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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > Crumpler Bumper Issue Hydration Pack > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

Bumper Issue Hydration Pack

Initial Report - Oct 10 '09
Field Report - Jan 19 '10
Long Term Report - Mar 23 '10

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
Age: 42
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
Torso: 19"( cm)


I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I am currently getting into condition to summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, and California. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.

Product Information


Crumpler USA

Year of Manufacture:


Manufacturer’s Website:


$US 95.00
Measured Weight: Weight 28.7 oz / 814 g (23.8 oz / 675 g without hydration pouch)


7.2 l

Listed Measurments Height: 52cm
Width: 36cm
Depth: 17cm

Product image front and back
Images courtesy of Crumpler USA

Product Description:

The Bumper Issue bag is a hiking/biking hydration pack. It has a  600D water resistant shell and a 150D ripstop lining. It comes in some creative color combinations: Black/Gun Metal/Gray 

Initial Report

Pack from various angles
I am not a flashy kind of guy, I tend to favor subtle colors and gear, but when I am on my bike or on the trail I sometimes like to be noticed or at least have that option if I so desire, for if nothing else safety considerations. Most of my outdoor gear tends to be in shades of gray, brown, and green. This is good for most of my time on the trail but not so good when I am on my bike or walking in traffic or if I might need to get some attention while on the trail (e.g. in an emergency). When I saw the Bumper Issue hydration packs, I was excited by the bright but not gaudy (at least to me) color combinations. They look like something that when on the road would help me be more noticeable.
I received the black/orange pack.

In researching the pack, I visited the company’s web site. Like their packs, the site is funky and flashy. While I enjoy the creative and quirky personality that the site conveys, I found navigating the site to be cumbersome and tedious after the initial ‘coolness’ wore off. One thing in particular I found is that the Bumper Issue is available in two different versions (the basic and a “Limited Edition”) with the Limited Edition being more expensive ($US 30.00 more). I looked at both and could not see any difference. I finally contacted the manufacturer to ask them about it and they quickly responded with the following; “Just the color really. That pixilated camo is a limited color run”. The site does have some excellent images of each pack from various angles providing a good preview of the product. The images were an accurate depiction of what I received.

The Bumper issue is advertised  as being a water resistant hydration pack for folks who only need room to carry some basic gear. “…designed specifically for those that need their bike, the road and little else” It is a top loading hydration pack constructed out of 600 Denier (water resistant) shell with a 150 Denier rip stop lining. Some of the features include 3 internal pockets, one mesh internal pocket, and dual front pockets (I personally like front pockets on my packs). It has side straps for things like a tire pump or trekking poles. It also has reflective details and a whistle built into the chest strap (a neat feature that a few of my packs include).
It fits up to a 70 oz (2 L) hydration pouch (Included). Since a 2 L pouch is what I normally use, this is ideal for me.

Reflective DetailsUpon receiving the pack I fully inspected it looking at its design, construction and features. I could find no obvious flaws to the construction, it looks well made. All the seams tight and no loose strings or unfinished edges. The buckles and clips look to be of good quality and operate smoothly. The pack has a number of excellent features that I like a lot. First is the detachable hip belt. I often don’t need a hip belt when using a smaller day pack like this and having the option to remove it is nice. There are two strips of padding with a gap in the middle. The padding is quite thick for such a small pack and the space in between looks like it will help with ventilation. The reflective details on the pack look like they will work well. I put the pack in a dark room and lit it indirectly with a flash light and the reflective details really stood out. The interior of the pack is divided into 3 compartments. One for the hydration pouch, the main compartment and a smaller section to the back of the pack. There are also two external pockets accessed via side zippers on the back section of the pack. The way they are configured, they don’t look like they will hold much in the way of bulk, but should be good for small and/or flat items (wallet, small note book, GPS, etc) and one of the pockets has a small key clip built in (this is nice since I often toss my keys in my pack and then have trouble locating them).

The included 2 L hydration pouch is a new design for me. First it is a dull red color and made of thick, durable looking plastic. The opening of the pouch is different from any other I have used. The entire top of the bag opens, and to close it, it is folded over an attached piece of plastic and then a plastic clip is slid over to hold it in place. Upon looking at this design I was unsure of how secure this might be. I filled the pouch with water and then blew in air with as much pressure as I could. I then squeezed the pouch and could locate no leaks. The mouth piece has a cover that is attached to the tube with a small piece of cord. None of my other hydration systems have covers over the mouth piece and I often end up with dirt on the mouth piece. I often carry a water filter and prefer to pump water directly into my hydration pouch. I tried to remove the mouth piece from the tube, but was unable to.

I filled the hydration pouch and tossed a few small items into the pack and tried it on. For this kind of pack I prefer if it fits snugly so it does not shift or move. The straps were easy to adjust and the pack fit quite comfortably and securely to my back. The hip, shoulder, and compression straps have loops sewn into them making it easy to adjust. The 4 compression straps on the sides have plastic clips to make it easy to attach/remove items such as trekking poles and/or a tire pump.

This is not the lightest hydration pack I have but it appears far more durable than my lightweight packs. This could be beneficial for snowboarding and riding/hiking through thick brush.

Field Report

Field Report - Jan 19 '10
Usage:Stuffed too full
12 mi (19 km) day hike, Washington Cascades 4000 ft (1200 m)
2 geocaching trips & a 3 hr sea kayak trip while vacationing, Central California Coast
4-5 geocaching trips in town and parks in and around Yakima Washington
[The geocaching trips each consisted of 2-4 short hikes of less than 1 mile (1.5 km)]

The manufacturer’s description of this bag is in my opinion right on the mark. This is without a doubt a hydration pack designed for carrying minimal gear. I took the pack on a day hike in the Cascades. I stuffed the pack with essentials, lunch, 2 L (68 oz) of water, an extra fleece layer and rain pants. The pack did not fit well at all. It bulged and rode high on my back, rubbing uncomfortably in places. It did however do a fine job of shedding the light rain I was in and out of…all day! By the time I returned to my vehicle the outside of the pack was wet, I was soaked, but the contents of my pack remained dry.
During the other trips, I carried a minimal amount of gear; 1-2 L (34-68 oz) of water, first aid kit and basic safety gear, and maybe a light jacket and snacks. For this the pack performed admirably, it was comfortable and did not shift even while bending and twisting when I was looking for geocaches.
During our vacation to Central California I used the pack as a carry-on while traveling. For most of the trip it worked well and I liked it. However at one point it got turned upside down in the back of the car and a few of the smaller items I had in the main compartment slipped out despite having the lid snapped in place. As a result I chose not to use this pack for snowboarding. While its size should be about ideal, all too often I end up going head over heels and I would not want to lose any of the items from my pack (like wallet or car keys) in the snow.

WetWhile my schedule and the poor weather have conspired to prevent me from using my bike since the start of this test, I am looking forward to using it for this purpose. One key reason is its distinctive coloration and bright reflective details. Since receiving the pack, the reflective parts of the pack have caught my eye a number of times. They seem to catch light well and are quite noticeable in low light conditions. Some of our geocaching trips occurred in the evening and I appreciated the extra visibility the pack provided (at least it made me feel a bit more visible).

The waist belt is removable and I like that. I often don’t use a waist belt for light day hikes and I like that when I don’t need it, I can simply leave it home. I have only used the waist belt on two trips, the long rainy hike and one of the Geocaching trips.

The hydration pouch has worked flawlessly. I have had no trouble filling it, and I have not detected any off tastes (even after leaving water in it for over a week). Initially I was unsure how well the top closure would work, and if it would leak. So far, I have no complaints, and like that I can get my hand into the pouch to dry it out. I really like this design!
The hydration pack when full takes up most of the usable space in the pack, if there was one thing I would change with this pack it would be to add side water bottle pockets for times when I wish to carry bulky items.
A fine day in CenCal
In summary, this is not what I would call a ‘do everything’ pack. This is a hydration pack for when I want to carry water and a minimal amount of gear (first aid kit, basic tools and/or safety gear, light windbreaker or lunch). This pack is not suitable for when I snowshoe or snowboard, but when packed properly allows me to comfortably, visibly, and I might add fashionably, carry water and some basic essentials. I am kind of disappointed in the poor weather, I really think I would get much more use out of this pack during the summer months.
The pack material and construction appear to be sturdy and durable

Durable, fashionable, functional, removable waist belt.

The only thing close to an issue with this pack is the ability for small items to slip out of the pack even when closed.

Long Term Report

Long Term Report - Mar 23 '10
X-country ski, White Pass Ski area – 1 day
Bike ride – 17 miles road/trail
2 family geocaching trips

I used the pack when my wife and I took my girls X-country skiing for the first time. The conditions were just about perfect; temperatures hovering around freezing, sunny and calm. I only half filled the hydration pouch and placed a few basic items in the pack (first aid kit, snacks, extra gloves & jacket). For my first bike ride of the season I road from my house out to our greenway. Again with the hydration bladder half full and basic gear (first aid kit, bike tools, and a windbreaker). On both trips the pack was comfortable and easy to put on/take off.
I used the pack for two more family geochaching trips. I had no water and minimal gear in the pack (first aid kit, notebook, GPS, and assorted stuff to trade). Again no complaints with the comfort, nor any difficulty in getting it on/off.

I have actually gotten more usage out of the hydration pouch than the pack itself. I really like the large opening and thick durable material. Since I often use a water filter/pump, removing the hydration pouch mouthpiece is a factor for me. I have found the mouthpiece to be quite difficult to remove unless I run it under hot water to soften the tubing. This is also a factor in cleaning out and drying the pouch but less so since I normally have access to hot running water when I am doing this. My hope was this would get easer as I used it more, but this has not been the case.

In conclusion, I really like this pack. Its bright color and reflective details make it highly visible as well as somewhat easy on the eyes. While the pack is not what I would consider light, it is made of thick durable material. All of the belts and adjustments are well placed and work nicely. The hydration pack has a large opening making it easy to fill and clean, and is made of thick, tough material. The lid is easy to open/close providing easy access to the gear. However the lid does not completely seal off the main compartment, and so can allow small items to slip out when upended.
I fully expect to continue to use this pack, especially as the weather warms up and I don’t need room for extra layers. I intend to use this as my primary pack for bike rides. In addition, my daughter plans to use this pack on her upcoming school ‘environmental camp’ (mostly because she likes the way it looks), and she has expressed an interest in it becoming hers now that the test is complete.

This concludes my test report. I would like to thank the folks at Crumpler USA and for the opportunity to test this fine product.


Read more reviews of Crumpler gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wilkes

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