The Evoc Trail Pro 16L is a medium-size day pack with a clear focus on lightweight protection, and although it has good, versatile storage space, a tough build and back protection, it lacks some features I’d expect for an alpine or all day pack at this price.
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The Evoc Trail Pro 16l - the details
The pack is constructed from a tough, synthetic material with a reasonable weight of 1,100g with the back protector. The main body holds the bladder (not supplied) and the back protector, which is secured behind the reservoir. In addition, there is a small mesh zip pocket with a secure key clip. There is plenty of space for a first aid kit, emergency blanket, extra layer and other bulkier items. You can read a little more about the Trail Pro range here, as this is a new bag in the line-up.
On the sides are two hip pockets that are surprisingly large, one holding a rain cover, which was reliably waterproof for several hours. On the back is a dual-zipped compartment with organised mesh pockets for easy access to tools and other essentials. There is a printed guide for international mountain signals in emergencies - it's helpful but seems a little superfluous. A final top pocket with a soft liner for glasses. Nearly everything I like to see in a pack efficiently done.
There are two sizes for the Evoc Trail Pro 16L - small/medium and large/extra-large. I'm 5'10" and have a long back, so I tested the large/extra-large, which fitted well. The back protector is simple to position, and overall, the bag is easy to adjust and fitted well, with minimal bounce or sway when riding. The hip strap is practical and wraps well around the waist while seated on the hips. The sternum strap is height adjustable and includes a whistle for emergencies.
The Evoc Trail Pro 16l - on the trail
I found the pack comfortable while climbing, if a little sweaty. Despite patterned padding that has channels to create airflow, there is little else to minimise this heat build-up, and the back protector adds additional warmth. It's not ridiculous, but slightly more than other packs I've tried.
The hip and waist strap is wide and made from a perforated material that helps minimise heat build-up. Most of all, these straps kept the pack secure with very little bounce or movement on the rougher and more undulating trails. Riding with the extra security of the back protector, for me, overcame any concerns with a sweaty back.
A neat touch is the brace link buckles on the shoulder that adjust to the width of your shoulders simply by sliding across. All around, the bag distributes weight around the hips while keeping the pack from the dreaded pendulum effect when riding. It's a stable bag, even on sudden, very bumpy trails, and doesn't require over-tightening of the straps to secure it.
The Evoc Trail Pro 16l - The verdict
I think the pack misses two features; the first is a water reservoir. There is a degree of preference, or you may already have one to use, so this isn't significant. The second is stow points for a webbing style pouch that attaches to the back, allowing pads or a jacket to be stashed away. This is available for an additional £15 - I see this as a pretty essential item, and at £200 already, it's at the upper price end of a medium-size pack, without having to pay out more.
The trade-off with the back protector seems to be the loss of a reservoir and somewhere to carry a waterproof layer or knee pads. If pads are put inside, the bag becomes harder to close if you carry everything for a day in the hills, which the bag seems aimed at.
There is nothing wrong performance-wise with the pack - it sits very well, it's hard-wearing and looks pretty good. To make it perfect, or right up there, I would like to have seen the extra stowage for pads included, especially as the hooks to secure it are there.
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