Vaude Hyper Air 14+3 Review

Hydration Pro Reviews



Measured Specs:
Weight – 954.4 grams/33.67 ozs (with bladder)
Size – 17 x 10 x 6 inches

Impressions
The Aeroflex is sure a highlight of this pack. At first the stiffness of the mesh frame seems strange, especially in comparison to the more conformable soft packs. The Aeroflex keeps the main pack away from your back, so it ventilates more efficiently, and keeps the usual soaked rear padding from happening. No need for any fancy air channel system, this offered uber air conditioning! I strapped on a heavy full faced helmet, and the load was surprisingly well balanced, stable and evenly carried (almost like the extra weight wasn’t there). When I switched from the big helmet to the normal XC noggin cover, I could use the attachable helmet net. It worked quite nicely, although the clipping system was difficult to use, since the clips and loops were a bit small using my fumble fingers, and in addition the placement was a tad too high on the pack.

The FLASH system is nice, and it’s real easy to adjust the length (shoulder strap to hip belt distance) to match your torso, something that is usually only common on large backpacks, and not on small hydration bags. The shoulder and waist straps are nicely padded with a puffy diamond pattern, which helped with cooling. There is one zippered pouch on the left side hip pad, but it was pretty small and useless for most cell phone (think iPhone).

The main compartment was large enough, but it really needs zippered pockets and/or pouches for sundry items (the reservoir pocket doesn’t count). The lack of any pockets was a major mistake in this otherwise well engineered pack. Having inner pockets allows you to organize gear, so everything from tools to smaller items can be arranged and accessed as required. The pockets on the front were fine, and I appreciated the side mesh ones to toss in items like a windbreaker or an energy bar. I never did use the coin pouch that hangs by the reservoir, I have accumulated too many keys for it to be useful for a key holder. Although the rain cover seemed sort of silly, it was quite nice to have a dry pack when I got stuck out in a huge long down pour. The pack stayed completely dry, and I certainly stood out due to the bright orange color, perhaps it would be good for the hunting season?

The lack of a separate compartment for the water reservoir was not an issue, and it sure made it easy to fill with water (I rarely pulled it out of the pack). I cannot say enough about the incredible Source Widepack reservoir, it’s super easy to open, easy to fill and then close it back up. It also seemed not to get the funks to it, and didn’t seem to get that slime coating that bladders get after some time. The Glass-Like surface (has a mirror like finish) was a really nice feature which greatly helped with the non-slime abilities, and its synergy with the Grunge-Guard kept away the nasties. Even though the bite valve didn’t have an on/off (wish it did), it never leaked nor dribbled on me, and it drew water evenly.

hyper_side

Bottomline
I sure liked the Aeroflex back system. The bowed out mesh back panel carried the weight evenly and seemed less burdensome, and the pack never got sweaty, and ventilated really well (call it super vents). The FLASH system was nice, and made it adjustable for any body type and/or torso length, giving one a tailored made pack. The awesome and trick Source reservoir was simply a pleasure to use, and made the filling and maintenance of water an easy task. The little features such as the comfortable padding in all the right spots, a rain cover and helmet holder was all quite nice. I pretty much hated the lack of pockets in the main compartment? Hello, please reengineer it!

The craftsmanship really stands out on this pack, as does the stitching, placement and the choice of materials. The Aeroflex and FLASH system shows the typical German engineering and design, which is also evident throughout the pack. The pack was comfortable, carried loads well, had nice padding, and vented like a champion.

Strengths
-Source Widepack reservoir
-Aeroflex back panel system
-FLASH adjustment system
-Excellent ventilation and breathability
-Rain cover

Weaknesses
-No pockets in the main compartment
-No on/off for bite valve
-Main compartment zipper snaps broke
-Helmet cover clip system is difficult to use

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Hyper Air 14+3 Specs
Features: details
Hyper Air 14+3
Rain cover with safety light attachment – expansion bellows – helmet holder – side mesh pockets – padded hip belt with pocket – suspension system with F.L.A.S.H. Adjustment – sternum strap – opening for hydration system – coin compartment – safety light attachment – front patch pocket – front outer pocket with mesh organizer – reflective elements
weight: 770 g
volume: 17,000 l
Measure: 42,50 x 23,00 x 13,00 cm
Material: 210 D Mini Ripstop Polyamide Polyurethane coated, 450 D Polyester Polyurethane coated
Colors: Black/Sap Green, Black/Anthracite and Red/Anthracite
MSRP: $109

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Varaxis says:

    It looks kind of like my Deuter hydration pack (Race Air Lite) with the suspension back and source reservoir. The Deuter is a bit more techologically advanced and the straps are mesh (padding not necessary since the pack is small and won’t carry a lot of weight anyways) to further minimize sweat lines from the pack. The valve has a twist lock for on/off and a cap as well. It has a sternum buckle strap and a waist buckle strap. It’s also shaped a bit better at the top in case you have to duck under overhangs so it’s less likely to catch and rip.

    Looking at this is reassuring. I researched a lot before choosing my Deuter and was surprised to see another brand using the suspension back. The last time I saw it was on a Trek branded one. Also, I paid only $40 + S/H for my Deuter from Chainlove. The only downside is the lemon yellow and grey color not really matching with anything I have, which I overlook considering the price and features.

  • agmtb says:

    I have a 10 year old Vaude and the back system helps a lot in summer works great. These are cooler than a Camelbak and very similar to Deuter. Camelbak has more compartments.

  • Paul Cedeno says:

    I just recently got the 2010 vaude cluster air 10+3 and have to say i am completely happy with it. Its light , cool , carries enough for an epic 6-8 hr ride , the adjustbility of the straps is great. I have been needing a hydration pack for a while and think this pack was a great buy.

  • Abe says:

    I take it back. My earlier review is incorrect. After buying this pack it is more comfortable than the Deuter. It’s the best pack I have tried. Perfect size for mountian biking and with the expansion perfect for winter riding, too. Lighter than Osprey.

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