Tag Archives: kriega Quadloc Lite

Review: Kriega Trail18 daypack

New daypacks join Kriega’s long-established five-strong R range from 15 to 35 litres. You got the snazzy colour-backed Trail in 9 and 18-litres and the bigger more urbanesque Max 28 which expands to take a helmet.

Supplied free for review and testing


What they say:
The TRAIL18 Adventure Backpack utilises Kriega’s groundbreaking Quadloc-Lite™ harness, combined with high-tech construction materials to meet the needs of the adventure rider.
Composed of three sections:  A heavy-duty zip access 7-litre rear compartment which is a perfect storage area for a Tool-Roll and water bottle or the optional 3.75L Hydration Reservoir. This area also has a small internal waterproof pocket for a phone and wallet, combined with the main roll-top body providing a total of 12-litres 100% waterproof storage. The innovative Hypalon net also provides more external storage for wet gear.


What I think:

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• Roll-top compartment
• Comfortable to wear; sits well on the back
• Removable waist straps
• No compression straps
• Durable 420D Cordura body
• White waterproof liners in two compartments
• Hydrator-ready
• External hypalon net
• Smooth-gliding main zipper
• Colour-backed Trails aid viz
• 10 year guarantee

cros

• Bulky roll-top small inner pouch
• Expensive
• Quadlock-Lite interferes with jacket pocket access


Review
For years I’ve been happy enough with my dinky R15, once I cut off the unneeded compression straps and removed the unnecessary waist strap. I’ve used it for weekends in Wales, backroads and tracks in the Colorado Rockies and Baja, and of course on my Morocco tours and rides. The main compartment was big enough for my laptop in a dry bag plus the hydrator, with bits and pieces in the PVC mesh inside pocket and the bigger outer pocket.

The longer Trail18 will be a nifty replacement. Straight away I like the coloured back panel. Often on my tours I try to ID riders up ahead and anything non-black makes it a whole lot easier. I dare say it will be for them too.
You often get thin bungy elastic laced across daypacks as a quick and easy place to stuff stuff. Kriega have thought it through a bit further by using a distinctive hypalon net panel with the elastic strung along the edges and attached closely at the base. This way, what you stuff in there – mucky bottles, baguettes, wet cloths – won’t fall out the bottom. And if you want more colour or don’t like this arrangement, you can easily unlace the elastic and remove the hypalon panel.

I can see a use for this feature buying some food on the way to a night’s lodging, or securely stuffing a jacket or overpants in there on a hot day when you don’t want to dick about with the closures. It’s possible the excess elastic and cinch fittings above may flap about in the wind behind you, but tucking the end in is easy enough.

Behind this panel is a full-length 11-litre compartment with a removable white waterproof liner and a clip-down roll-top. The great thing with roll-tops is that even if you forget to do them up right, stuff stays in. No more clattering laptops on leaving airport baggage scans with unzipped zips.

Behind that compartment against your back is a smaller 7-litre zipped compartment with no liner. Inside are a couple of tabs to hook up your hydrator (more below) and down below a couple of sleeves for drinks cans or 500ml water bottles. A smooth-running (non water-resistant) one-way zipper only comes right down on one side (below) so forgetting to do it up ought not see things fall out so readily. It includes a finger-hooking ring pull which can only be in one place when closed, but I always add a bit of bright tape to make this puller easier to locate.

My only mild gripe with the Trail is the bulkiness of the roll-top/clip-down waterproof liner’d 1-litre pouch with a phone-sized zip pocket attached in the inner compartment. I know it’s waterproof but the roll-up takes a lot of space and clipping it down would be a faff. I’d have preferred a bigger version of the plastic ripstop zip pocket from the R15. But then again, you can easily drop a big camera in here and be reasonably sure it will stay dry.

The long mesh-padded back panel seems stiffer than my old R15 so the whole thing doesn’t rest quite so unobtrusively on your back, which may actually be a good thing. The waist strap can be removed and there’s also a door hook tab plus a chunky carry handle. Mine weighed in at 1550g and a Trail18 costs £179.
Impressions added here once I get to use it.

The Trail is hydrator-ready with a slot for the hose to come over either shoulder and a velcro tab inside the back from which to hang the bladder.
Kriega’s stubby new 3.75L (7.9 pint!) Hydrapak Shape-Shift reservoir is made to fit both Trail models by fully expanding to fill the space below that bulky top pocket.
Nearly 4 kilos of water is a lot to carry on your back, but maybe that’s what some riders need. The rubbery TPU bladder has the same fold-and-clamp, easy fill and clean opening as the original one, as well as the clip-off and insulated and UV-proof hose with hopefully a less-brittle bite-valve on the end. I tucked my nozzle end under a tab on the front of the strap, but Kriega offer a velcro attachment tab which may well work better if the hose is on the short side for you. It costs £45.

Tested: Kreiga R15 backpack + Hydrapak

see also: Kriega Trail 18

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The R15 is the smallest of Kriega’s six Rider Packs (right), excluding the Hydro 3, and comes with all the features you expect from Kriega gear. It’s pitched at the active off-roader not wanting to carry too much on their back.
The Hydrapak is a 3-litre reservoir which slips into the R15 and all other Kriega Rider Packs.

I’ve used the R15 for two years now, from a weekend’s trail biking in Wales on the WR, 800 miles of backroads, highways and tracks between the Colorado Rockies and Phoenix, AZ on the KLX and on my Morocco tours.


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What they say:
The compact, hydration compatible solution when off the beaten track. The R15 provides the freedom of movement, light weight and tough, long-lasting performance essential for the rough and tumble world of off-road riding. Incorporating Kriega’s Quadloc-lite™ system, the harness is angled away from the underarms giving total freedom of movement.
An optional waist strap is included for the extra demands of riding off-road.

Hydrapak® military spec reservoir and drink tube compatible with all Kriega Backpacks. Wide slide-seal opener for easy fill. Reversible for easy cleaning, drying.


What I think:

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• Great size for biking – not too big
• Feels solid and well made
• Very well-designed hydrator – easy to use, remove and refill
• Comfortable to wear
• Removable waist strap
• Other Kriega modules (or whatever you got) easily added to the pack

cros

• Much prefer a roll-top closure to a main zips on small backpacks
•  Waterproof liner is an option
• All gets quite expensive once accessorised
• The hydrator’s mouth valve broke when dropped on concrete
• The chest strap gets in the way of jacket pocket access


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Review
I used a Kriega R30 a few years ago but sold it once the liner started delaminating and went for a similar-sized, all-PVC Over-Board (right) which is currently MiA. Handy though it may be to get a lid in there, now I think about it, both those packs were too big for my prefs. What I want most from a bike backpack is a means to carry a laptop and other valuables with me at all times, including pelting rain, as well as the capacity to run a hydrator. The simple, roll-top Over-Board did rain OK until a hole wore in the Cordura base, but was just a basic PVC sack with straps and had no special means of fitting a hydrator.

The best thing you can say about an R15 is that it fits so well you forget it’s there. One user I spoke to told me how she was struck down in a panic, convinced she’d left it somewhere, but – like the apocryphal missing specs – it was right there all along.
The arrangement of the stiff backboard (Forcefield spine protector an option), waist strap and anatomically formed straps – and not-least the Quadloc Lite chest buckle – means it sits on the back and stays there as you rattle over rough terrain.

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I have to say I much prefer the zip-less roll-top closure of the R30 over the stiff-to-use but water-resistant main YKK zip of the R15 and most other Kriega packs. Case to point: cabin baggage scan at the airport. You know the deal – at the other end of the conveyor, repack, re-shoe and all the rest, but forget to do up the R15’s zip and the laptop falls out with a clatter as I walk off. I can’t be the only absent-minded traveller who does that once in a while, luckily not while riding away this time. With roll-top, if you forget to do it up, things won’t fall out unless you go flying. A zip makes it easier to get to what’s inside (left), but it’s only a small pack. get in there and grope around a little.

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For exterior pockets, zips are handy. There’s an A4-sized zipped pocket on the outside and another smaller one inside behind some chunky coated mesh, for tools or sharp-edged things like keys.
The R15 uses the Quadloc Lite with a single chest clip (a Duoloc?). I recall the twin clips on the R30 felt a bit OTT, but that was a bigger bag. If you need more capacity on your R15, the US 5 and 10 Dry packs clip right on (right), or there are enough looped tapes to strap on whatever you have.

Four exterior compression straps cinch the contents down, but after a while I snipped them off as it’s just more stuff to undo, forget to do up or flap around (though Kriega go to great measures to constrain loose strap ends). It’s not like I’m racing about from checkpoint to checkpoint. Kriega do like to make merry with straps and fittings but I prefer a minimum that gets the job done. Inside there’s a pair of straps to hold the bladder in its sleeve which is a good idea, given the 3-kilo mass of a full hydrator.

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The pack doesn’t come with a waterproof liner (left) – they’re another £29 to fit an R15. I’m told they use a new proofing method on the fabric which ought to last better than the old ones, though a white option (like the old ones) would be good to add luminosity inside.

Back on the bag, the reflective tape front and back will probably do more good than I’ll ever realise, and all the padding and harnessing easily measures up to the potential capacity of the pack. Like tank bags, smaller seems to work better on the back while riding, the hydrator is great, and I’ve enough dry bags going spare to use as a liner.


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Kriega Hydrator
I’ve been using the same old 3-litre Camel bak hydrator for years for various activities including biking. Kriega’s same-sized Hydrapak is a big improvement in just about all ways  and includes some features I’ve added to my Camel Bak to make it more functional.

Someone’s really had a good old think about this reservoir and addressed just about every requirement you can think of to drink water from a bag via a tube on the move. For a start it slips in easily into the sleeve inside the pack which, as mentioned, has adjustment to stop the full bag moving around when you hit a series of whoops.
The bag can be opened fully by slipping off the pinch-bar slider® over the folded-over top, giving easy filling access and, as importantly, easy cleaning and quick drying too (Osprey use a similar system). If you’ve had something other than fresh spring water in your bladder you’ll want to be able to rinse and dry it easily to prevent algea. The body of the bag is marked with a scale showing imperial and metric volumes.

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More cleverness: the hose clips into the bag base with an o-ring clip lock that so far has been secure. It gets a bit stiff but that’s actually very handy when you want to refill the bag but leave the threaded-in hose in place. And at the mouth end there’s a small twist lock on the bite valve, a ridge to help the teeth get a good bite on the valve, and also a cap to keep it clean. There’s more: they’ve thoughtfully covered the hose in neoprene, again to reduce temperature variations as well as sunlight setting off more mildew in the tube. Sunlight-generated algae is harmless, but something less benign might latch on to it and contaminate your water. With my Camel Bak I find cleaning the black residue from the clear hose is awkward (no doubt they sell a hose cleaning kit) until I bought a neoprene sleeve.

Usually I use High 5 rehydration tablets in my hydrators, but in the US used plain water to make it usable for cooking too. After a day or three the water tasted pretty bitter. Don’t know if that’s the Colorado mountain bore water I was using or the new, untainted Hydrapak. If it is the later, I’m sure the aftertaste will reduce in time.

When the original Camel Bak idea came along in the 80s it offered a great step forward in near-hands-free hydration when engaged in mobile activities, not least desert biking. As I’ve found, if it’s easy to drink on the move you’ll do so – if it means faffing about with a bottle, you may not and pay the price later. Add up all the features and the Kriega Hydrapak’s well worth the price alongside a comparable Camel Bak bladder and will of course work with any pack, Kriega or otherwise.