The Descender is the biggest pack in CrankBrothers’ line-up, and has a gear-swallowing 20-litre capacity. There’s a large main pocket, which features numerous stash compartments and a completely separate tool pouch to ensure you keep everything tucked away safely.
There’s a massive cradle-type pocket that’s big enough to hold a helmet with a useful bungy cord on the front. There’s also a small, soft-lined upper pocket to keep your glasses or touch-screen phone in.
The bladder sits completely separately, in its own zipped pocket just forward of the back padding, where it’s suspended on two clips. Getting it in when it’s full is quite tricky because the opening isn’t massive, but that’s the biggest niggle here.
There’s masses of adjustment in the shoulder, chest and waist straps, and plenty of support, with little movement around your back when fully loaded. The back panel, although not the airiest, is comfortable and never hindered long days in the saddle.
The sealing system on the bladder may not be the tidiest out there but it proved to be leak-free and we like the on/off valve on the drinking tube. The button-style bite valve delivered a good flow of water but was trickier to actuate than other systems when we were really breathing hard.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.