The Evoc FR Trail 20L is a feature-laden pack that combines CE-certified back protection with a place for everything on a big day out – or even a few days. It’s well thought-out, well-made and near perfect for the rider who wants to carry everything. It's heavy and doesn't include a bladder, but its real flaw is its ability to take too much stuff...
Built from nylon 210/D Ripstop material, the FR Trail is a rugged piece of kit. Whilst not the lightest at 1480g, it's reassuringly tough with a generous cargo space. I've packed in frankly ridiculous amounts of kit, including a gas canister, a burner and a coffee stove alongside all the usual bits of kit for longer rides.
With a heap of pockets all around, there's a place to stash everything. At the top is a plush-lined pocket for goggles or glasses, and a mesh pocket. Below are two large pockets, one with its own mesh pockets within and one that's a transparent tough plastic.
The big main pocket is for bulky stuff – extra layers, emergency blanket, first aid kit, coffee machine – while a hydration bladder lives in its own pocket with a hose exit either side. There's a hose clip which can be mounted either side too, but unfortunately the FR doesn't come with a bladder of its own. A shame, at this price.
Any drinks carrier (up to 3L) you add will share this spot with the Liteshield back protector. The protector is CE certified, and EVOC claim it's 95% shock absorbent – up to a point, you have to assume, although EVOC don't specify what point that is.
If you decide to find out for yourself, you'll be pleased to note the sternum strap includes a whistle for attracting attention.
The FR also features body armour straps, a helmet cradle and a rain cover. The cover is effective against even multiple hours of rain, is easy to get over the pack, and secures really well.
The pockets continue outside the pack too, with a dedicated map pocket and then two small hip pockets on the waist band. The waist band itself is wide and secured both with Velcro (to be cut to your preferred length) and a clip. It works, stopping the pack swinging or rising up your back during energetic riding.
Even heavily-loaded the pack sits comfortably, and whilst it’s not the coolest against your back, it's not bad for its size – the perforated foam and mesh panels allow a (small) degree of air movement. The shoulder straps are wide, with enough adjustment to get a good fit over several layers of clothing, and conform well to your body.
The FR Trail is a great pack. The build is tough, and with extra protection around likely wear-spots – and extra protection for your back – it feels destined to last many seasons. If you want a capacious pack for multi-day trips in serious mountains, the FR Trail is a tough, spacious and well-made choice that easily justifies its price.
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