I think it’s safe to say that 99%, if not 100% of mountain bikers are aware who Evoc are so there’s no real need for an intro to the company here. For the small amount of you that aren’t aware, Evoc are a world leading protective sports equipment company who have spent the last 15 years travelling the world looking for inspiration to support the development of their products and the success of their reputation.
What’s in the box?
Evoc have very kindly sent to us their Hip Pack Pro 3L for test and review in carbon grey/chilli red, including the integrated 1.5L hydration bladder. They have also sent in two Camelbak Podium Dirt Series bottles to run alongside the hip pack.
One word best describes the first impression we had upon opening the delivered package; quality. The quality of the hip pack is second to none, as you’d expect. The straps feel incredibly well made, sturdy and built to last through the harshest of riding conditions. All the zips are waterproof and the pack in itself feels surprisingly lightweight. The bottles are equally as impressive upon first glance. Bold colours, self sealing and lock out enabled jet valves as well as mud caps for added freshness.
The hip pack has a vast amount of key features and some really set it apart from some of the other leading hip pack brands:
● Evoc’s air flow contact system and air circulation is brilliant, and ensures a constant air flow through the pack as well as across the contact points with your back, keeping you cooler than other packs, even during high strain activities.
● The pack has two easy to reach and secure bottle carriers with added security from elasticated loops that fit around the neck of either bottle.
● The Ventiflap system is a real game changer. Two blue pull cords on either side of the belt can be pulled and released to tighten the pack for going downhill and loosen it for riding uphill. This system works very well and is simple and easy to use, much more so that adjusting the straps manually every time.
● The front of the pack has ample storage for all the tools you’d need for a day in the saddle, as well as things like a spare tube and some food.
● The hydration system compartment stores your 1.5L bladder and still has room for other necessities you may need to carry with you like a map, a small first aid kit or a thin waterproof jacket.
● Lastly, each strap has its own hipbelt pocket. These are small but perfect for your car keys in one and phone in the other for quick availability when needed.
The podium dirt series bottles are a great feature to add when ordering the hip pack and come with their own set of added benefits:
● Mud caps to keep the dirt out.
● Easy cleaning with simple disassembly.
● Self sealing jet valve with lockout.
● Optimized bike cage fit (when running without a hip pack).
● BPA and PVC free.
Putting them to the test.
We’ve been using the hip pack and bottles now for around 6 weeks. We’ve tested them through a vast array of locations around England and Wales and put them up against some of the longest descents, harshest conditions and roughest terrains over hours and hours of riding.
The hip pack itself is comfortable, lightweight and extremely handy for spending all day in the saddle. It’s easy to set up and get going with and the ventiflaps are outstandingly useful when climbing and descending. Once pulled tight, the pack stayed in place over some of the roughest and most technical trails we know of with minimal movement and re-adjustment at the bottom of the trail. Upon approaching a climb, we simply pulled the two cords on either hip belt and the ‘pressure’ is instantly released for a comfortable ascend. The air flow contact system lets air ventilate and flow through your lower back at all times which is great for keeping cool on longer rides.
The storage is ample and there is easily more space in this than in my current hydration backpack. On the majority of my riding whilst wearing this pack I easily stored the following:
● 1.5L hydration pack (full)
● 2 x bottles (full)
● Small first aid kit
● Quick links
● Tyre lever
● Spare derailleur hanger
● Multi tool
● Cable ties
● Puncture repair kit
● Energy gels
● Ample food (nuts, sweets, cake etc)
● Car key
The wide strap allows for extra comfort and the added buckle strap as well as velcro allows for adjustment to suit any body shape. The internally routed system for the hydration pack hose is an added benefit as it keeps it well out of the way of branches waiting to tear it off, and a magnetic clip on the nozzle and belt strap (interchangeable per desired side) is a brilliant finish to what is already a brilliant design feature.
When the pack is full to the brim with everything listed above it is fairly heavy as you’d expect. Thus being said, the weight is evenly distributed across your back and hips and we found that you soon get used to the weight, much more so than wearing a backpack where you can instantly feel it pulling your lower back if not set up correctly. There is movement of the pack, more so when full as you’d expect but it is minimal and much less than other packs we have used in the past. If however, you don’t load it up and are using it just with the bladder for a shorter ride then it is exceptionally sturdy and can be left for hours without adjustment.
The Camelbak podium dirt series bottles are actually very good indeed. The lockout system works a treat to stop and leakages in case the bottle is squashed during transit, the extra wide nozzle is great for re-fuelling quickly and the dirt cap remained in place on every ride keeping everything fresh as a daisy. They look pretty cool too which is a bonus.
As you all know by now, we try to be as honest as possible when reviewing the products that get sent to us so that you know you’re buying quality stuff, and trust us when we say this is a quality product that you won’t be disappointed with.
In hindsight, yes this is just another hippack on the market. But when you look at the features, storage and comfort compared to the others, then it’s in a league of its own and Evoc have put massive amount of development and innovation into creating something that leaves no stone unturned and ticks all the boxes.
Website – https://www.evocsports.com/