When it comes to picking a hydration pack there are a huge amount of options in the market at the moment. Obviously there are the big contenders of Camelpak and Osprey to deal with, but more and more manufacturers are bringing out their own bags.
USWE had a long history in motorsports and has only come across to mountain biking in recent years, bringing something no other manufacturer has: a new strap system. So how does the USWE A4 stand up to test?
USWE A4 Challenger bag review
The first thing you’ll notice about this bag is the harness. It’s a single clip point that makes it super easy to get in and out in a hurry. But on closer inspection you’ll notice it’s much more than that.
Each strap on the four point harness can be adjusted to suit your body shape and these straps are made of both a hard, stiff material and tough elastic. The idea of this is simple – it sticks firmly to your back but with enough give that means it isn’t uncomfortable.
USWE named this the “no dancing monkey” and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
I always found that with Camelpak I was adjusting straps a couple times throughout the ride to adjust for terrain. With the USWE I don’t have to!
This is by far the best thing about the bag, but that’s not to say the rest is shit.
The features are atually really good, you get:
- 3 litre water capacity with an easy to fill bladder – sits inside a special bladder pocket
- 9 litres of storage (minus the 3 litre bladder)
- A large main pocket that zips all the way around for easy access
- A smaller front pocket with tool organisation bits like elastic straps and mesh and material dividers
- A water resistant top pocket designed for phones with a soft, non-scratch lining
Overall Opinion on the A4 Challenger
Overall you get a lot of bang for your buck, my only gripe would be the storage isn’t huge and the positioning of the bladder does take up a lot of internal room.
That said, there’s plenty of room to tuck away tools, tubes, gels, quick links and keys, but with a full bladder getting a phone, wallet and large pack of Haribo in is a squeeze and there’s basically nowhere to put a jacket.
This does makes it a great bag for a grab-and-go 2-3 hours on the trails or if you’re racing enduro but you definitely need more room if the weather will be changing or for all day rides. Luckily USWE do larger bags, of which the USWE Airborne is on my mtb wishlist (expect a full review soon!)
The four point “no dancing monkey” system is unbelievable. Having ridden with other bags since, nothing feels as stable or secure. If you love getting rowdy and don’t want anything to get in the way then you definitely need to look into one of these bags.