Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - WORDS: MIKE BLEWITT IM­AGES: TIM BARD­S­LEY-SMITH

It is hard to go past the hum­ble back­pack for your fluid and spares needs. Or in the case of the USWE Pa­triot 15, the highly evolved moun­tain bike spe­cific back­pack. Those who don’t like rid­ing with a back­pack nor­mally have a few pet hates: a sweaty back, sta­bil­ity of the bag, and pro­tec­tion from what’s in­side. USWE man­age these bug bears quite well with their all-day Pa­triot 15. One of the fea­tures of all the USWE bags is their No Danc­ing Mon­key har­ness sys­tem. The cen­tral at­tach­ment is not only a cinch to use with gloves, but as the straps are also elas­ti­cised it’s not a rigid fix­ing. The padded straps go over your shoul­ders, and have an elas­ti­cated point be­fore the clip. The wide Vel­cro straps come up from the base where there is an­other sec­tion of elas­tic. You can ad­just the length on all four straps, and there’s a hose holder right near the clip, with op­tions to route a hose from a blad­der over either shoul­der. No blad­der is in­cluded. The back sys­tem has raised pad­ding to help ven­ti­la­tion, but it’s the CE-cer­ti­fied cen­tral back pro­tec­tor in­side that’s of real in­ter­est. The flex­i­ble vis­coelas­tic foam hard­ens on im­pact, and save for adding a bit of weight to the bag (1.11kg on our scales) it’s not no­tice­able when rid­ing. But if you crash onto a multi-tool, pump or even just a big rock on your back it might pro­vide that ex­tra bit of pro­tec­tion you need for your spine and spinal cord. Two main pock­ets take care of most of the stor­age. The front one has two zip­pered com­part­ments, a mesh sec­tion and the open part for things you need easy ac­cess to like snacks. The main com­part­ment has ac­cess for a reser­voir, a small pocket with a key clip that’s ideal for keys, a place for emer­gency ID to be writ­ten, 5 dif­fer­ent tight mesh pock­ets to ar­range tools, a pump, levers, spare hanger and more – plus a cav­ernous gus­seted sec­tion for cloth­ing and more. There’s an open space be­tween the two for jam­ming a jacket or trail lid in, plus there are at­tach­ment points for a full face hel­met. Best of all, given the sta­ble na­ture of the bag at­tach­ing any of these doesn’t feel to­tally rub­bish! There are also two straps at the base to roll up a jacket or even a trimmed down sleep­ing pad if a sum­mer time overnight epic tick­les your fancy.


With a day’s worth of gear, the pack is heavy to pull on but light on your back, thanks to the sta­bil­ity. Com­pared to any other back­pack I have


- Sta­ble and safe - Car­ries a range of gear com­fort­ably - Solid con­struc­tion


- No deal break­ers!



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