Designed for Freeride and All Mountain use the Evoc FR Trail Unlimited is fast becoming the favourite pack with the gravity set.
On initial inspection, the main thing that draws your attention is the bold ” Captain America” or Harlem Globetrotter” style graphics and the large overall dimensions of the pack ( This is no shrinking violet) so it could prove to be case of “love it” or “loathe it “looks for some people but personally, I think it looks great, and different to the usual run of the mill offerings.
Moving on to the hip belt. This wide belt is made from a stretchy and absorbent material, and fastens together in the middle by way of two long velcro strips. A buckled strap is attached to the hip straps, and this can be fine tuned for security and custom waist fit. Multi adjustable shoulder and chest straps also promise to bolster stability. ( note the built in whistle on the chest strap buckle ) A very nice touch.
This bag is going to appeal to riders who like to carry everything apart from the kitchen sink, as it has a large zipped compartment for the water bladder and removable back protector. Another large double zipped area is designed to take waterproofs and spare clothing/ food ect, whilst another smaller zipped pocket reveals a well designed tool organiser. A hidden detachable rain cover and several smaller security pouches sit alongside the adjustable helmet carrier and completes an impressive array of pockets and features.
So how did it perform?
Firstly I filled up the water bladder, stowed kneepads, packed a waterproof jacket and spare jersey, stashed all my regular tools and pumps, then adjusted the pack to fit neatly before heading up the long four mile road climb to my local riding area.
The first thing that I became aware of was the pack weight, it was certainly heavier and warmer than my other large day sacks, but after ten or fifteen minutes in the saddle it became less of an issue. On topping out at the top of the climb, I noticed the back of my jersey was rather damp, so I would say that the air flow on the back of the backpack was restricted somewhat, although the really hot weather I encountered didn’t help too much I suspect.
Tackling some steep gnarly singletrack and “black graded” drop offs, the Evoc was impressive in its ability to remain stable and taut and it felt like I was getting a big hug from a brown bear around the waist, such was the grip of the hip belt and straps. Very impressive indeed.
All this riding was proving to be thirsty work, so i decided to stop and have a drink of water from the hydration pack, but I was greeted with the foulest tasting bite valve I have ever came across. ( it seems there are chemicals left over in the manufacturing process which can leave a film on the plastic bite valve and inner tube) Lesson. Scrub and clean bladder, tube and bite valve with bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice before using.
The bladder is a rebranded Hydrapak, which has a reputation for this trait, so I would personally clean it thoroughly first, or use a different pack instead.
Summing up, I would say this is the most stable and secure day pack I have ever used, and it does everything it says on the tin, and I would be happy using this on long cross country winter outings as well as Freeride and all mountain riding……..just make sure and clean the hydration pack first to avoid any nasty surprises.
Back protection system
Built in emergency whistle
Hydrapack bite valve
Reviewed by Raymond Clarke
Building on the popular FR Enduro, the FR Trail is built as an all-day technical hydration pack with the kind of protection that you’d expect from EVOC’s FR Protection line. What makes the FR Trail unique is that the back protection system can be detached and worn separately. The FR Trail Unlimited comes in a stylish Black/White color.
TÜV/GS certified protection pack (TÜV Süd)
CE-certified Liteshield Back Protection Technology (EN 1621-2)
Back protection can be detached and worn separately
2-step zipper system
New for 2013: Helmet/Protection carrying flap
Wide tool compartment opening for easy access
Integrated rain cover
Accommodates hydration systems up to 3L (not included)
Available in 2 sizes S, M/L according to body height
Volume: 20l (Size M/L; S: 18l, XL: 22l)
Weight: 2.86 lbs. (1300g – size M/L)
Size: 27 cm x 56 cm x 14 cm (Size M/L)
Materials: Nylon 210/D Ripstop PU Coated, P600/D PU Coated, Air Mesh, Neoprene