April 7, 2014
A great-fitting bag that does a really good job of keeping your gear dry and carrying just about all you need.
Acre is the rugged, outdoorsy arm of San Francisco company Mission Workshop, best known for its near-indestructible messenger bags and backpacks.
For a while, MW has been working on a more mountain bike-suitable range of bags and clothing. There are waterproof jackets, softshell shorts and this rather interesting – and rather pricey – hydration pack.From the ground up, it seems to be a lot different to many existing brands. The drab, grey colour is a world apart from the neons and pastels of EVOC, CamelBak, Deuter and the like, but it’s different in construction too. The bag is designed to be as water-resistant as possible and the main compartment is constructed as a roll-top dry-bag.
The empty bag is quite floppy, as padding has been kept thin, light and simple. Once it starts filling up, though, it starts to take shape. The main compartment is tall and thin, with room for a waterproof, spare gloves and your butties, and closes with a roll-top and velcro. The hydration bladder gets its own zip-up pocket nearest your back, with a hanger for the bladder; it also has left or right side hose access.On the side of the main compartment is a small vertical pocket for a multitool or wallet and there’s a horizontal pocket between the main compartment and the vertically-zipped front pocket. This is a tall pocket with a central zip, tall enough for most mini pumps and it also houses the included tool roll, which is compartmentalised to keep tools and more delicate spares separate. A tube will fit into this if unrolled and folded, but I just kept one loose in this pocket.
The shoulder straps are adjustable for length and there’s a chest strap and waist belt. This belt and the chest straps have a choice of four different anchor points to suit different body lengths and preferred bag riding heights. There are additional straps for helmets and armour, with the lower straps hidden behind a waterproof zip. All other zips are waterproof too. Once filled with water and spare clothes, the bag is a tall, slim oblong shape; it moulds to the body well and is comfortable to wear, even for all-day rides. Access to anywhere in the bag is simple and quick and the zips are free-running, though you will always have to remove the bag to get to any pocket. It would be good to have a pocket in the waist belt for quick tool access, but that’s a minor niggle.The question that everyone wanted to have answered, though, was about how it did in the wet – and I must say that it’s been brilliant. Even after an ill-advised day in torrential rain, the contents of the main compartment were dry, dampened only when wet hands went in to delve for more snacks. For everyday UK riding, the bag has been great, keeping contents dry, but easy to get to in a hurry. The sailcloth outer is also easy to keep clean.