EVOC have today released their new line of Trail Pro back protector backpacks for mountain biking, available in 10L, 16L and 26L capacities with two back length options. The new range of packs features EVOC’s new Liteshield PLUS spine protection technology, now wider and more flexible than those that came before it, boasting impact absorption of up to 95%.
We got the EVOC Trail Pro 10L pack in to check out exactly you’re getting when you hand over $220 of your hard earned cash.
Feature Image Credit: Finlay Anderson
Technology First: EVOC Trail Pro
The arrival of the new Trail Pro series comes with the first application of EVOC’s newly developed Liteshield PLUS back protection technology shown last summer. Weighing a svelte 168g, the new spine protection is pretty lightweight, with some flex and an ergonomic fit.
EVOC say the EPP foam provides the best possible protection for the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine and the coccyx. The interjacent sections provide ventilation channels for air circulation while the segmentation also provides noticeable flexibility.
The individual elements can move independently and adapt to the rider’s movement so it should always be sat very close to your back no matter what shape you end up in. Safety wise, it is tested to level 2 (EN 1621-2) standards.
What does that actually mean? In the testing procedure, an anvil impactor is dropped onto the back protector. In order for it to meet level two standards, the average peak force recorded below the anvil in the tests must be below 18 kN. And, no single value can exceed 24 kN. More simply, EVOC say the Liteshield PLUS back protector absorbs 95% of the impact energy in a crash.
Is it comfortable?
Where the pack directly interfaces the rider’s back, the same plus shapes can be found in the form of raised pads. These permit further air circulation by creating space between the backpack and the rider’s back.
The new EVOC Trail Pro packs borrow a number of features we’ve seen previously on their range of touring backpacks, such as the Explorer Pro reviewed earlier. Cushioned wings that form the waist strap widen from the rider’s front around to the hips, hugging the body comfortably and securely.
In addition to the velcro waist straps, they also get secondary security in the form of a buckle with adjustable length straps. The narrower chest strap closes via small buckle with integrated whistle, easily accessible for calling for help during an emergency. The strap length and height are both adjustable.
The straps themselves are very cushioned and broad enough to distribute weight nicely across your shoulders. Key to shoulder comfort are the brace links, a feature seen more commonly on EVOC’s touring line-up.
These go hand-in-hand with the adjustable chest straps. As you shorten the chest strap, the two shoulder straps are brought closer together. The links allow the straps to naturally angle inwards towards one another.
Standing at 5′ 4″, I opted for the S/M size option. It took me a little while to get the fit right. I originally ran the main body of the pack too high up my back. This meant on steep trails I could feel the pack pushing against the back of my helmet. The adjustability meant I was able to lower it further down my back a little while retaining a super secure fit.
The pack’s main area is compartmentalized to accommodate the back protector, hydration bladder, and the rest of your kit. A velcro loop at the top directs the hose through an opening, while a clip on the right of the chest strap holds the mouth piece.
The EVOC Trail Pro 10L pack has three pockets in addition to the main compartment. The front pocket has six mesh compartments for keeping small things like tire plugs, tire levers, pump, multi-tool and pressure gauge stowed neatly. It is accessed by a double-pull zipper that’s super easy to use, even if you’re wearing bulky gloves. A velcro patch at the top secures it further.
A small top pocket is fleece lined, handy for carrying a GoPro, goggles, sunglasses, or anything that you want to protect from scratches. The final zippered pocket sits on the hip and contains a key clip. This is the only easy access pocket so you’d probably store a snack or multi-tool in here. The 10L pack we tested has just one hip pocket but the larger packs in the range have one on each side.
Can we recommend it?
Unreservedly. If you can stomach the price tag, you won’t be disappointed. Our initial impressions are that this is a high-end, super high quality MTB backpack. Your money pays for high tech back protection and insane levels of adjustability. And, it allows EVOC to produce a pack of two different back lengths.
We really appreciated the finer details too; the brace links, the whistle, ventilation. Not to mention the fact that you can adjust the height of the chest strap, a feature that many other women will greatly appreciate I’m sure. It’s a premium backpack at a premium price.
What about the bigger packs?
The EVOC Trail Pro also comes in a 16L and 26L option, both available in S/M and M/L back lengths. These larger packs get an additional pocket for small items and keys in the main compartment. They also get a rain cover that loops around the waist straps to protect the wings as well.
Though our 10L pack features loops for a helmet carrier, this wasn’t included. It is unclear whether or not this is sold separately, we’ll get back to you on that.
Pricing & Availability
The EVOC Trail Pro 10L, 16L and 26L packs come in two colorway options; Black and Carbon Grey, or Light Olive and Carbon Grey. Pick them up for $220, $240 and $260, respectively. Hydration bladders are not included. But, EVOC do offer 1.5L, 2L and 3L bladders that are BPA and PVC free.
- 10L: 900 g, 26 x 50 x 9 cm
- 16L: 1000 g, 26 x 50 x 12 cm
- 26L: 1070 g, 26 x 50 x 16 cm