A pure bike-packing option, rather than an all-round trail performer
We got this pack to test as a pure bike-packing option, rather than an all-round trail performer. It’s designed for carrying loads and keeping them dry, rather than organising kit, and, we’ve since found out, it does this rather well.
Being from Ortlieb it is, of course, bombproof and completely waterproof, with ultrasonic-welded seams and a very tough fabric closed by a roll top. Even the exit port for the reservoir uses a rubber-bunged grommet you have to unplug and open up with a scalpel to use. Although, if you are that keen to keep your gear dry, we can’t see you wanting to introduce a reservoir into your pack in the first place.
The lack of features keeps the weight reasonable — this really is just one compartment, take it or leave it. One slim, zipped pocket on the outside (curiously not waterproof), a zipped pocket on the reservoir sleeve inside, clip-on helmet retainer and single compression strap on each side complete the list of features.
A stiff back-plate kept everything in shape, and chunky padding with large air channels meant the pack was comfortable on the bike.
Despite the boxy look, it was super-stable when the terrain got lumpy and would be a great pack for distant mountain adventures, where your spare pants need to be kept tinder-dry. The lack of compartments and tool organisers rule it out for everyday use, though.