ION Transom 16 backpack £139.99
ION’s Transom pack has some neat features and offers masses of wellorganised storage space. What really makes it stand out is its ‘Air_Condition’ airflow system, which lets you switch it between ‘uphill’ and ‘downhill’ modes. Plastic sliders within the waist strap allow you to push the pack outwards and fix it in place away from your lower back, to boost ventilation when climbing. Release the buckle and the pack slides snugly against your back, for better stability on the descents. In practice, the system does a decent job of keeping your lower back sweat free, but the large, relatively rigid waist strap and shoulder blade pads still get clammy. We also found it quite difficult to switch modes while riding.
The 16l volume is convenient for big days out when you need to carry lots of gear and there’s space for a 3l bladder, though one isn’t included. We like the plethora of pockets and compartments, especially the removable tool sleeve. Despite the pack’s hefty 1,560g weight, we found it comfortable when riding and secure when descending, and the straps offer heaps of adjustability to help you get the fit right. Although the fabric gives decent weather resistance, a rain cover is included for downpours. Luke www.ion-products.com