Since 1996, Backcountry has existed as a well known outdoor e-commerce retailer of top brands. Two years ago they decided to dip their toes in producing their own mountain bike gear branded with their iconic goat logo. Taking inspiration from their backyard singletrack trails in Utah, Backcountry designed shorts and jerseys named after well known trailheads. Their most recent Spring/Summer color palette was inspired by the Utah scenery and includes neutral earth tones ranging from cool blues to dusty oranges.
When designing their product, Backcountry kept in mind the physical demands of gear on the trails and its inevitable wear and tear. Instead of the dry heat of Utah, I deal with the humid summers of Western North Carolina. It’s still important to have clothing that is sweat wicking and keeps me cool, and Backcountry was successful in producing apparel that ticked that box as well as offering durable gear at a more affordable price point.
Backcountry Slickrock Short
Named after the Slickrock Trail, the Slickrock bike short is durable and designed to keep you cool on the trails. I was drawn to the dusty orange color inspired by iconic slickrock slabs, and I love the small details with the perforated holes above the knee that increase air flow and the slight side slits that help with movement. The shorts are a little stretchy and don’t restrict movement, and their 10 inch inseam hits right above my knee. The Slickrock also offer two mesh-lined pockets to stash small items for a quick Monday night spin.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the fit. While I love the details that give a slight feminine edge, the shorts have no shape on my petite frame. After referencing the size chart, I opted for the XS (my hips measure 34 inches, and the XS ranges from 33-35 inches). Unfortunately, they are too big in the waist, and while there is an XXS option (missing sizing measurements from the size chart) I’m afraid a smaller size might be too restrictive.
Unlike the slightly more expensive Empire Bike Short, named for Park City’s Empire trail, the Slickrock does not offer an adjustable waist feature. While I enjoyed every other aspect of the Slickrock shorts, it might be worth the extra $10 for the adjustable waist on the Empire shorts. According to Backcountry, they include everything that the Slickrock short offers.
Backcountry Gemini Bridges Jersey
Also named after a recognizable Utah landmark in Moab, the Gemini Bridges jersey comes in colors similarly inspired by the desert scenery. The storm blue and orange printed jersey, with its unique sleeve pattern, paired well with the dusty orange Slickrock shorts. The jersey is extremely comfortable and has a nice stretch that doesn’t limit my movement on the trails. Just like the shorts, the Gemini Bridges jersey is quick drying and sweat wicking. The ventilation panels on each side also help with air flow for keeping cool during summer rides.
The cut is loose-fitting and longer in the back with small rubber grips on the rear inside hem to ensure that the jersey never rides up on descents. The sleeves are a bit longer compared to other short-sleeve jerseys which is nice for that extra protection on overgrown singletrack. At 5’2” and 120 pounds, the XS was the perfect fit for me. I could have gone down a size, but I’m afraid it would have been too snug for my comfort. Overall, at $59.95 (currently 30% off at Backcountry), the Gemini Bridges jersey is an affordable summer trail top.
Backcountry Mid Mountain 2L Hip Pack
A few years ago I made the switch from a shoulder pack to a hip pack and never looked back. I love the freedom it provides, and I found the Backcountry’s Mid Mountain Hip Pack (named after the one and only Park City connector trail) perfect for a quick lunch loop or a three-hour adventure. While I wasn’t sure about the shape at first, once I adjusted the waist and loaded it up for a quick spin, I became a fan of the fit. The excess strap can be tucked away into the sides, and I never had an issue with the pack moving or sliding its way to the front on steep, technical descents. The pack also offers a comfortable sweat wicking mesh backing that never left an embarrassing “sweaty pack stain.”
Instead of a built-in hydration bladder, this hip pack offers two easily accessible side water bottle pockets (water bottles not included). There are adjustable straps to tighten and secure the bottles, but they did not stay tight. While I never had an issue losing a bottle, I do wish there was a second strap or a more secure method to provide peace of mind.
The layout inside the pack is neatly organized with its different compartments and straps to securely store and stash necessary tools and snacks. There is even a small side pocket on the waistband for quick, mid-ride access to essentials. Since the space inside is limited to a 2L capacity, this hip pack is not meant for long days in the saddle.
At $69.95 the Mid Mountain hip pack is slightly pricier than others of similar size, but you can currently get it for 30% off at Backcountry. At the retail price, it would be nice to have one or two water bottles included, especially if I were to ever find myself exploring Moab singletrack under the unforgiving Utah sun.
Thanks to Backcountry for providing this gear for testing.