Vaude North Shore 20 Review

Hydration Pro Reviews

The Proflex rear suspension system was a pretty cool, and consisted of two aluminum stays and a thickly padded and molded back, that was more like the designs used on multiday backpack. It was a simple affair to pull the aluminum stays out of the pack, and slowly bend them to the contours of your back, and return them to their slots. Trying the pack before and after the fine tuning, showed how much of a difference this fitting accomplished, and it made the pack more comfortable and stable, a better weight carrier and prevented undue swaying. It was nice to be able to have the choice of having the stays in or out of the pack, since either option gave a discernible change in the packs behavior and characteristics. Without the stays, the pack was more conformable, slightly lighter, and tended to bounce less on steep terrain, while with them installed, it was more stable, and had better load carrying capabilities. I rarely removed the stays, as I found they offered the best of both compromises.

The backs molded viscoelastic foam was really cushy, and the raised padding’s thickness, shaping and strategic positioning hit the back in all the proper places, offering comfort and flexibility, without any pressure or hot spots. In addition, it had some well-placed air channeling, which gave good ventilation, and aided with decreasing and defusing sweat. The wraparound hip belt was wide, well padded and comfortable, and helped carry the pack on the hips, keeping things nicely centered. The shoulder’s straps are contoured, with just enough padding for comfort, yet still have some stiffness for stability, and the edges are smoothly rounded to prevent irritation.

The 100 fl oz/3L Hydrapak reservoir uses a plastic slider closure for the top of the unit, and it allows easy fillings since the entire top opens wide. It can be turned inside out, which makes the cleaning and drying tasks a breeze, and it has a quick connector that attaches or detaches the drinking hose, so it makes it simpler to take the bladder out of the pack for cleaning and filling.

When you are ready to head out into the boonies and do an epic ride, this pack really shines, as it can bring everything that is required, including the kitchen sink. It lets you bring an array of armor, a full faced helmet if desired, and any necessary backcountry items, including apparel, tools and food. Even with all the useful straps for attaching items, everything is cleanly laid out and there aren’t any extraneous accessories or straps to get in the way. When fully loaded the pack carries the load well, and it stays centered into your back and over your hips, with the weight tucked in tightly. Even when loaded with weight, the pack remained stable, even when hammering through rock gardens and heinous terrain. If you got into extremely steep terrain, with ledge drops and drop-offs, the pack had a slight amount of lift off the hips towards the head, but it was still better than most. It’s not the lightest pack on the market, but the stability and weight carrying capabilities, along with its prodigious capacity to carry anything required more than make up for that deficit.

Measured Specs:

  • Pack w/ Stays – 1152 grams
  • Reservoir – 145 grams
  • Aluminum Stays – 68 grams

Bottom Line
The Vaude North shore 20 is an excellent pack, meant for those epic days in the backcountry, yet it still retains enough simplicity and functionality that it can be used for normal everyday excursions. You can stash everything you need into the pack, including the kitchen sink, and attach armor, apparel and a helmet on the outside if required. The build quality, attention to detail and toughness of this pack means it will last a long time. It has a plethora of nice features, including the large zippers and rain cover, and the unique compression straps hook and helmet holder. The Proflex suspension system utilizes aluminum stays and thickly molded back padding, which offers increased stability, comfort, ventilation and load carrying capabilities. The ability to fine-tune the fit by bending the stays to the contours of the back, accentuates the Proflex characteristics. The pack works in synergy with the Proflex system, hip pads and shoulder straps, for superb load balancing and flexibility, and centers the weight into the back and onto the hips. Even when heavily loaded, the pack retains stability, composure and anti-sway attributes while riding through rough terrain. The pack is heavy, and the helmet holder hooks can catch during detachment, and it needs a key clip on the front pocket, and pump sleeves in the main compartment.

The Vaude North shore 20 is a primo pack for epic adventures, and its tough and durable, has a slew of great features, highlighted by the Proflex suspension system.

Strengths

  • Durable and tough
  • Proflex suspension system – airflow channels, aluminum stays, comfy padding
  • Rain cover
  • Helmet cover
  • Beefy zippers
  • Hydrapak reservoir

Weaknesses

  • Helmet holder hooks can snag during detachment
  • Heavy
  • Front pocket needs key clip
  • Main compartment needs pump sleeves

MSRP: $129

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Follow Brian Mullin at http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

Vaude Company Specs:

  • Visit the Vaude North Shore 20 website
  • Rain cover with safety light attachment
  • Helmet holder
  • Side compression straps
  • Side mesh pockets
  • Padded hip belt with pocket
  • Sternum strap
  • Opening for hydration system
  • Padded MP3 pocket, MP3-eyelet
  • Fixation for protectors
  • Safety light attachment
  • front outer pocket with mesh organizer
  • reflective elements
  • Weight: 1100 grams
  • Volume: 20 liters
  • Size: 47 x 25 x 16 cm
  • Material: 600 D Polyester Polyurethane coated
  • Colors: black


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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