Expensive but the versatility will appeal to many
The Camelbak KUDU Protector 20 Dry cherry picks its features based around practicality and of course, back protection for the rider.
Storage is based around one main compartment, a hydration bladder pocket and several smaller, organised pockets. There’s room to stash all the spare clothing and kit you might need for a day or two on the bike in the main chamber, complete with a zipped area for valuables. If you want to use the K.U.D.U. for uplift days or hike-a-bike sections its helmet carry will happily take a full-face, the padded front pocket fits goggles and there are stowable armour straps to make life easier.
Put the K.U.D.U. on, take it for a ride and it instantly feels like it’s giving you a comfy bearhug thanks to the extra wide waist strap, shaped shoulder straps and double chest strap arrangement. This sucker stays in place no matter how much welly you give it! The waist strap is a particular highlight, using Velcro to keep it in place; it adds a buckle for added security. It also has two substantial pockets to keep food and other kit to hand. The drawback of this rock-solid retention though is it takes about the same time to put on or take off as a straight jacket.
Talking worst-case scenarios, the K.U.D.U. includes a full coverage back protector. This is CE certified to Level 2, the highest level currently, which means it will absorb impacts and transmit less than half the force to the body. Unlike the protector in other packs, this one covers not only the spine but also the full width of the back including the rib cage. Providing better protection.
And then there’s the K.U.D.U.’s party trick. For those days when you still require protection but don’t want to be too encumbered the pack can be unzipped from the protector. Allowing just the protector to be worn on its own. In this guise it still has a couple of small pockets so still retains some practicality.
It might be pricey and heavy in comparison to many packs but just like a convertible full-face, the versatility of the K.U.D.U. will appeal to many.
It’s the added reassurance the extent and level of protection provided by the K.U.D.U. provide, coupled with the rock-solid stability that really does make the Camelbak offering the one to beat.