NEW GEAR: Macpac Amp Multi Pack
Macpac is a brand more associated with mountain climbing than biking. Founded in New Zealand in 1973 when Bruce McIntyre began making backpacks out of his parents’ Christchurch garage. It’s safe to say his operation has expanded just a bit. Today Macpac is a globally recognised brand and here in Australia it is one of the first places people go to when looking for outdoor gear, be that for a personal adventures or school camps.
Backpacks are one of the least thought about bits of mountain bike gear. After all, as long as it carries some snacks and a water bottle, does it really matter? Well yes. Having a decent bag can make a big difference to comfort and performance, especially on those long rides. It may not be as crucial as having the right shoes, clothing and helmet, but it’s still an important part of your riding kit.
This brings us to the product on review here, the Amp Multi Pack from Macpac.
In the stand
The Amp Multi Pack is essentially a multi-sport backpack so while not mountain biking specific, it is ideally suited to bombing down singletrack.
Part of Macpac’s pitch with this backpack is its lightweight feel, obviously important for riding. Trying it on for the first time it certainly felt this way but not noticeably lighter than a standard backpack. For me it’s important how a bag ‘handles’. What I mean by this is how much space it takes up and how bulky it feels as well as how it holds items. It felt very snug and the few items I placed in there were relatively unnoticeable. More to come on this later.
Looks aren’t everything but the Amp Multi Pack certainly grabs your attention thanks to some bright orange highlights.
The pack features two main compartments with each of these also containing small pouches within. The large compartment is hydration bladder compatible. There are also compartments in the belt, ideal for holding your phone and/or energy bars and gels.
Price wise it comes in at $199 which is fairly standard for anything bigger than a specific hydration pack.
So how did it handle on the bike?
On the trail
First thing to note is this bag is not mountain bike-specific. It’s designed to hold more than water and snacks and certainly if you are racing this isn’t something you would load up and strap on.
That being said a medium sized drink bottle and some snacks fit quite nicely, provided you tighten the pack. It wasn’t particularly noticeable on the trails although a hydration pouch would have made that even less so. The pouches in the belt held my wallet and phone but only just. My phone is a Samsing Galaxy so some iPhone models and anything particularly large would have to go into the pack itself.
The benefit this pack does have is its ability to hold quite a lot. While not ideal or necessary for short rides and races, if you want to pack a jumper, sunscreen, drink bottle and a decent amount of food this bag is perfect.
The straps are equipped with two smaller tightening straps in addition to the belt buckle. You don’t have to do this up but when I did I found it very difficult to take off. You’ll definitely have to dismount and fiddle around with it to get anything out. There is the ability to hold a water bottle on either side but it wasn’t very secure so I ended up placing it inside the bag.
Like the name suggests the Amp Multi Pack is a versatile bit of equipment. While I wouldn’t use it for a race or quick lap, if heading out for a few hours this bag will see you through.