Monday, 16 February 2015

evoc Pro Team 20L zip-on backpack review

Having bought the ABS 18L Ultralight volume at the same time as my upgrade to a Vario base unit 2 years ago I have been distinctly unimpressed with it - the fabric is relatively easy to damage (a slightly burred shovel blade put a couple of small tears in it within 2 days!), and even with a DIY compression strap on the back (none provided on the bag) anything inside tends to fall towards the bottom, so the bag sits like a sack of spuds on your back - not ideal if like me you prefer keeping any extra weight as close to the body as possible...

I had looked at the evoc Pro Team 20L volume last year and decided to splash out pre-season this year and frankly this has been worth every Euro spent already.

The pack comprises one main compartment along with 5 additional zipped pockets or dividers and is a perfect size for day touring - even with some tech kit - on a recent day out skins, crampons, axe, harcheisen, water, food, extra layer, goggles and some bits and bobs all fitted in with seeming ease - not bad for a 20L pack!

Compression straps on the sides and back double as ski/board carry systems (side or diagonal carry possible for skis) and also help to keep a lightly loaded pack cinched down tight, keeping a narrow profile on your back. Attachments also allow 1 ice axe to be carried vertically in the middle of the back. The axe and diagonal ski carry loops both stow away when not in use - great for minimising the clutter of things flapping off the pack!

Looking into the main compartment - there are specific locations for shovel blade, handle and probe which help keep everything organised within the pack:

The map pocket is just large enough to accommodate a French IGN map:

The evoc Pro Team 20L out for a walk:

Worth noting that the side carry straps will only just accommodate a ski of the width of a Whitedot Director (approx 126mm at tail) - anything wider will need to be carried diagonally or using the snowboard straps across the back of the pack...

And enjoying some powder:

Photo courtesy of Andy Perkins Mountain Guide.

Other features:

Along with a 'goggle pocket', the pack comes with a clip-on helmet carrying cradle which attaches to loops on the pack, and has exit points for a hydration system hose - the bladder can be housed in a purpose-built pocket between the base unit and the volume (a bit fiddly to unzip each time you want to fill up!).

The offpisteskiing verdict based on experience so far: 10/10 !

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