The pack’s storage is divided up between one large main compartment, a small front pocket and two side mesh pockets. The reservoir nicely drops into a pouch in the back of the main compartment, and hangs from an easy to use Velcro strap, and the tube routes through a small opening on the top, and then over the shoulder strap, all in a nice seamless and carefully thought out manner. This arrangement certainly makes it easier to pull the bag out for filling and cleaning. I liked the bite valve, as it never dripped, but I found it hard to get a good draw. Although the reservoir was easy to fill and clean, it needs a quick-disconnect for the tube for easier usage. When the reservoir is full and is inserted into the pack, it pushes out between the two vertical steel frame slats into the free space between the mesh, and the bowed out back, so not as much internal pack volume is lost. The main compartment is nice and large (for a mid sized pack), and its two zippers can be snapped together so they don’t accidentally open, and spill out the contents. I do wish the main compartment had some small pockets or pouches, or any sort of additional storage placements, as this would greatly help in organizing gear, especially smaller items. The front pocket has plenty of room and is quite expansive, although the storage space gets flattened out when the pack becomes full. The side mesh pockets were very secure and useful for energy bars, gels and my Spot location device.
The very bottom of the pack has a zippered compartment that holds a rain cover for the pack, which is a totally trick item. Besides working great in rain and wet snow storms for protection, I also used it as a helmet carrier when riding on mellow fire roads. With its extremely bright neon green color, you certainly will be seen!
Weight – Pack : 810.4 grams/28.6 oz, Bladder: 158.7 grams/5.6 oz, Total: 969.1 grams/34.2 oz
Size – 19 (H) x 10 (W) x 7 (D) inches
The Aircomfort system works extremely well, and it definitely kept you from getting a sweaty back, which was quite enjoyable. The system also carried the weight efficiently, keeping it in a distributed and balanced manner. On gnarly or extremely steep terrain, the pack didn’t bounce around nor creep up towards your neck, and it seemed to stay planted on your back. I did notice that the hip padding and lower section, where the bottom metal braces are attached, dug into my back sometimes, and I found that disconcerting, but it was a minor issue while riding. The meshed shoulder straps were quite nice, especially in warm weather, never belaying a hint of sweat, although I would have liked a touch of padding, as the side ribbing on their outside edge was rough. The sternum strap worked well, and the sliders for it were very beefy, and it was easy to adjust them for load variance and fit. The waist belt cinched in as needed to carry the load, and they had these useful plastic sliders that the excess strapping popped into, instead of using the usual elastic loops. I think a further extension of the hip padding would greatly benefit the entire waist system. I liked how the bite valve worked, and you could easily twirl it in any direction, and the twist on and off was quite nice, but I found it difficult to get a good draw when drinking. The Dirt Shield cover seemed like a smart idea, but it gets in the way and bangs around, so I just left it off, and it slowly morphed its way to a cabinet at home. The HexLite material has been very durable, and has survived multiple crashes and tree branch encounters, and the stitching and construction are excellent, and I haven’t found a loose thread nor frayed spot anywhere. The zipper pulls were very robust, and were easy to grab, and the snap together features of the two main zipper’s rules! The big compartment made it really simple to cram stuff in there, and that was especially functional when packing for inclement weather, but it really screams for some internal pockets, for compartmentalizing things, else they tend to get lost in the bottomless pit.