RRP: £139.99 // Sizes: 25L Capacity // Colour: Black
First of all, let’s outline what I typically look for in a rucksack. I want storage, comfort, and I expect them to be able to take a bit of a beating too. And after using the Alpinestars Force Backpack 25 every day for last nine months – I’ve got to give it some serious credit; it offers the lot.
I’ve used it for trips to the shops, touring, green-laning, and as my every-day bag for work. I’ve crammed it to breaking point with clothes, computers and cameras, and it’s swallowed the lot with ease. Sure, it’s only 25 litres – but its compact size actually helps to offer a more comfortable and well balanced fit. Of course, if you’ve got a few kilos of gear on your back, you’re going to feel it at the end of the day – but its padded back panel, and multi-strap tailored adjustment system which spans across your chest, does a decent job of helping to distribute weight evenly and improve comfort.
If you need to add something bulky to your load, the backpack also comes equipped with a set of adjustable straps hidden away in a pocket in the bottom of the bag – and there are also four compression straps on the sides of the bag, allowing you to attach quite a bit of extra kit, providing your back can take the weight, of course. There’s also a mesh helmet-carrying system which packs away in another pocket the bottom of the bag; though I have to confess, I’ve never used it, much like the built-in hydration pack (Camelback et al.) storage system. Additional storage comes in the forms of two side pockets and two accessory pockets on the back – allowing you to stow your gear away, but allowing easy access.
My only real criticism of the backpack is its limited water-resistance – which means you need to use the separate rain cover, which is tucked in the cargo pocket on the bags base. It’s not a bad compromise, but I did find it to let a little water in around the edges in the very worst of downpours – so if you’re riding all-day through a monsoon, then you’d probably be better wrapping the rucksack in a plastic bag (or using one as an internal liner). It’s not really an issue though, just something worth noting.
Of course, we can’t ignore its pricetag. I mean, £140 for a backpack seems fairly steep – but considering it’s still in tip-top condition, despite taking a thorough beating over the last nine months, I reckon it’s probably worth every penny.
MOREBIKES RATING: 8/10 // TESTED BY: ROSS MOWBRAY
For more information, visit: www.oxfordproducts.com
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