ACRE is a new entry to the mountain biking community. The roots of the company, however, run deep in mountain biking. ACRE’s founders, Bart Kyzar and Mark Falvai, were the original founders of the iconic urban cycling brand Chrome Industries. Originally based in Boulder, the first Chrome bags were designed with mountain bikers in mind. As the brand grew, the cycle courier community embraced their product and the company resultantly pivoted. Chrome Industries was sold in 2007 and two years later, Bart and Mark founded Mission Workshop – bringing more outdoor and mountaineering elements into the functional side of the backpacks. Mission Workshop’s gear has redefined the expectations we have for high-end urban packs over the last few years so it was only natural that in 2014 they launched the ACRE line of apparel and bags – specifically tailored for off-road use.
The ACRE Hauser 14L pack is the first entry into the mountain bike space, and the roots of the premium Mission Workshop brand shine through. Featuring a weatherproof roll top design, weatherproof construction and a built in tool roll, this pack is thoughtfully designed from the ground up. The pack is aimed at the adventurer – designed around the core function of being prepared in the outdoors with a construction that is built to last.
The easily accessible (outward facing) tool roll pocket and included tool roll stood out immediately, making the statement that this pack is for the long haul outings.
The roll top design allows for easy and quick access to your contents with a greater capacity than most other packs we’ve tried. I found the roll-top with buckle closures easier to use than zippers, especially when it comes to quickly stuffing a jacket or other cloth material in.
The materials selection and attention to detail of the ACRE pack is outstanding. With four weatherproof external pockets and the included tool roll (with four more pockets in the roll), there is plenty of space and storage for small bits. The outer fabric is a VX ripstop waterproof laminate, which is a weave of synthetic fabric with a crisscrossing pattern as the backbone.
Although the pack isn’t sold with a hydration reservoir, it’s compatible with most, (up to 3 liters) allowing users to stick with what they know and like.
The internal fabric uses the waterproof VX ripstop material as well. All zippers are YKK urethane coated and waterproof, and the included tool roll is a heavy duty nylon mesh. The back panel is hexagonal foam panel that ‘floats’ away from the pack. The entire pack is constructed in the USA, with many of the raw materials sourced locally.
The color pallette on my pack is what I would describe as timeless – strong colors that are neither too boring nor fluoro— in line with the Mission Workshop offerings. The Hauser pack is offered in both 10L and 14L with color-way options in camo, black, blue, or gray. We tested the gray offering.
The Acre Hauser pack was my primary pack choice for the summer of 2014. The terrain covered ranged from trails on the peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area, including Soquel Demo Forest, Skeggs and Mt. Sutro – to explorations throughout Marin.
The reservoir capacity stayed in line with the ‘adventurous’ nature of the pack, the 3 Liter reservoir was critical for the 4+ hour long rides (where we either got lost or went back for one last lap on the Endor Flow Trail at sundown) Because of the floating rear back panel, with the reservoir full, the pack still felt comfortable on the back. In addition, the tool roll became useful many times on the trail- either accessing the multi tool or pulling out a tube, pump, and levers, the neat organization give you the feeling of being ‘prepared’ like a Boy Scout on the trail. I also ordered a waterproof first aid kit on the trail to keep as a fixture in the pack, which luckily has seen little use.
The elephant in the room is the 14L storage capacity of the pack. We found this incredibly useful for adding and removing layers and kneepads during the ride- with plenty of space- and the occasional 12 pack of PBR for a night ride. One of the best things about the pack is that when the 14L rolltop is not being used- when the rider is just bringing tools and water, the roll and reservoir sandwich the empty space with the pack maintaining a low profile.
One thing we wished for would be a better clasping system- ditching the cheap plastic buckles for a more premium metal buckle- seen on some urban Mission Workshop bags, as the plastic is not durable. We’ve seen these break after a few short years. I never used the hidden carry straps on the inside of the bottom pocket; it would be nice if the straps were removable in this pocket so we could make better use of it.
The floating back panel worked really well in keeping the pack flush on the back and snug- regardless of the pack being completely full or empty. This was the major plus for fit. One item that didn’t jive was the length of the straps provided. The chest strap, at its longest, was constricting on my size large frame. Often times, during descents, the tight fit was fine to keep the pack in place, yet during long ascents we had to keep the strap unbuckled to breathe comfortably. In addition, the waist straps were a major problem. The size appears that it could fit a 50-inch waist, very out of line with how small the chest strap is, and when buckled and fit to my size large frame, the additional strap dangling was troublesome.
I had a close call in the middle of a waterfall rock section when the dangling straps caught on the underside of my seat, attaching me to the bike. Luckily the straps are removable, and I removed them after the incident. A more robust, better fitting strap with a metal buckle would be in congruence with the quality of this pack.
Overall, the premium construction of the pack, designed around adventure, was the main factor in giving it a try, and I’m expecting years of use with it.
The Hauser lists for $205 and is available through Acre Supply or Mission Workshop. Check it out: Acre Supply Hauser Back Pack
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