With more and more races on the calender, Adventure Racing is fast becoming a popular sport in the UK. Consisting of multi-stage events such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, trail running, mountain biking and more, teams compete in races that may last over several days. Examples of races held in the UK last year are the Nokia Coast to Coast Race in Scotland and the Adidas Terrex Race in the Lake District. To compete effectively in Adventure Racing gear choice is vital. Your kit must be lightweight yet rugged enough to stand up to extreme punishment as well as being fully functional.
One of the biggest names in the sport is 5 times Adventure Racing World Champion, Mike Kloser, with whom we were luck enough to interview last October. With such an enormous amount of experience Mike knows exactly what is needed from each piece of kit and has set about designing and producing his own brand of Adventure Racing gear under the label Out There!
Through years of testing and development, we’ve incorporated state of the art materials and features to offer the highest quality products on the market. Mike Kloser.
Out There! AS-1
Adventure Racing Rucksack
The AS-1 is a 30 litre rucksack with an additional 10 litres of storage in external mesh pockets. Its dimensions are 50.8cm x 30.5cm x 15.2cm and it weighs in at 1kg. It is made from lightweight, durable, water resistant, ripstop nylon.
Plenty of Pockets!
As you would expect, the AS-1 is fully featured, with much thought given to ease of access to gear while on the move. There are 6 easy access high volume external mesh pockets, 4 easy access shoulder strap mesh pouches known as “Beaver Tails”, 2 removable zippered waist belt pockets/pouches, mesh water bottle pouches on both hips, 2 pockets on the top of the rucksack and a storable mesh cover for securing your helmet on the back of the pack. There is also a large map pocket at the back of the rucksack. With all these pockets it is easy to be very organised and to have quick access to your gear as soon as you need it. There is certainly no need to waste time rummaging through you pack trying to find things. All you have to do is remember what you put in which pocket! But even this is not too difficult since many of the pockets are mesh and therefore see through.
Access to the main compartment can be gained as normal through the top of the rucksack but also through a zipper at the side/back of the pack. Again handy for saving time.
For external gear storage there are ice axe / trekking pole loops and attachment straps, webbing loops on the bottom for storing camping gear, such as your ultralight tent, and side compression straps which double as ski or snowboard attachment straps.
One feature specific to adventure racing is the bungy tow line. This is useful for towing your team mate along and is stored in a pouch a the back of the rucksack.
Back System, Straps and Hydration
An ergonomic, comfortable fit is vitally important when running, climbing and mountain biking. To this end, the rucksack back system is a well vented with padded airmesh panel strategically placed contacting with your shoulder blades and lower back.
The shoulder straps are also very well padded with airmesh to help cushion the load. They are fitted with easy reach & adjust shoulder strap suspension system load lifters, i.e. straps to pull the weight off the towards your back or release it away from you. Releasing the weight helps your balance if you are going downhill and pulling it towards you helps if you are going up, or if you need the rucksack to be close fitting when you are climbing or mountain biking.
Naturally both the shoulder straps have a loop for securing hydration tube sleeves. Incidentally, there are two separate pouches so that you can store two separate bladders in the pack. One pouch is accessed through the main rucksack compartment whilst the other has direct access from the back of the pack.
The hip belt has an easy adjust suspension system with compression straps which help to stabilise the weight of the pack. As you would expect, there is also an adjustable chest strap with integrated whistle.
Out in the Field
Top adventure racer and Gear Junkie, Stephen Regenold, put the AS-1 Pack through its paces in the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race.
I would use this pack again on a long adventure race or other expedition. The up-front pockets and stash areas are the biggest advantages. Stephen Regenold.
The Out There! AS-1 is a fully featured rucksack designed for adventure racing. With plenty of pockets and straps it’s possible to carry plenty of gear which is always easily accessible. The ergonomic fit, airmesh padding and comprehensive set of adjustment straps mean that it remains comfortable and secure whilst participating in multi-disciplinary events.
The AS-1 will be available in the US from May 2011, and will hopefully be on sale in the UK before too long.
Other rucksacks recommended for adventure racing include The Berghaus Octans 40, OMM Classic 32 Marathon Pack, The North Face Enduro 30, Inov8 Race Pro 22.