The Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Pack is billed as a pack to hold ‘all the extra layers and supplies for big rides or bad weather’. It comes in two sizes – this is the Smalll/Medium 17.5 litre pack, while the L/XL pack holds 20 litres.
- Brand: Patagonia
- Product: Dirt Roamer Bike Pack 20L
- Price: £140.00
- From: Patagonia
- Tested by: Hannah for 3 months
- Light and comfortable
- Hydration bladder included
- Great eco credentials from Patagonia
- Poor organisational options
- No storage in left hip wing
I’ve recently been riding with backpacks with built in spine protectors, so I was keen to try something a little lighter weight for general trail rides. This Patagonia Dirt Roamer bike pack has a pretty minimalist layout: a top zippered pocket for small items (it’s not fleece lined like a goggle pocket often is), and a main internal double zippered pocket with a few elastic loops for stowage. Tucked away in the upper back of this main section is a zippered pocket and key clip. And on the right hand side of the pack there’s side access to the hydration pack area. On the right hand hip there is a small zippered pocket – nothing on the left hand zip – and the hip strap fastens with a simple clip. The hydration pack can be routed to exit on either your right or left straps, where the tube clips into the chest strap. There’s no magnet or clip for the actual mouthpiece – it hangs down.
The absence of internal pouches or pockets in the main section has thrown me. The elasticated loops don’t really serve to replace the presence of pouches – they’re too big and baggy for things like cereal bars and pumps, and too small to stuff things like a jacket into. Consequently, everything just sinks to the bottom of the backpack. I’ve found this annoying when I just want to be able to reach in for a cereal bar, or multitool, and have often ended up taking loads of things out in search of the thing I’m after.
Here, the big central zip comes into play. On the one hand, it’s easier to access what’s lurking in the bottom of the pack because you’re not having to mine your way down from the top. And you can see things against the contrasting terracotta inner fabric. On the other hand, if it’s bogging it down with rain, you’ve now opened up your whole pack to the elements.
Whether you find this internal layout annoying may depend on how you like to organise your stuff. Personally, I like to have:
- In the main section, but easy to find:
- a tube for the bike I happen to be riding
- a pump
- tubeless plugs
- Somewhere more handy, or easy to get to in the main section:
- multitool. There’s a good chance I’ll have an extra layer of some sort to stuff in there, plus a small first aid kit and perhaps a lock. I want to have my pump and tube
- In the main section:
- a tool roll of things I hope not to need
- my jacket if I’m not wearing it
- first aid kit and spare layer
- Somewhere secure:
- Accessible without taking my pack off:
- rubbish stash spot
So far the zip is still running smoothly – despite being in the firing line for trail filth being kicked up by the back wheel. And when zipped up in doesn’t seem to let the water in any more that the rest of the pack – with its dual layer of nylon it’s reasonably waterproof in spite of the absence of a rain cover. I think I’d feel more kindly towards the central zip design if there was more of an organisational system inside, but since you’re just opening it up to a guddle of things settled wherever they’ve been shaken to, to my mind there’s too much opportunity for getting the contents wet and covered in mud.
The internal zip pocket with key clip is fine, but it’s pretty tucked away in there, making it best used for things like a passport, or a wallet if you don’t think you’re going to need it. It’s a bit too inaccessible for a cafe stop – especially in bad weather. By the time you’ve rooted through the things in front of it with your wet and mucky hands and sleeves, you’re going to have got the rest of your contents in a mess. Which of course is a criticism you could level at a top opening backpack too, if what you need is at the bottom.
The top pocket could be used for your wallet – but then where are you going to put your phone somewhere you can get to it quickly and easily without worrying about dropping other things out of the same pocket? The right hip pocket is not big enough for my phone and seems better suited to a multitool or snack. It seems a real shame to me that there’s no functionality in the left hip piece – a stretchy mesh pocket for trailside trash could have been a great addition here.
Yes, I’ve found the Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Pack a little frustrating to use – I just can’t get everything organised where I want it, or get it to stay there. Which is all the more frustrating as it’s really light, comfortable and flexible. It manages to have a barely there feel to it that I really like, and without the stiffness of some cycling packs it feels a little more versatile – it’s perfectly comfortable to walk with. Plus, given that it comes with a hydration bladder, it seems like pretty good value compared to many packs.
Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Pack Specification
- Made with 100% recycled nylon
- Raised mono-mesh back panel to increase breathability, does not absorb water
- Breathable Regulator® airmesh through the hip belt and shoulder straps
- Included Hydration Reservoir2-liter HydraPak® reservoir included
- Internal key clip
- Top compression strap to manage the load or carry a helmet
|Dirt Roamer Bike Pack 20L
|by Hannah for 3 months