Packed full of ‘enduro specific’ features (the brand's words, not ours), Scott has gone all-out with the Trail Protect FR’ 12 when it comes to tech. The back protector is made of D30 foam, which is fairly compliant in use, moving with your spine, yet it hardens on impact. This technology sees it pass CE level 2 protection certification without feeling like having a tray strapped to your back.
The broad shoulder/chest straps are pretty good at spreading out heavy loads, but they feel a bit restrictive when breathing hard. The waist belt can be moved up and down to fit your back length, but I found the longest setting was still too short, leaving the belt too high around the waist (worth mentioning here that I'm 6ft 3in / 190cm).
The belt itself is a bit of a faff to set up – the main Velcro section needs to be fastened slightly loose, before the buckle strap is tightened over the top. Between the broad Velcro waist belt and wide chest straps, the harness keeps a lot of material close against the body, so it can get quite sweaty. Done up tight, though, it does a great job of keeping the pack in place.
There’s a pocket on the chest strap for keys or a small multitool, the main compartment has one small mesh pocket, and there’s a handy external pocket up top as well. Hidden under the helmet holder is a tool storage pouch, but it’s tedious to access, as the kneepad-securing straps have to be detached before it can be opened. Scott claims the helmet carrier system can secure full-face lids, but we found they wobbled around too much when riding, so it’s only really useful for carrying the open-faced variety, and we prefer to store those on our heads.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.