Gear Reviews Mountain Biking

TESTED: EVOC Stage 6lt Pack

TESTED: EVOC Stage 6lt Pack

TESTED: EVOC Stage 6lt Pack

My pack stinks!!! No seriously, it reeks like a hobo who’s been left to soak overnight in an infected piss pool.

I’m actually embarrassed to go out riding with it. I just pity anyone riding behind me. Imagine the scene for a minute, those old cartoons where you see the character following a scent, leading them to a delicious pie cooling off on a window shelf.

Well, it’s like that but the complete opposite. I turn around to see my riding buddy dry retching. OK, I exaggerate somewhat but you get the idea. Oh and by the way, yes, I have washed it, several times, but there must be something at a molecular level I cannot seem to kill.

I’ve decided I’m not about to shrink myself and set off on a bacterial killing mission in a microscopic spaceship just to solve this problem. I can’t afford it, plus have no idea how to do it, so lets just go for the easier option. Time to hit up the tinterweb thingamajig and start the painful search for packs, of which there are about a gazillion on the market right now.

By the way, I am not changing my pack just because it stinks. My current pack has actually started falling apart, probably a by-product of the stink. The poor thing has decided to give up on life and dissolve into a pile of unrecognisable matter. I don’t blame it.

EVOC stage 6 pack
The EVOC Stage 6l Hydration Pack, sitting pretty. Photo ©Jason Lorch

I seem to have the capacity to never quite be happy with things I have (wife excepted of course). The grass is always greener, especially as soon as you’ve jumped that proverbial fence to munch on it. Your mate buys something new and all of a sudden you MUST have it too! But then, as soon you have it in your hand… ooh look over there..shiny thing! ahhhh must have that now. Does this ever end?

I blame the evil overlord brands for tempting us weak-minded MTB folk with a constant mind bogglingly array of precious things. You have to blame someone eh? So, laptop in hand and a major search engine (sounds like poodle) at the ready, let’s go!

And The Search Begins…

Several days of online research later, I eventually decided to opt for a brand that I already own. Enter the… EVOC Stage 6litre pack. I really did want to try a different brand, but this one just kept coming back to me. EVOC’s new range, from what I’ve read online, sounded like it was going to meet my needs. So I was keen to get my hands on this particular pack.

EVOC have been on the MTB scene for quite a few years but also produce a range of products for snow and travel as well as MTB body armour. They’re known for their quality and well thought out designs and have made a big impact on the Enduro race scene.

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Clean and simple design. Photo ©Jason Lorch
EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Ready to roll! Photo ©Jason Lorch

EVOC Has Landed

I currently own the 10ltr FR Lite with the back protection. It’s great for those longer rides and for when I lead group rides. I can get a bit more personal kit and first aid items in there. This time however, I was after something for shorter rides.

The pack arrived a few days later and I immediately headed out to my local trails to test it, and as I expected, it felt great, but I wanted to see what it was like for a full day of racing. So I headed up to Killingworth for round 4 of the RockyTrail Entertainment Superflow series to give it a good thrashing.

The pack comes with a 2 litre bladder of the design that I have come to really admire. The bladder uses a fold top with a plastic closer, which slides across horizontally. I like this design and have never had an issue with it over the years, as opposed to some of the other brands on the market, which can tend to leak under pressure and can be quite fiddly to open and close.

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Pockets a plenty! Photo ©Jason Lorch

Pockets and Pockets and Pockets

The pack is loaded with pockets that have been well thought out. There’s the usual top pocket for a phone and other small items, such as snacks. The internal pockets are neatly organized and just the right size to stow your multi tools, spare tube and tyre levers.

There’s also enough room in the main bladder area for a shock pump and/or a tyre pump. I particularly liked the pull cord for the main outer storage area. Just grab the middle of the cord and pull down, hey presto! There’s also a zipped internal pocket, which is perfect for those items that require extra security, like your car keys.

I’ve known riders who’ve lost their keys on the trail. As if that’s not enough of a pain in the ass, having to wait for roadside assistance to arrive and be charged an arm and a leg to open your car, will always feel like someone has pissed on your chips.

But the best bit is, you still have to purchase a new set of keys! Arghhh just kill me now and leave me in the bush. It goes to say, I love internal zipped pockets and internal zipped pockets love my car keys.

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Attention to detail. Photo ©Jason Lorch

Perfect Enduro Race Pack

The pack can carry an open face and a full-face helmet, which is perfect for Enduro races where you may use the open face for liaison stages and the full face for the race stages.

There’s a mini mesh thing, which is stored underneath in a little pocket. Pull this out and it fits over the top of your open face, keeping it nicely attached to the pack.

For your full-face, there are clips at the top of the pack that clip over the chin guard. Too easy!

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Open face helmet hammock. Photo ©Jason Lorch
EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – Full face carry straps. Photo ©Jason Lorch

Breezy

The pack has some great air-flow features that many smaller packs on the market just don’t seem to offer. EVOC say ”We solve this contradiction by means of a back component where all ventilation components such as large ventilation channels and specially grooved and perforated EVA pads behind mesh material have practically been moved to the inside. This ensures that the pack fits close to the back and simultaneously provides optimised back ventilation.” Zzzzzz…… Sorry, I drifted off there for a moment. I have to agree with their statement though. It works, believe me!

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack -Air-Flow contact system, it works! Photo ©Jason Lorch

Brace Link System

EVOC have introduced the Brace Link System, which adjusts the shoulder belts perfectly to the width of your shoulders. Sorry, another techy bit coming up, pay attention now!… EVOC claim:

“This automatically adjusts the load transfer to the body’s centre of gravity, while at the same time the contact areas with back and shoulders are minimized. Even wearing a neck brace is possible through the BRACE LINK”.

Is there anything this pack can’t do?

EVOC stage 6 pack
EVOC Stage 6l pack – The Brace Link System. Photo ©Jason Lorch

In For The Long Haul

I buy stuff, use it, complain about it, buy more stuff, repeat. Well, to be fair, I don’t always complain about it. If it’s a truly great product, that’s been well though out, solves a problem and adds value to my MTB life, it will stay with me for years to come.

These products and I will have a long and lasting relationship and experience many great rides together. I will also unashamedly recommend these products to anyone and everyone, with gusto.

EVOC stage 6 pack
Throughout the race it just felt really secure on my back, no bouncing around and hitting me on the back of the head. Photo: ©Outerimage Collective

CONCLUSIONS:

The pack does what is says on the label. It hugs your body really well without the need to keep cinching it tight throughout the day. The air flow system keeps your back ventilated and most importantly, stink free! A set of great pockets and storage options and the 2ltr bladder is perfect for those shorter day rides or racing.

Throughout the race (see pic above) it just felt really secure on my back, no bouncing around and hitting me on the back of the head, especially on the steeper sections and no painful hot spots or abrasions, probably due to the Brace Link System.

Well, I can safely say that the EVOC Stage 6ltr has well and truly won me over. After a brief online interaction and a date at a muddy race event where we truly connected, I have to admit, it was love at first sight.

So I raise my glass and toast a full and adventurous future together with my Stage 6ltr EVOC Pack. A match made in heaven.

Below is a full spec list and a link to the EVOC site for further info.

Tech Specs:

  • Emergency plan (integrated)
  • BRACE LINK
  • Attachment system for: helmet (XC, full face)
  • Tool compartment (separate, quick-access)
  • Hydration Bladder 2 l (included)
  • Accommodates hydration systems up to 2 litre
  • Volume: 6 litres
  • Weight: 700 g
  • Size: 23 x 24 x 6 cm
  • Material: Nylon 210/D Ripstop PU coated, P600/D PU coated, 3D Air Mesh, Air Mesh, Airo Flex
  • Price: Between $150 – $180 aud
Jason Lorch

Author: Jason Lorch

Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.

So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.

Editor at Tyres and Soles.

Follow @tyresandsoles
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