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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Inov-8 Race Pro 22 Pack > Owner Review by Mr Ty Webb

INOV-8 RACE PRO 22 PACK
OWNER REVIEW BY
TY WEBB
January 6, 2010  
 

Race Pro Pack
Image Courtesy of Inov-8



TESTER INFORMATION:


Name: Ty Webb


Age: 26

Gender: Male

Height: 5 feet 7 inches /1.7 meters

Weight: 180 pounds /82 kilograms

Email address: cymtnhiker@yahoo.com

City, State, Country: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
 

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND:


I have been backpacking since I was kid in scouts and never really grew out of getting outside and dirty.  I get outside quite a bit either by hiking, backpacking, mountain biking or just taking a walk in the park.  I typically prefer the confines of a tent to sleep in but I have used a bivy-tarp combination and a hammock setup before.
 

PRODUCT INFORMATION:


Manufacturer: Inov-8

Website: http://www.inov-8.com/

Volume Capacity: 22 Litres/ 1343 cubic inches

Listed Weight: 560 grams/20.5 ounces

Listed Back Length: 19 in/48.2 cm

Color: Black/Lime

Measured Weight: 1 pound 3 ounces/540 grams

MSRP: None listed
 

FIELD INFORMATION:


I have used this pack on day hikes ranging from sea level to 10,000 ft/3,048 m.  I have hiked with the pack in every season.  It has seen hot sunny days and more than a few days of rain.  It has even survived a snow storm or two. I have used it in the desert southwest and the Rocky Mountains. Overall I would estimate that I used the Race Pro Pack on over 30 day-hikes.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:


Water Pouch

According to Inov-8’s website “The Race Pro 22 is an elite lightweight functional hydration compatible pack. Includes a large stretch mesh pocket on the lid and side multi access pockets for storage of frequently accessed items. The Integral Compression Closure webbing can be positioned inside or outside pockets for more security and compression options. Ideal for Mountain Marathons and super light weight long distance walks”
One of the unique features of the Inov-8 pack is the hydration system dubbed “H2Orizontal Hydration System”.  This system has the hydration bladder located horizontally around the lumbar inside the waist belt of the pack as opposed to a more traditional vertical alignment against the mid to upper back.  The pouch for the bladder is accessed through a Velcro flap that rests against the wearer’s lower back/lumbar region (see picture above).  There are two slits, one on either side of the pack, where the drinking tube comes out (see picture below).  The tube can be placed around the waist or the shoulder.  There are four webbing straps, two per shoulder strap, elastic straps to help secure the drinking tube in an easy to reach location.

Hose Slit

The Race Pro 22 Pack comes with a plethora of pockets.  The waistbelt has a zippered pocket on each side.  One side is a mesh pocket that has a good deal of elasticity while the other is waterproof.  There is a key clip in the waterproof pocket.  Mesh pockets line both the left and right side of the pack.  The lid of the pack has two additional pockets.  On top of the lid is a mesh pocket while under the lid is an internal pocket.  A foam pad that rests against the wearer’s back offers support and can removed by way of a slot with a hook and loop closure.  The lid is not detachable but does latch to the pack by with two buckle clips.  The same type of clip secures the waistbelt around the user.  The sternum strap is very adjustable and has a whistle buckle.  All the straps have an elastic webbing loop around them for securing the additional length of the strap rolled up and in place (see picture below).

Clip & elastic webbing 



REVIEW:

The light weight of the pack is one of the first things I noticed when examining this pack.  Its weight really stands out compared to most other day packs I have tried.  While the four pockets are all zippered with pull tabs, the main compartment is a drawstring closure system not uncommon to packs.  The main compartment has plenty of room for my rain shell, insulation layer, gloves, food, stove, fuel, water treatment, headlamp, hat and first aid kit.  I do not consider myself an ultralight backpacker, but I could almost do an overnighter in this pack.  It is very spacious and has plenty of room for a day pack. 

Bladder

The H2Oriontal Hydration system actually works well for the most part.  I was slightly skeptical when I first saw it however it is very functional for me.  Since water is typically my heaviest item I really can tell that the water is now located against my waist and lumbar instead of the mid to upper back when hiking.  The full two liter bladder rides well while hiking and scrambling. The bladder itself is one thing I see room for improvement.  Since this is the only style of pack I’ve seen with this sort of system I am forced to use Inov-8’s bladder.  Not a tragedy by any means, but there are things I would like to see changed about the bladder design.  When not hiking in colder weather I always like to freeze my bladder with a small amount of water in it prior to hiking so that I have a giant ice cube and therefore cold water throughout the day.  This style of bladder makes it hard to load into the pack when frozen.  The wings of the bladder need to be flexible not rigid in order to properly put it in the pack.  This usually leaves me trying to thaw out enough of the ice using hot water so that it can bend enough to fit inside the pouch.  This is just an annoyance really but does slow me down in getting out of the house and onto the trail.

Air Pockets & Seams
At the top of the ‘wings’ on the bladder there are four thicker seams, two per wing, that run approximately a third of the way down the bladder.  When filling the bladder these seams help create air pockets in the top between the seams (see picture above).  To fill the bladder and remove the air pocket, I have to tip the bladder and squeeze the air out of the pocket towards the main opening.  While it’s true I’ve experienced air pockets with other bladder it has always been a lone air pocket in the bladder.  With this bladder there are four.  Again an annoyance but it would be nice if Inov8 could remove the thick seams or somehow do away with those pesky air pockets.

I like the multiple options for accessing the drinking tube on the Inov-8 pack.  This is the only pack I recall seeing that had the ability to slide the tube in four different placements.  It can come out either the left or right side of the pack and it can come down over the shoulder and secure to the shoulder strap or over the waistbelt and then up the shoulder strap (see picture below for tube configurations).  I’ve used it both ways and both work fine for me.  I do prefer it to come around the waist and up the shoulder strap but I believe this is just a personal preference.

Tube Coming Over the Shoulder & Around the Belt

The bite valve comes with a plastic cover tied to it.  I love this as I tend to just drop my pack at rest stops leaving the bite valve to drop on the ground.  The cover, when used properly, does an outstanding job keeping dirt and debris from covering the part that goes in my mouth.  I have not had any problems with the bite valve leaking.  I find that drinking the water from the mouthpiece requires a moderate amount of suction.  I’ve seen mouthpieces that require more or less suction but I find extracting water through this tube only demands a mid range amount of pressure.  Overall I think it’s a solid design. 

One thing I would like to see is a slightly more rigid foam pad for the support.  I have had my foam pad bend and deform causing an unusual feeling when carrying the pack.  Not really good or bad just very different from normal and I end up having to pull my pad out and straighten it up.  It has not happened often and the maintenance is not hard but it usually takes me a few minutes to figure out what specifically is wrong.  I absolutely love the waistbelt pockets.  They are great for keeping things within easy reach without having to take the pack off.  They are perfect for storing items such as my camera, car keys, cell phone, MP3 player, map and other smaller items.  The waterproof pocket has endured multiple days of hiking in steady, all day rain.  My cell phone and MP3 player can vouch for the validity of the pocket keeping the rain out.  The elastic rings for keeping the additional strap webbing length in check is a wonderful little item which provides a nice alternative to trimming the straps down.  It adds a tiny amount of weight but since I use this pack day hiking, I am not as critical of counting ounces and grams.  It’s well worth it in my opinion.

SUMMARY:

The Inov-8 Race Pro 22 Pack is a great lightweight pack with ample room for a day hike and almost enough room for an overnight trip.  The pack’s unique hydration system sits around the waist and lumbar region.  While there is room for improvement this system is functional for me.  The pack is very adjustable with the fit as well as where the drinking tube can be stored.  I’ve used this pack in various conditions and while not perfect, it is still the primary pack I reach for when going on a day hike.

PROS:

Lightweight

Lots of storage room

Waistbelt pockets

Adjustable

Elastic Straps to handle the excess webbing
 
CONS:

Water bladder is hard to get in the pack when frozen

Foam pad will bend and cause the pack to ride awkwardly

Water bladder has seams which create lots of air pockets

Read more reviews of Inov-8 gear
Read more gear reviews by Mr Ty Webb

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Inov-8 Race Pro 22 Pack > Owner Review by Mr Ty Webb



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