The nylon bag of the pack is divided into a smaller upper pocket and a large voluminous main compartment (8 liter) with an expansion section (1.5 liter) controlled by zipper (total 9.5 liter). The main has a long thin rectangular shape, and has a pouch for a hydration reservoir (not included), and two pump sleeves. On the top of the main is a mesh zippered pocket with two soft padded sleeves. The upper outside pocket is roomy, and adds some nice organization attributes, and is comprised of two zippered mesh pockets, and a small pump sleeve. The hip belt has two zippered small pockets.
The main compartment has a decent amount of room, especially towards the bottom of the pack. The mains flattened interior shape can make it tough to pack things properly, especially in the middle section, which is exacerbated by the bowing out of a full hydration reservoir. It’s best to jam the contents as much as possible towards the bottom of the pack, for stability, and organizational purposes. The long clamshell zipper is really nice, and allows easy access to almost the entire pack. Due to the shallow nature of the compartment, when the zipper is opened, it works best to lay the pack on its back to prevent items from flopping out. The upper inner pocket is nice, and the soft slots are handy for a music device and tools, keeping the latter from banging around. Access to the pocket can be somewhat convoluted due to the routing of the hydration hose over the top of the pocket. I do wish they had made the egress port underneath the pocket instead? The two pump sleeves are functional and easy to use, and they sit nicely right next to the reservoir, held snugly in place by the bladder itself.
The exterior top pocket is also roomy, and the two side loading zippered pockets are useful. The mini pump slot is nice, although I usually put something else in there instead. The upper pocket is great for flatter items, wallet, snacks, camera’s, etc. The pack also comes with an adjustable bungee cord system, which clips to four attachment point on the circumference, and it’s handy for helmet and jackets. The side hip pockets were handy for small snacks and tools, but they need to be slightly larger in size, as an iPhone is pretty hard to squeeze into them. The trapeze panel forms a pseudo open pocket, and is accessible by either of its sides, and is useful if the pack isn’t overstuffed with gear.
The back adjustment system is an excellent feature, and since everyone has a different torso length, it’s great for matching and fitting to your body shape, making the pack become one with your back. The system is simple and intuitive to use, and easy to adjust, and any changes are discernible. The free-floating and self adjusting shoulder straps is a wondrous, simple and innovative feature, which conforms with the pack to your shoulder’s width and shape, and lets it move and fluctuate with your body as you ride and bump along the terrain. It’s quite noticeable while spinning, as you regularly rotate your shoulders for the maximum drive, and when doing wild body contortions on difficult terrain, and the pack remains stable and steady during any of these movements. The bottom trapeze system which attaches to the shoulder straps really works well, and it’s like a set of hand’s cups the bottom of the pack, securing it from beneath, and compressing the load and pulling it up close, so that the weight is in tight, for better balance and stability, and center of gravity. Like the other packs in Ergon lineup, the high sitting shoulder strap system feels like your doing a deltoid’s contortion dance when you wiggle your arms into the opening.
The rear padding system is not only supremely comfortable, but it ventilates well and conforms excellently to your back, helped greatly by the flexible frame system. I got the optional 2 liter Hydrapack reservoir (BH200), which worked like a charm, but I think it needs to be part of the package, especially considering that it makes the pack more expensive. I really liked all the pockets and sleeves, which were useful and functional, and it’s great to see a European company start to have some additional organizational features in their packs, as a plethora of useful pockets and sleeve has always been lacking in their designs. The bungee cord was handy for helmets, armor and an occasional jacket, and it really helped with the small storage capacity.
Measured Specs (regular size):
- Pack (w/ bungee and rain cover) – 725 grams
- Reservoir – 136 grams
- Total – 861 grams
- 20 (length) x 9 (width) x 6 (depth) inches