German pack manufacture Evoc have a huge range of backpacks for mountain bike use. While most of their offerings are pitched at the big-mountain / all-day market (ie. very large capacity), they also produce a tighter selection of slimmer, lighter packs more suited to the average trail rider. We previewed this pack and now we’ve had the chance to get it onto the trail for some dirty adventures.
Breathability is a highlight, especially given that this pack does actually take up a fair bit of real estate on your back. The Air Circulation system and vented straps work well to keep you cool, and we put it to the test on some scorching Alice Springs rides, just to make sure!
The pack does need the stabilisation of the waist and sternum straps; despite its low profile, it has a tendency to move around unless you’ve got all the straps fitted up. With plenty of adjustment available for the positioning of the sternum strap, we found the fit to be very comfy. We really appreciated the often overlooked inclusion of elastic loops to secure the lose ends of the straps too (why do so many packs lack these?!).
Storage is a mixed bag. There’s plenty of room, but we wish the pack had some more dividers to break up the large main compartment. Because it’s just one big pocket, everything tends to float around and end up in a mess at the bottom of the pack. The two other external pockets are only small too, really designed for holding your sunnies, phone, keys and a few gels. This means that pumps, tubes, multitools, jackets and food all end up getting lumped together in the main compartment and it can get chaotic.
The bladder mouthpiece offers only a moderate flow of water, but the rest of the bladder arrangement is excellent. The two-litre bladder itself is made by Hydrapack for Evoc and is filled via a smart fold-over system that makes cleaning/filling very easy. You do need to open the body of the pack itself to get at the bladder, rather than using a separate zip like many other packs.
Unfortunately this pack is one compartment shy of awesomeness. We love the build quality, the looks, the bladder and the breathability, but the lack of internal dividers or a bigger external pocket bugs us.