I first started using this pack when I needed to have a back protector for an enduro race. Which is probably the ideal place to use a pack called the ‘Attack Enduro’, which comes complete with a back protector as required by many races these days, and is clearly aimed at the kind of enduro racer that’s carrying a bit more than an on-trend bum bag will allow.
As befits an enduro pack, it has a large stowable net for carrying a helmet should you be swapping between a full face and trail helmet. This net space is larger than the helmet stowage on a Camelbak Kudu, and is really designed for a complete helmet, rather than just a chin bar. It easily holds a full face helmet, though with the growing popularity of 2-in1 chin bar style helmets this may not be something everyone is looking for these days. There are a decent number of straps on the outside of the pack which enable you to cinch the bag down nice and tight, and have also proved handy for threading through things like knee pads for a little added security while carrying them. There’s also a basic rain cover, which I’ve not had cause to use.
There are pockets of many kinds on this pack. Two net side pockets are handy for stuffing snacks in. I’ve also used them along with the cinch straps for a slightly ungainly but nonetheless effective transportation of knee pads. The waist strap has zipped pockets on which are just right for keeping a multitool to hand. A top fleece-lined pocket is handy for stowing goggles or glasses, while the front pocket zips right open to reveal a further zipped pocket, key hook and a whole bunch of elasticated compartments – great for storing those tools and snacks you don’t need quick access to. I found this front pocket too short for my preferred trail pump – one with a fold out handle and foot – but for those carrying gas canisters or a smaller pump this won’t be an issue. The way it folds right out and has plenty of sensibly sized pockets is good though, and the pocket in the flap (that ends up upside down if you open things right out) is zipped, so you don’t scatter lip salve and snacks all over the trail when you open it right out.
The main storage area is big enough for my pump plus a jacket, but much more than that and I found the pack would start to feel unwieldy, especially when loaded up with water. The bladder (not included in my test pack so I used one from Camelbak) sits in a separate pocket at the back of the pack, with a two way outlet in the top for either left or right sipping access. I found that while carrying water anything stored in the main section had a tendency to end up under the bulge of the bladder, making it hard to get kit in and out. Whether you’re carrying water or not, anything small becomes really quite difficult to find, and as the main section only opens up to about two thirds of its depth I often found myself having to unpack my bag on the trail.
The final pocket is a media pocket, hidden at the bottom right hand side of the pack. Without water in the pack, this is a great place for a phone, as you can put the screen up against the flat back protector for added peace of mind, and it’s easy to get to your phone without taking you pack off – great for those Instabanger moments. With water, the bladder gets between the phone and the protector, and makes it trickier to slip your phone in and out. I also then worried about the potential effect of my phone being pressed unevenly between the bulging bladder and the contents of the main section. In my view it would be better if the media pocket slotted between the bladder and the back protector.
The inside of the main section includes a space for an emergency contact number plus some instructions on how to attract attention if you need rescuing, and the clip on the chest strap has a built in whistle. The shoulder straps have an elastic loop to hold your drink tube on whichever side you need it to be. As well as the aforementioned straps for cinching down the pack – and I recommend using these as the flatter the pack is the less it wriggles on your back – there are tightenable straps on the waistband, and both the top and bottom of the shoulder straps. It’s worth having a good fiddle with these – especially if you’re carrying much weight. Everything really needs to be tight and snug or you’ll find the bag jiggling all over your back and hanging over your shoulders on steep descents. Once you’ve got the hang of that though, it’s comfortable to wear, and I’ve taken to using it for most rides where I think there’s any risk of me falling off.
The spine protector does seem to provide a comfortable landing. It’s designed to be flexible until impact, and certainly it doesn’t feel stiff or uncomfortable to wear. It’s also designed to allow some airflow down your back – you’re always going to get a bit sweaty, but I’d say this has been effective on the days where I’ve not worn it with a waterproof or windproof jacket. It’s sufficiently comfortable that I’ve taken to wearing this pack for shorter technical rides – packing just the tools I need, a snack, and maybe a water bottle, rather than loading it all up. Using the straps to cinch the relatively empty pack down to a nice flat size, it gives me protection if I need it, and isn’t annoying if I don’t.
It’s made with thick and durable fabric on the outside, and to date (and despite plenty of with-the-ground encounters) there are no frays or holes on either the outside or the thinner pocket internals. All the zips are still working, and there are no straps or clips that have pulled off. I’d say it has stood up well to the rigours of testing, but aside from the capability for carrying a full face helmet, I’m not convinced it offers much that other similar bags don’t already do as well if not better.
If you’ve still got a full face helmet you want to carry from time to time, but don’t need to carry too much other kit, this pack will do the job and give you the reassurance of a back protector.