Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) Review-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) Review

    Just a short review on the Shimano U4E. I picked one up this weekend and have been really enjoying it.

    I'm not an enduro rider but i picked the pack up in part because of a good review from my LBS owner, and also because i like the amount of external storage it has.

    I moved all my stuff from an 18L pack into the 4L pack and was pretty surprised it all fit. The external straps and pocket allow you to stuff a jacket or rain coat and carry gear. The internal organization is pretty good (as good as i've ever had, really). With all my tools and a spare tube in the pack there is still room for a small jacket and some lunch.

    I switched from a pump to CO2 because there is pretty limited vertical room for the pump. In the future a smaller pump may be the ticket.

    Shimano doesn't mention it anywhere but you can fit about a 2L bladder (not included) in the compartment. It starts to get hard to stuff the bladder in as you reach the 2L total, however. This is considered a "race" pack so I can forgive that. There is a compartment for a water bottle on the outside as well, so technically you could carry about 3L of water.

    LOVE the strap system. So simple and durable once you get it configured. This pack sticks to your back and I never once felt uncomfortable or hot. It doesn't shift around at all even when fully loaded and has a very small footprint.

    The things i don't love about it are having to put the bladder in, and adjusting the straps (a one time thing). The compartment is really small for the bladder and it's frustrating to wiggle it in there.

    I wish Shimano had put more of the external storage on their other (non "Enduro") packs. I might have preferred a 6 or a 10L pack, but then i would be limited to internal storage.

    This pack replaced a Dakine Amp 18L which slid all over the place and constantly re-adjusted itself, and an Osprey Raptor 14 that leaks all of its water out when set down with the valve open and completely lacks compartmented storage. I am definitely loving the ability to fit all my stuff into a 4L pack with enough external storage to add-on if needed.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    It's been a few years since I wrote this last review, and I've used a few other packs since then (notably one from Orange Mud). I still have my original U4E but I had stopped using it, mostly because I like trying new things, but also because some features made it a pain, like stuffing that f%@#ing bladder into the old one from the side.

    When looking for a new pack I came across the new (not sure how new it is, maybe 2017?) U4E on ebay for $50, new, with a bladder. The price was right so I snagged it.

    I could tell from the pictures that they had fixed the issues I had with the old one, so I figured as long as it fit and was as comfortable as the old one, it would be the perfect pack for me. After riding with it for a few days it has lived up to my expectations.

    Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) Review-img_20200509_153235.jpg
    The newest model retains all the external attachments that let this pack hold a lot more than its 4L designation would suggest. It's made to carry a full-face helmet and goggles on the back, plus there's a bottom strap for a jacket or similar. All the zippers are waterproofed.

    Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) Review-img_20200509_163310.jpg
    The interior is fully accessible now! You can fold back the flap and see everything. Organization is pretty good, lots of different compartments of various sizes. There is not much room in the bottom, so what you see is what you get.

    You can also see the large orange pocket hanging down. I believe it's intended for a set of glasses or a cell phone, since it's padded and easily accessible from the outside. I bought a separate phone case from Timbuk2 that attaches to the straps on the front.

    Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro (U4E) Review-img_20200509_152803.jpg
    Most importantly, the bladder is easy to remove and replace. You can also see here the shoulder adjustments for height.

    My first ride with the pack ended with me getting home, taking off the pack, and thinking "oh...that's right, I was wearing my new pack!". That is...the pack was so unnoticeable during my initial ride that I forgot I was wearing it. It's comfortable, light, and seems to hit that sweet spot in my back where it's completely innocuous.

    Highly recommended, especially at the current pricepoint!

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