Hydration backpacks are much the same, right? A zippered bag with a couple of pockets that hold a water bladder, lunch and whatever else you drop in, like tools or a first aid kit. They hang on your shoulders with a set of padded straps; chest and waist straps are common as well. As an owner of multiple packs, that was my experience before Kriega introduced the Trail18 Adventure Backpack.
Created for dual-sport and adventure riders, but suitable for anyone needing a waterproof backpack, the Trail18 has 12 liters of waterproof storage divided between two roll-top compartments. One of those holds 11 liters and the other 1 liter. With this pack, bad weather is not an issue. Neither is water capacity, since it holds an optional 2- or 3.75-liter bladder in a 7-liter non-waterproof zippered section. The 1-liter waterproof pocket and a zippered catchall for keys and small items share that space. On the back is an expandable Hypalon web that’s perfect for clipping in my Spot device and stashing an extra layer.
Key to the Trail18’s comfort is Kriega’s patented Quadloc-Lite harness. Instead of typical backpack and chest straps, the harness is contoured to the body with the straps meeting at the mid-chest Quadloc button. For extreme riding there’s also a removable waist strap. Adjusting the harness straps the first time took some effort since the pack didn’t come with sufficient instructions for its disappearing strap system, best described here: https://vimeo.com/78951261.
Once adjusted, snapping the Quadloc snugged the pack to my back and chest in a way that felt solid and didn’t burden my shoulders. Removing the loaded pack was simple — release the Quadloc and give a quick shrug to pop it off my back. This is a huge improvement over straps that hang up on my armor, and neither operation requires further snap adjustment.
Our test pack has seen several dual-sport rides, including a three-day journey from SoCal to Big Sur, and eight days on the Idaho BDR. I found it easy to wear and easy to access once acquainted with the roll-top, snap-down entry to the main waterproof compartment. I carried 2 liters of water, plus snacks, first aid kit and incidentals, all with room to spare and no feeling of being overloaded. The T18 performed well in my hose test: the waterproof compartments stayed dry, but water did sneak into the zippered bladder pocket.
This Kriega is a rugged beast, sure to handle the occasional tumble. It’s constructed of 420-denier Cordura Lite, with taped external seams and heavily bar-tacked stress points. For cooling, the straps and back panel are lined with air-circulating mesh. The Trail18 exudes quality and delivers comfort, as it should for its asking price of $225. Colors are orange, lime and black.
For more information see your dealer or visit kriega.us