The Hotaka backpack is designed for big days in the hills and boasts a whopping 24l capacity. It doesn’t come with a hydration bladder, but at this size it’s probably more useful as a daypack rather than your go-to riding bag.
Based around Shimano’s unique strap system, which joins the two shoulder straps with a buckle across the chest rather than a separate sternum strap, the Hotaka is very comfortable once you’ve adjusted the height of the shoulder straps to suit your body size, and you don’t have to rely on the waist strap to keep the bag in place.
There’s a cavernous main pocket with mesh dividers, a small fleece-lined pocket on the top and twin stretchy water bottle pockets on the sides. There’s also a helmet cradle with adjustable straps on the outside and useful zipped pouches on the waist strap.
The base of the pack features a reflective light mount strap, a waterproof cover and a bottom-entry pocket for tools and heavier items.
On the downside, while the Hotaka handles weight well and the bag itself doesn’t move around in use, the lack of compression straps means that if it’s only half full, the load shifts around noticeably inside the pack.