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DCIM126GOPRO

My friends joke that I am a collector of backpacks because I have so many–each with a very specific use that I’ve collected specifically to pack for different types of travels and adventures ranging from days to months. Similarly, I’ve started accidentally amassing a pile of hydration packs, some for longer rides, some for shorter rides, and some for photography. One pack has been noticeably absent from my collection, however: a do-it-all, lightweight, comfortable, essential-holding, water-resistant hydration pack that services the majority of my 1-2 hour after-work rides.

The Endura pack is ready to go for any adventure short or long

The Endura pack is ready to go for any adventure, short or long

The Endura Singletrack Backpack 10L is designed to be something of that sort, so I jumped at the opportunity to test it out this past spring and summer. It checks all these boxes, and more, and I thoroughly tested it in the most brutal environments I could find: Moab, Sedona, Hurricane, Fruita, Albuquerque, the Rockies, and of course, Front Range Colorado where I ride most. For such a “small” pack, it has a lot of features.

The Deets (from Endura):

  • Lightweight construction
  • Pre-shaped, lightweight perforated foam shoulder strap construction provides comfort and ventilation
  • Mesh covered 3D foam back panel construction for support and ventilation
  • Easy access waterproof zipped pocket
  • Hydration compatible
  • Removable Tool Roll
  • Adaptive Helmet Carry System for full face and standard helmets
  • Adjustable waist strap with mesh pockets
  • Capacity 10L
  • MSRP: $99.00 (available for $74.99 from multiple online sites)
The Trailhead 10L hugs the lower back and keeps the center of gravity low

The pack hugs the lower back and keeps the center of gravity low

Pros

You’ve probably already gathered that I like this pack, and for good reason. I am happy with almost every feature. The fabric is smooth and slippery and has kept my phone and other items dry on more than one precipitous occasion. Yet, it seems durable, surviving a few falls with virtually no wear thanks to its rip stop construction. The small outside zipper is waterproofed and is large enough for my phone and a few other items.

It also comes with a small foldable, removable, tool pouch. I initially discarded this thinking it was too small (quite a bit smaller than the one I was carrying before and fell in love with from another brand), but I was pleasantly surprised to discover it held everything I wanted to put in it: spare derailleur hanger, tire lever, superglue, odd bolts, tire repair kit, emergency card, water purification tablets, spare tire valves, chain links, and a few other items. All this at half the weight of the pouch I was using before.

The tool pouch folded and tidy to carry inside the pack

The tool pouch folded and tidy to carry inside the pack

The tool pouch unrolled to reveal handy pockets to store tools and essential items

The tool pouch unrolled to reveal handy pockets to store tools and essential items

There is an easy-access water bladder pouch that will accommodate up to a 100oz bladder, a smaller nylon bag for the tool pouch, and two stretchy mesh pockets. The left mesh pocket held my spare tire and my small pump, and the right held the tool pouch.

That’s it. Simple.

There was still plenty of room in the bottom of the pack to carry things like a rain jacket, lunch, or other items, but I basically never needed that space because I tested this on shorter rides.

Inside the pack shown with my personal 100oz Camelback soft bladder. You can also see there is a clip for key retention

Inside the pack, shown with my personal 100oz Camelback reservoir. You can also see there is a clip for key retention

The side mesh pockets are well-designed, too, and are just the right size to hold what I like to carry: a small multi-tool and three gel shots in one, and my phone in the other, for quick access to the things I grab most often on short rides.

The side mesh pockets are well thought out, stretchy, and hold a lot of items you might need to grab quick-like on the trail

The side mesh pockets are well-thought-out, stretchy, and hold a lot of items you might need to grab quick-like on the trail

Most of all, it is comfortable. The form-fitting straps hug my shoulders perfectly and are easy to adjust–even with gloves on. I love the fact that it comes with a big, wide waist strap and large buckle, which supports the weight of the pack well and takes the majority of the weight off of my shoulders. In addition, the back is well-ventilated, and the foam panels not only provide comfort and increase airflow, they provide an ergonomic stiffness to the pack that reduces back and shoulder fatigue.

The back of the pack is well ventilated but stiff enough to provide some back support for comfort

The back of the pack is well-ventilated, but stiff enough to provide some back support for comfort

In addition, the pack comes with a helmet holder for travel, or perhaps to strap your helmet to your pack for a long road climb (very enduro-centric!). Personally, I never had a reason to use it when I was testing this pack, and more importantly, it was easily detachable with four simple buckles.

The outer pocket is waterproof and handy for a lot of items. It kept my phone completely dry in light rain

The outer pocket is waterproof and handy for a lot of items. It kept my phone completely dry in light rain

Cons

I was hard-pressed to find anything I did not like about this bag, but one thing that really rubbed me the wrong way initially was the fact that it did not include a hydration reservoir. However, I think the price reflected that omission, and I felt much better about it once I realized that it gave the consumer the power to buy the exact reservoir they want to put in the pack, whether it be a 2L or 3L, stiff or soft. Endura seemed to cut the price just enough to give the user enough leftover “funds” to customize the pack and be competitive with other brands.

Really, that is a win if you like to customize your gear.

I will say that I tested it with both a hard-backed 3L (100oz) Osprey reservoir, and two softer 2L and 3L Camelbak bladders, and I preferred the reservoir with a hard back because it kept the water in place. There is a lip of fabric that the Camelbak could rest on, but when going through rough terrain, I’m not sure it really stayed in place well. Still, I never had any true issues with either type of reservoir, and never had a kink or interruption in my water supply.

In case you didn't know where to stick your water and tools...

In case you didn’t know where to stick your water and tools…

The only other thing I think could be improved on the pack was the placement of the hose clamp, which was on the left shoulder strap. It worked beautifully, but after drinking from the right shoulder for the past 15 years, and without the ability to switch the clamp to whatever side the user prefers, I felt that was somewhat of a design oversight.  Of note, It appears that you can move the clamp to the “railing” on the other shoulder, and I removed it, but broke it trying to install it on the other side. You would also have to remove and reinstall the other side of the chest strap, as the clamp is part of the buckle for the chest strap. I contacted Endura about a replacement.

There is also no specific place to secure the bite valve, so I tucked it into the chest strap, which worked well for me personally. Those used to a magnet or a clamp may be annoyed by this.

The hose clip functions perfectly but is confined to the left shoulder strap

The hose clip functions perfectly, but is confined to the left shoulder strap

Conclusion

In the end, this pack far-exceeded my expectations. Like many of you, I was not really familiar with the brand Endura before testing this gear, and I was happy to see with the retailer locator tool that there are several dealers in my area. That means you can try before you buy, which is critical for selecting a pack. I would personally recommend the Singletrack 10L pack if you want a lightweight pack that is perfect for 1-2 hour rides, with the ability to stuff more items in it and carry 100+oz of water for more epic forays into the wilderness.

Thanks to Endura for sending the Singletrack 10L over for review! 

The large waist strap was a huge bonus for this pack

The large waist strap was a huge bonus for this pack

Lightweight, well-ventilated mesh shoulder straps

Lightweight, well-ventilated mesh shoulder straps

I loved the zippers on this pack...big, chunky, and slid very easily

I loved the zippers on this pack… big, chunky, and slid very easily

A close up of one of the mesh pockets inside

A close-up of one of the mesh pockets inside

Close up of the left mesh waist pocket

Close-up of the left mesh waist pocket

Central hose port on top of the pack

Central hose port on top of the pack

Seriously durable craftsmanship with loops and attachment points if needed

Seriously durable craftsmanship, with loops and attachment points if needed

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SHARES
  

Paul stumbled upon mountain biking in his twenties after upgrading his rigid purple Roadmaster to a shiny yellow Cannondale Super V900 . He resides in central Colorado, where he preaches the gospel of the (true) fat tire and he's been known to ride excessive amounts of wheelies. He is known for being surly, is opinionated, delights in run on sentences, and probably doesn't care what you think. He believes in following the rules. He frowns on people who don't do the right thing, or people who take themselves too seriously. His biggest pet peeve are Subarus that creep along slowly in the left lane. His best conversations are often with himself. When he is not riding, he appreciates exotic espresso, craft libations, Led Zeppelin, and making excuses. He's been known to jump out of perfectly good aircraft and pet sharks underwater (simultaneously). His fat bike is more prepared for the zombie apocalypse than you are. When he is not trying to be funny, Paul also likes traveling the world, photography, being a dad, and chronicling his crotchety shenanigans. Platypus. That is all.
 
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