This year has brought many great new things to the Spindle. We've opened in a new location, upped our custom bag making a thousand fold and one Spindlero brought another child into this world. While we were busy building a greater foundation for the brand, some of our friends have been conquering other goals. For instance, local legal battler, Gerry Weber, chooses exotic locales to take his gear, just for testing purposes. He's kindly lent us his skills in testing Acres Supply 14L Hydration Pack. When he's not defending artists in Atlanta or suing Athens for not allowing the likes of GWAR to play, he's getting sicky gnar gnar on trails around the world. Heres is account...
In their commitment to you the customer, The Spindle recently sponsored my 350 mile mountain bike expedition into the Mongolian steepe for the sole purpose of testing the Mission Workshop Hauser Hydration Backpack. The rigorous test-hurdles included dust and hail storms, yak dodging exercises, sandy/rocky 20 percent downhills that produced three broken ribs for other non-Spindle riders, and an inexplicable requirement that this writer get drunk on fermented mare’s milk. The route was all off-road (save about 10 miles of tarmac), and a mix of single track, vaguely defined jeep tracks and literally no track but a GPS coordinate.
Before we see the Hauser in action, let’s take a tour of the bag. The bag comes in two sizes, a ten liter and fourteen liter option, but why go small when they weigh almost the same amount? The bag is weatherproof, and well into the water-resistant category. Included is a tool roll, which I liked, but takes up too much room in a small bag to use for that purpose. There are three small weatherproof pockets (one of which has pull-out straps for a roll bag or blanket) and a fourth larger pocketwith easy access to hydration. The main pocket can roll or flat as the spirit moves you, and you can attach the helmet with ease. The bag pocket can handle a small laptop plus papers. Six areas in all! The bag comes in nine colors, including some camo varieties.
The Hauser is roomy, light and comfortable. Rarely do I use a backpack on extended bikepacking trips – the shoulders rebel. But even packed with a (1) camera, lenses, pelican case (2) jacket and other provisions for inclement weather, and (3) a bunch of snacks: never a pained moment. The bag felt nearly invisible due to the strapping system and perfect fit. It was often hot, but the system separating the bag from back proved cool and far less nasty than expected. On steep descents, or dodging the various animals that crossed everywhere, the bag was fixed. Even on a couple of oh-shit moments where death was near inevitable, the bag never sent me off a cliff or into a camel. Yes, and one river crossing did not go so well, but the bag’s waterproofing capabilities proved just fine for a brief dip in the river.
The pocket system proved efficient, with just a few issues. The main all-around back pocket is great and roomy, but remember to close it all the way, or stuff falls right out. The camelback outside pack likely works well for that purpose, but is also your easy access to snacks and binoculars or a small camera. I wish they had a second small side pocket. I used one for sunglasses, but it would be nice to have another for phone which I ended up putting in a protected pocket on the inside. Also, if they had a small add on for the belt where you could put sunscreen and bug juice, that would make sense. While I tested the larger bag since the weight difference is small and you can never refuse extra space, The Spindle has promised a similar sponsored journey to Africa to test the smaller bag.
The Hauser has become my go-to bag for light hauling on the bike, or just rolling around town from work-to-bar-to-wherever. The sheer comfort and practicality of the bag has replaced its larger competitors for most excursions.