of my personal favorite travel workouts. "EmPack Hell" doesn't have the same ring to it but it's just as punishingly effective.
- 100 Thrusters (With EmPack)
- 5 Burpees at the Top of Each Minute
Start with five burpees. Then complete as many thrusters as possible until the minute is up. Repeat until 100 total thrusters are completed.
Full Body EmPack AMRAP
AMRAP - As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
- 20 Overhead Walking Lunges
- 20 Bent Over Rows
- 20 Stiff-Leg Deadlift
- 20 Overhead Presses
- 20 Lying Leg Raises (with EmPack locked out above your chest)
Check out more EmPack workouts by Evolved Motion.
EmPack is a must-have for anyone who travels often and cares about staying fit without a gym. It's high quality, simple to handle, effective for strength training, and fun to use! No more excuses for skipping workouts while traveling.
Get your EmPack from Evolved Motion now!
All photos and videos by Evolved Motion.