So what are the best MTB backpacks for 2017?
Well compared to my 2016 post on the best mountain bike backpacks, there have been a few new releases, but also many have stayed the same or have had a new colour added to the range to freshen up.
Trends in mtb backpack manufacturing are mirroring some of those additional safety elements that we have seen in back country skiing, whereby the bag blends from its primary function of carrying to that of being a protective device.
The mtb backpacks with back protector systems seems to be having the biggest advance in terms of an accepted feature, with many mtb backpack brands now offering this with their range.
And it makes sense. Incorporating additional safety features in a product that is already being used by the rider is a smart use materials and technology. We also seen this in terms of MIPS mtb helmets whereby now every major helmet manufacturer offer a MIPS option, but I digress…
So what is new?
Well not a lot, but there are some tweaks and some other options to consider. With Camelbak dominating this space for many years, over the last couple it seems that they may have dropped the ball when it comes to styling and colour options, with the likes of EVOC picking up the slack and carving out a niche in both styling and performance.
The Camelbak Kudu is a well-featured pack, but those stripes are not the most attractive elements going around.
The pick of the bunch for the Enduro / All Mountain rider seem to hover around the 16 – 20L size wise, but as each company measure their volume differently, it is not necessarily an indication of the storage size.
BEST MTB BACKPACKS FOR 2017 – WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Key features to look for include:
The list below is pretty standard of what you want your backpack to do – hold your tools, hold your water bladder and hold your spare clothes/food. Materials, design, and extra features (such as the back protection) is what positions a $80 against a $250 mtb backpack. The key features to consider include:
- Back Protection
- Full Face Helmet Carry
- Storage for Tools / Spare Kit
- Quality Strapping
- Solid Waist Strap (especially for mtb back protection packs)
MTB BACKPACKS 2017 – OVERVIEW
For 2017 the Europeans are nailing the design and range options for mtb backpack design, but also the likes of Osprey are stepping up their design to be contender for this years picks.
Well in addition to the smart looking EVOC Blackline model, which is still available, I wanted to feature the FR Enduro 16L model which is a more affordable model, with the key difference being that the latter does not have the air circulation system. While the EVOC products do not include a bladder, the FR Enduro has covered off on all the key features including back protection, large ans easily accessible tool compartments with helmet strapping and knee/elbow protective storage. EVOC have a large range MTB backpacks available
The German outdoor design houses such as Deuter, EVOC and Vaude have leaned on years of mountain experience to produce a range of quality, fully featured packs. While the styling on the Deuter model lends itself to a more hiking backpack, the quality and layout and features cannot be faulted – see video at bottom of the post.
The KUDU 18 is again up on the review for 2017 as Camelbak’s flagship Enduro model. As noted the styling could be improved, but outside of that, Camelbak have consistently offered bike hydration packs that have been for years the default generic name for the category. As with many others, this pack includes a back protection system and removable tool roll for organised storage and access. One area that Camelbak does extremely well is their bladder system, with an easy fill opening and lifetime guarantee, the 3L bladder is a great choice for bags that do not include one with their bag.
Waving the flag for America is the Osprey Zealot 15. Similar to the Deuter, it has some style leanings towards a hiking daypack, but delivers on a well thought through features (such as the roll out tool pouch) and is backed by a lifetime warranty – the highest of any of the MTB backpacks featured here. The Zealot has been a favourite for mountain biers for many years, and like many of the bags featured here, the pack has been updated in terms of styling, from previous model years, giving it an edge against the European manufacturers.
Dakine have often been at the forefront of backpacks in skiing and snowboarding, and have cascaded some of that knowledge to their MTB range of bags. The Seeker is pitched to the All Mountain rider rather than an Enduro racer, yet features many of the similar features that the racers demand, including back protection, full face helmet holder and an easy access tool section.
The Moab Pro 22 and its little brother the Moab 16 utilise a back protection pad with a well-ventilated back section. A full zippered main compartment makes for easy access and storage. A clever addition includes the added safety instructions printed on the inside for help when it really hits the fan.
As another option to the mix is the Ergon BA3. This pack is a little light on the features, whereby it has the facility for back protection, but is offered as an additional accessory, the same goes for the hydration bladder. Styling wise it looks good, but will all come down to fit and many cases price and value for money.
Trying to find the best mtb backpacks for 2017 can seem like a difficult task given there are a number of excellent options to select from. From this years offering, with the addition of a mtb backpack with back protector, the EVOC Blackline, Osprey Zealot and Deuter Attack would be on the top of my list for Enduro and All Mountain riding.
Have you got any of the bags above? Any bag that is not listed that you feel needs a mention? Feel free to add your comments below.