ILE Default XPAC review£179.00

Hardwearing roll top bag with a lifetime warranty

BikeRadar score3.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

It might have an odd sounding name, but there’s a reason for the moniker ILE has given to this bag – it's intended to be your go-to bag; your default.

It’s made from XPAC material, which is a lightweight, waterproof sailcloth. That means it’s tough stuff, and has completely shrugged off months of awful weather, road spray and scuffs during testing. As you’d expect for this price, the quality of the construction is superb – and ILE is so confident of how good it is that it's offered with a lifetime warranty.

The main 25l compartment benefits from a waterproof lining, which has never failed to keep our contents bone dry. The roll-top closure to the main compartment also aids this bag’s ability to keep the weather well and truly out. The flap at the front lifts up to reveal smaller compartments and contains a hidden waterproof sleeve for a 15in laptop.

Even though they don’t have much padding, the flat, wide shoulder straps are comfy, and it’s pretty comfortable to ride with, staying in place thanks to the chest and waist straps. The back panel doesn’t have much in the way of padding either, although we never found that to be much of an issue when it came to comfort and the bag conforms well to the shape of your back during riding.

When it’s loaded it up the gunnels, however, careful packing is needed to ensure the contents don’t dig in to your back – something that could be reduced if the back had some cushioning. The lack of a ventilation system also means that riding with it easily results in a sweaty back.

The main compartment gulps down whatever you can throw in it, and because of its volume, when it’s on, it’s a big bag – wide and tall, which is something to be mindful of if you’re small of stature. That said, its capacity comes in really useful and if this is your only rucksack, it'll serve you well on loaded-up commutes and weekends away. It also proved perfect for a three-day budget airline trip to Italy with only hand luggage allowance. The roll top/Velcro closure means you can really load it up, which can always come in useful.

The simple and functional design ensures there’s no 'searching a million pockets' hassle when going for your keys, wallet, lights or puncture repair essentials. For quick and easy access to items like these, the storage on offer in the smaller front compartment is made up of a few useful pockets.

We like its simple and stylish looks (it comes in a range of colours too). Okay, it’s costly, but this bag really feels like it could survive whatever you can throw at or in it.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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