Though EVOC isn't a household name for the greater outdoor community, the company's innovative designs have earned themselves a name in the extremely crowded room of bike soft goods manufacturing. In true form, EVOC has created a great line of bike specific hydration packs. If you're looking for an all-around pack, this might not be your ticket--with a high price tag and a built-in spine protector that may not be necessary for your pursuits, the EVOC is a specific tool for a specific journey. That being said, if your hydration pack rides around in your car to keep you alive on your daily technical trail ride like our testers, the EVOC FR Lite Team might be the pack for you.
EVOC FR Team Lite Review
Cons: traps in heat, expensive,
Our Analysis and Test Results
Without a doubt, the EVOC FR Team's design is the most comfortable pack we tested. The first comfort feature anyone who tries this pack on will notice is its hip band. Even the best packs we tested offered nothing more than a 1" flat piece of webbing; no, no, not the EVOC. This pack wields an 3" thick overlapping velcro design, with an additional buckle on top, securing the pack to your frame. The inside of the belt is lined with open celled foam and flexible materials to let the belt stretch a bit without blowing out. The hip belt gives you a solid hug as soon as you put the pack on, and keeps everything exactly where it's supposed to be. The wide shoulder straps backed with a neoprene type material carried its remaining weight very comfortably, and has backpack style load lifters, unlike many of the other packs we tested, helping you dial in your system to your body.
The distinguishing spine protector obviously is a good idea when really sending it, but it has a nasty byproduct--heat. Let it be known, the back panel is very comfortable and cozy; but so is a down sleeping bag--it doesn't mean you want to wear it while your heart is beating at 90 BPM while charging uphill on sandstone in Utah in the summer heat. We're being a bit dramatic, but it really is hot. During the early spring, we found ourselves taking off our jackets while our friends were still bundled up. During the summer, we found ourselves chugging down a lot more water. While the heat index created between your T-shirt and the pack is bearable, it's only bearable if you really need it. Do you need the killer stability? Or will a more generalized pack work for your style? We ended up opting for the EVOC pack when we knew we were getting into hairy trails in the summer, but we'd leave it behind for a lot of rides and opt for a few of our other favorites, such as the Osprey Raptor 10, or for extremely hot days, the Deuter Air XP.
Top Notch. It's hard to describe the stability felt in the EVOC packs better than that. Thanks to the pack's shoulder strap design and hip belt, combined with its low profile weight distribution, the EVOC becomes part of your body as soon as you strap it on. We've ridden the hardest, tightest, most technical trails in Pisgah National Forest with this pack and it's certainly our go-to for stability. When the riding requires a bag that won't move, this is it.
Ease of Drinking
Though the folks at EVOC designed this pack specifically for hydration, it oddly enough comes without a bladder. This does allow you to outfit the pack with your favorite bladder system, which gave us a great chance to revamp our Hydration Bladder. Head on over to the Hydration Bladder review and find something that works for your EVOC.
That being said, the pack design still contributes to the ability to drink easily. The EVOC shoulder straps have routing for the hose, but lacks any sort of clip. Though some testers didn't mind, others felt like the long hose of the Source bladder we used was burdensome.
Ease of Filling
We don't have any metrics for how easy the bladder is to fill as there is not an equipped bladder included in this model.
While the EVOC comes in at 33oz, it also provides features that are worth the weight, namely, the integrated spine protector. Considering the pack is also a technical piece of body armor, we were happy with the weight. Additionally, the hip belt design helps spread the load to your hips better than any other product we tested, making the pack's weight even more negligible.
The product's overall durability feels like it will hold up to the test of time. After the six month testing period, the pack looks pretty much exactly like the day we received it, just with a lot more dirt. We were concerned that the pack's supportive hip belt would lose it's spunk as the velcro lost its integrity. After six months of abuse, the velcro panel still gives us all day support.
Ease of Cleaning
Not applicable as the pack does not include a hydration bladder.
The EVOC FR Team's storage is unique due to the profile of the backpack. Its close to the body, low-profile design helps for riding hard without a pack swinging your weight around, but it's a problem for storage. We struggled to fit our average riding kit into the pack, which typically included a multi tool, hand pump, extra tube or two, a jacket, a few trail bars, map, and headlamp. Additionally, we frequently throw our low profile knee pads in the pack as well--with the EVOC, this wasn't an option. While the volume of the pack is comparable to the other packs we tested, its storage capacity acts like less because the volume is distributed so thinly along the long pack. While we could get away with it on shorter rides, we would suggest sizing up to the next volume size if you frequently go on rides requiring more equipment. However, if you're looking for a low profile hydration pack for the bike park, this is your weapon of choice.
— Tommy Penick