This is pedal and wheel pioneers CrankBrothers’ take on a trail/cross-country style pack. The 13L capacity has a vented back panel to help avoid excess heat build-up.
We would have liked a larger exterior pocket though, because tools and tubes have sections in the main body which can mean getting spare kit wet if you have to get them out to fix a winter mechanical. There are no exterior loops for clipping a commuting light, and straps for additional cargo would’ve been nice.
We like the large brushed tricot pocket for stowing glasses, phones and so on, and the TPU nylon construction means it can take a stack. The Microban-protected 3L bladder features a handy on/off switch but can be tricky to reinstall after filling due to the narrow zipped opening.
The Ascender is comfy but has niggles that make it more difficult to live with than a pack at this price should be.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.