Evoc may be a brand you haven't heard of but it is a brand that is pushing the limits of what a hydration pack can do. Now I won't go into the history of the brand, you can do that yourself on their website but what i can do is point out how Evoc packs differ from some of the household brands such as camel bak, Osprey and shimano.
The model I bought is one of the hydration protector bags, called the FR Trail, current retail is $179.99. Now when I first saw this bag i was amazed at the sheer size of it, it was huge. But then i tried it on and even though it was a big bag it didn't feel big or heavy on my back . Now lets get something out of the way first, this is an all day pack, if you are doing enduro "yes i said it" or you are going on a multi day trip or alpine adventure than this line of bags is for you.
If you are just going for your typical 2 hour or less ride well it will be total overkill and you may want to try one of the other packs in their line like the fr lite series. Now you may be wondering at this point "why is it called a protector bag?" well it is because it has a CE certified light shield protection back plate built into the pack that is also removable or you can zip off that part of the bag and wear it on its own.
This pack has a laundry list of features besides the protection, all of which I will try to discuss in this short review. First it has bottom hooks for your pads, which is convenient, I hate putting my stinky, dirty pads in my bag with my food and clothes. Second it has a true helmet holder, you can either loop it around for a DH helmet or you can actually put your whole XC or Enduro helmet in the slot and synch it up. A cool feature of the helmet compartment is that it has a non slip grippy material that grips your helmet and prevents it from moving or falling out.
On the other side of the helmet compartment is the tool organizer compartment, this is one of the main reasons that drew me to Evoc in the first place. The compartment area is very well laid out, It even has a mess zone where you can put your lube to prevent it from opening and getting all over your stuff.
For pure storage you have two side hip pockets, one large pocket behind the tool compartment and a deep cavernous main storage area. I put my macbook air, iPad and some jeans and a riding jacket and their was plenty of room to spare.
Next up is the hydration/protection area. This pack does not come with a bladder, which could be a con especially at this price, but i have some bladders laying around the house. I used a hydra pack bladder for this review. Now the bladder has a pouch of its own, it does not sit freely in the bag which is a cool feature but i have not tried all the brands of bladders to see if everything fits, i will say that a 100 OZ hydra bak and a 100 OZ camel bak reservoirs fit with room to spare. Evoc states in their literature that the pouch will fit up to 3L of water.
This is the most comfortable pack of any kind i have ever worn on a bike. It has a contoured fit down the spine and the pads are supple and comfortable . Also because of the bike specific fit it allows air too flow freely from your back so you wont get that swampy feeling while riding. The waist belt is really nice, it is a stretch neoprene so it will feel comfortable and keep the pack in place even while climbing. Just as a bonus Evoc built a whistle into the chest harness for obvious purposes.
To sum it all up Evoc has made a great pack that is functional, safe and can haul anything. It gets a thumbs up from me.
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