A few months back, Mavic invited us to their new facility in Thousand Oaks, California to test their new Crossmax lineup. Extending well beyond wheels, the broadened line trickles into gear with the help of Salomon – a world renowned outdoor lifestyle group which also hails from France. Shoes, Kit, and now 3 different hydration packs are now offered as part of the Crossmax faimly. We’ve been spending some time aboard the smallest hydration pack of the bunch – the Hydropack LTD 8.5 liter. After we outline some of its highlights, we’ll discuss how it’s been treating us.
Let’s be honest, in this day and age most people want to avoid wearing a bag while riding at all costs. With Specialized making a big push with SWAT storage, there are less and less reasons to use one on daily rides. Regardless, the reality is that there are still those long days where it is a necessary evil. For the average user, it could be a big mega day out on the trails and for racers, it is almost a must for Enduro style racing. That said, if a bag is well designed it shouldn’t be a burden, right?
• 8.5 liters
• 420D Ripstop Fabric – Lightweight/Water repellent
• Clima Flow back padding keeps air moving while keeping H20 cool.
• Pocket for cell phone
• Adjustable belt with pockets
• Tool compartment
• Roll-out helmet flap
• Delivered with a 3 liter hydration bladder
• Backlight clip
• 4 front zipped pockets integrated on straps
• Separate hydration compartment
• Padded belt with large buckle
• Adjustable sternum strap
The first thing we noticed about this bag was its well laid out pockets and compartments. It doesn’t seem like Mavic went overboard, so the bag is lightweight and gives easy access at the belt and shoulder straps for things like a cell phone, keys, wallet, energy gels/bars, etc. We like having access to fundamentals without needing to remove the pack. The airy, channelled back padding is designed to not only keep you, but also your water cool, and the bag has all the key features one would look for in an all day pack.
ON THE TRAIL
The first thing we noticed upon dropping into our first descent was the Crossmax Hydropack LTD’s stability. The belt is rather narrow across your stomach, but it gradually widens as it spans back toward your spine, thus keeping it stable. In the rowdiest of descents it was hardly a hindrance and felt really secure. Also, nothing bounced around or made noise inside while stowed as Mavic did a great job with pocket layout. We think it’s light weight also attributed to this a bit as well. All in all, super comfortable, quite and stable when pointed up or down.
Perhaps our favorite part about this bag is the way the back panel is designed. Six large foam/mesh pads are laid out with channels in between them to serve as a buffer between the rider’s back and the bag. While it may sound gimmicky, they really did work and the airflow was welcomed on hot days. Two things came of this : on warm rides, our back was far less sweaty compared to any other pack we’ve used to date, and our fluids stayed cooler than anything else we’ve used as well. Even after a 4 hour ride in sweltering sun in the Southern California heat, our last drops of water remained cool enough to be refreshing. Doubly impressive seeing that the bag is black. We also think this is somewhat responsible due to a firm, but flexible partition between the padding and the pouch for the bladder.
So it didn’t bounce around and it stayed cool. Those two huge points can totally be deal breakers if they don’t check out. That said, the other big factors when choosing a bag are weight and functionality. With lightweight but durable, breathable materials, this pack tipped our scales at 705 grams with the bladder. Not bad considering all you can stash in it. Low profile in nature, the Crossmax Hydropack LTD expands nicely to fit a surprising amount of gear. We had room for all of the following : Half lid, lightweight kneepads, a shell, pump, tube, food, and multi tool. You can also easily stash fundamentals like phone, keys, wallet, energy bar and a multi tool into the roomy belt and shoulder strap pockets for easy access.
It’s no surprise that with some input from Mavic’s racers and the design expertise on offer from Salomon, the Crossmax Hydropack LTD is a top notch product. It has held up well during the duration of our testing. It was easy to access the important bits and we stayed cool as did our fluids. If we had anything to gripe about it would be that the harness for the helmet is not big enough to secure a full face helmet. For enduro racers and those riding the gnarliest of terrain, that might be a deal breaker, but based on how well thought out we found this bag to be, we’d recommend taking a look at Mavic’s 15 liter offering. All in all it’s a great riding pack to reach for on those long days where the weather is looking iffy, and you might want to pack a lunch or stow some kneepads. Great product through and through.