• Chris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley

Review: New RPM Tahi Iti Backpack

Updated: Jan 22

I’m seldom tempted to write reviews, but when it’s NZ’s own RPM releasing a locally designed, price-conscious backpack, it’s practically compulsory. So, let’s dive into it and see what we’ve got!

I was very excited to receive the first shipment of the Tahi Iti, as being able to offer a Kiwi-made disc golf backpack is an important point in the history of disc golf in NZ. There was a time when RPM held only a very small market share in NZ, but not any more, and I predict this is the first of many disc golfing accessories to come from RPM.


The Tahi Iti name

Continuing the RPM tradition of Maori names for products, Tahi Iti translates to “Little One” which belies its true size. Pronunciation is similar to “Tahiti” with an extra “i” in it.


Physical description

The main compartment of the bag stands 45cm tall, 29cm wide, and 22cm deep. It weighs 830 grams, which compares very favourably to its main rival; the Innova Adventure backpack. Assembly is completed by pushing the base plate down into the bottom of the main compartment, and that’s it.

With two large non-adjustable drink bottle holders which are slightly padded, it’s unlikely you’ll go thirsty during a round. In testing, I only experienced a drink bottle leaving a holder once, when I swung the backpack energetically on a strange angle.


The sides and front are padded, and the bottom of the main compartment’s walls and floor, along with the bottle holders are made from a Cordura-type material which seems quite sturdy.


From decades of past experience, I know the outer edges of these bottle holders will eventually wear through after several years of constantly being dropped on to asphalt, concrete and hardpan. Some black Shoe Goo applied to the base of them effectively prevents this from happening. Or repairs it.


The right side of the bag features two pencil holders and a pocket specially designed to place your phone in when filming ace runs, but I would not trust it to hold my phone at other times, as it is a little shallow. See below left.

On the left side, a mesh pocket is correctly sized to hold a PDGA rule book, and your phone will be properly safe stashed there. At the back side of this pocket, a vertical zip reveals a unique rear-facing putter pocket, as my Ruru fits in there perfectly, with 30mm protruding from it. When wearing the backpack with the straps set long, I can easily grab my putter with my right hand, reaching under my left armpit to extract it.


At the top is a rather voluminous triangular pocket which will hold an awful loft of Stuff™. But if you over-Stuff™ it, getting discs in and out becomes a bit of a hassle.

Tahi Iti straps, bottle holders, and putter pouch

The padded handle on top is very… err… handy, and it has an attached D-ring for securing keys etc.


At the rear, there are three mesh-covered padded areas and the straps. These must be standard items for a backpack as Tahi Iti comes with a useless chest-strap which you will almost immediately cut off, and also features two mysterious D-Rings the purpose of which entirely elude me.


I’d have preferred to see that money spent on a front-mounted putter pocket. Maybe in Version 2.0?


Weight

As tested, and loaded with two full water bottles plus all my Stuff™, the whole rig tipped the scales at 6.5kg. It was comfortable on my back, and with the straps out to nearly full length, I did not have any trouble putting it on.

Tahi Iti easily holds all the regular Stuff™

Disc Carrying Capacity

I was able to fit 18 discs in it for transport, and moving the putter to the side pocket for play made 17 discs reasonably accessible. The 17 comprised two deep-dish putters, five midranges, five fairways, and five drivers, so your maximum may be fewer or more, depending on your mix.


You will want to arrange your most-thrown discs in the middle of the compartment, as with 17 discs in the bag, getting the outer discs in and out is a little more involved. Fewer discs make extraction easier, of course.


Quality

This is always foremost in our minds at Vortica. And so I spent quite some time examining the backpack closely, and if I’m honest, I tried pretty hard to pull it apart, and failed.


The stitching seems to be first-rate, and I could find no loose ends, or sewing defects – something which can affect the cheapest backpacks made by Innova.


Price

Recommended retail price for 2021 is $95 – so don’t pay any more for it!


Innova Adventure backpack @ $95 - $105

Compared to the competition

In the current space, only the Innova Adventure backpack is worth considering as an alternative. It’s a similar bag which has a side pocket instead of a second water bottle holder. The Adventure’s retail price varies from $95 to $110 in NZ. It features an embroidered logo instead of a printed one, and its drink bottle holder is adjustable, something which would also benefit Tahi Iti V2.0.


Value

At under $100, Tahi Iti offers great value, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see our customers choose this over the Innova Adventure backpack on a regular basis.


In order to take a step up to the next tier of disc golf bags, you need to spend roughly $70 to $80 more on an Innova Hero backpack, which offers more room, some additional features and a wide range of colour patterns and materials.


Verdict

If your budget is $100 or under, then Tahi Iti is literally a no-brainer for any Kiwi entering the sport and looking for something which will last until it gets replaced by a very serious backpack or a cart of some sort.


An ideal first disc golf backpack, with plenty of capacity for all the normal Stuff™ players tend to carry, but without a big price tag. And it’s made by RPM!


Buy one here!


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