Ion’s Rampart 8 pack is a slim shaped, versatile and hard wearing pack, with a strong bike park leanings, but still capable as an everyday trail pack if you like to carry lots.
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With a heap of pockets and stow methods for your helmet, you can carry all you need for an hour round the woods or all day at the bike park or trail centre. The Rampart follows the compartment style of storage - with named pockets for everything, which whilst handy, is sometimes best to ignore as some things didn’t fit so well (like my trail pump).
There is a label or graphic on all pockets, which luckily is understated and often has comedy value, like the ‘Cheers’ label for hydration pipe. It can sometimes feel a little patronising, but handy if you can’t figure out what a pocket can be used for. There are pockets for maps and keys, also on the hips of the pack.
There is also a whistle on the sternum strap - which is a good shout for proper backcountry riding safety. The hip strap clip wasn’t the most robust, and although it hasn’t failed, I like to have seen a little more strength to it, as it felt a little flexible. In use, it was comfortable and I had no issues with it digging in. There's plenty of strap fabric to accommodate sizing up too.
The pack is available in S/M and L/XL sizes for different back lengths - I'm 5ft10” and the S/M was a good fit.
With an internal sleeve that can store tools, lever, tubes, cash and sweets, plus your pump, there is still room enough for a windproof top, more substantial food and even a small camera. Plenty of room in the hydration pouch for large volume bladders - the pack doesn't come with a bladder - and when fully laden, the zip closure seems tough enough to hold for a good amount of time as long as it's not forced too much.
On the back there are two small pockets. One stashes straps to attach your helmet to, the other is for general storage and good for things you want quick access to. All pockets have pull tabs, which makes opening easier. The feel of the build quality is good with clear thought and intention behind all the features.
Out riding, the pack sits well, and the narrow shape is good for staying out the way whilst moving about the bike, it also minimised the pendulum effect some packs seem to create. The pack initially felt heavier than my usual one, but never to the point of it being cumbersome or negative, just not a particular lightweight one, which for its more rough use, is entirely appropriate.
The exterior of the pack is meant to shed mud with a special coated, lightweight ripstop fabric. It's a little more smooth than traditional fabric and it's really easy to hose down and get rid of mud quickly. I did notice a reduced amount of mud build up, but the pack isn’t waterproof, so clean it down empty!
Initially wearing the pack it felt quite rigid, and took a good few rides to get the fit right, but once done, it sat well on my hips and with the pre-shaped and breathable mesh shoulder straps, and the unique 'V_String_Carrying_System' allowing effective ventilation and adjustable positioning which also helps with airflow around the back, and whilst not eliminating it, it reduces the all over back sweat patch that some packs generate.
The Rampart works with the SAS-Tec Spine Plate - a foam style back protector, which when added, I felt the pack sat better and kept its shape and I’m confident would offer some extra help in case of a large crash. It adds approximately 200g in weight and is a well worth addition for Bike Park riding or even to add a degree of reassurance.
Two colour ways are available - the stealthy black with green highlights and a red version.