A review by the Cyborg
Kathmandu Nucleon 20L Pack
This pack has just about everything I look for in a bladder pack - and considering it was a present, that’s very impressive! It’s a bit of a larger pack, so fits a lot of stuff, and may even be a bit big for a standard sprint adventure race. However it is great on a bigger event, like the Wild Endurance, where there is a larger list of compulsory equipment to carry. And, for someone like me, who likes to bring along a kitchen sink (just in case!) it’s very handy on races!
First of all, the important stuff: this pack is built for a two or three-litre bladder, and came with a three litre Source bladder, which is excellent! The bladder sits in it’s own compartment, and is separated from your back by a padded panel, covered with mesh lining - so no sticking or sweating (well, not as much!)
Speaking of which, the shoulder straps are quite wide too, with a mesh underlay themselves, so you can really tighten it down onto you without the straps digging in, and it doesn’t sit on top of a pool of sweat due to the mesh. It has a chest strap, and hip strap, giving you plenty of options to really tighten the pack onto yourself.
And the hip strap has pockets! Zipped pockets, with big tags on them, so they’re easy to open or close on the run/ride. And they’re big enough to fit muesli bars, gels, everything you’ll need on a race! The hip belt also unclips and can be taken off the pack, for washing, or just in case you have a better one I guessâ€¦
Now, the pack itself has huge volume (though it also has a compression strap, so you can tighten it down), which also makes it good for day hikes, rides and the like. It has drink bottle pockets on the side which, if you hadn’t busted your shoulder in a bike accident in the past, you could probably reach easily. The huge, central compartment has room for heaps of stuff-with a small stash pocket that’s great for phone, cash, and keys (bear in mind, however, that it’s not waterproof!) It easily fits the mandatory first aid kit, as well as spare tube and tools. There is a smaller zipped pocket on the back, and another flap pocket, which makes for good stashing of things you’ll want easier, but not regular, access to during a race, such as a map for the second leg.
It also has a great bungy cord which you can hang things off, or which you can loop over your bike helmet, if you forget to leave it with your bike (I’m looking at you Mr GPS!)
I’ve seen quite a few racers sporting this pack and, while I’d like to think that I’m a trend setter, I think it’s more likely that it’s such a great, versatile pack than people having seen it on me! It’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a pack!
Check out the Kathmandu site to order it online, or (better yet) find your local store to go try one on for size.