Words by Skylar Hinkley | Photos by Jann Eberharter
Ok, maybe I haven’t actually gone lunar, but I would not be surprised if this bag has—and Hans Rey has tried, but that’s another story. The EVOC team have ridden just about everywhere else humans have stepped foot in constant search of epic adventure, and it shows. These bags are built beyond dependable, and that is why I wouldn’t think twice before grabbing mine as I enter the shuttle and exit the grasps of gravity.
Even though most of my rides do not entail a trip halfway around the world, I always want to bring the most reliable gear to get out and back again. For me, the Stage 6l is the perfect pack for my size adventures, and still touts the same attention to detail that you find in their expedition-sized bags. The 6-liter version seemed to be just right to bring on most every ride, but on a few outings I was left wanting the extra storage of the 12l, 18l, or even the more minimal 3l in some other circumstances.
Despite its slim stature this bag contains a tiny universe of organization. It took me a few tries to find out how best to utilize all the pockets within the front tool pouch, but now it is nice to have those options. My cell phone and sunglasses find an obvious home in the padded, fleece-lined pocket that has a separate section for my keys. The main compartment zips almost to the base of the pack, allowing access to objects at the bottom without disrupting the rest of the contents and makes accessing the included 2l Hydrapak a breeze. With the addition of the hidden helmet straps, this bag satisfies my needs and then some.
The Brace Link design allows the shoulder straps to slide and pivot, allowing a more tailored fit for various shoulder shapes (and can be used in conjunction with a neck brace). In addition, the minimally webbed but substantial waist belt really helped keep the base of the bag in place without feeling restrictive. It is immediately obvious that the buckles are top notch, and I can’t help but like the integrated whistle on the fully adjustable sternum strap. My only gripe is the piped edge of the bag makes contact with my lower back, but as I get pedaling the feeling fades into the background.
Although EVOC is known for their backpacks that integrate spine protection, this bag does not. However, it does have their signature Air Flow Contact System and the designers take their cool seriously. These guys even gush over, “three dimensionally structured fabric with variable thread sizes,” to describe the mesh they choose to make the shoulder straps so damn nice. Looking at this bag on someone’s back, you would have no idea that it is hiding this level of tech.