USWE Patriot 15 Backpack
By Traece Craig
Some of us have tried taking a classic school backpack on a mountain bike adventure. We thought, “This will be no hassle at all and work perfectly.” Of course, we discovered that our basic JanSport backpack with little to no support bounced everywhere, rattled bottles open, shifted weight unpredictably, and offered no protection if we were to fall on all of our gear.
For a better mountain biking-oriented solution, look no further than the Patriot 15 backpack. Developed and tested with input from top-performing athletes and weekend warriors, this USWE (pronounced “youswee”) adventure pack offers the ideal design for your mountain biking adventure. In the Editor’s Choice Awards (found in our December 2020 issue), one of our staff members picked the USWE Airborne 9 as his choice for “Top Gear of the Year.” While that model knocked it out of the park, we couldn’t wait to see how the USWE Patriot 15 held up in comparison.
Tech features: The Patriot 15 features the award-winning NDM (no dancing monkey) four-point harness design. This patented harness technology from USWE secures the weight on your back with a bounce-free and optimized fit. The Patriot 15 is a daypack intended to carry your helmet, pads, tools, bars, action cam, jacket, first-aid kit, phone, wallet and keys all inside the organized compartments. Of course, this pack is also hydration compatible. We were able to fit a 3-liter bladder inside (bladder not included). While all of that could fit in the Airborne 9 if packed right, the Patriot 15 has a unique feature that sets it apart.
An unfortunate crash in the mountains is always a possibility each time a rider saddles up to push his limits. Taking a tumble onto a pack full of gear without the proper protection could send the day downhill in unintended ways. For safety, the Patriot 15 is integrated with a multi-compliant, CE-certified, SAS-TEC central back protector (SC-1/CB52) that is made of flexible viscoelastic foam. This material returns to its original shape after an impact or if it is deformed.
The total storage capacity of the pack is 15 liters. The storage available is distributed among a total of 12 smart storage pockets. This includes a smart organizer pocket that prompts a rider to keep everything tidy and in position for easy access. Along with the various smart pockets, there are several smart attachment systems used to secure helmet and knee/elbow pads. Best of all, attaching the optional action camera harness that we loved on the Airborne 9 is also an option on the Patriot 15.
On the trail: The Patriot 15 falls into the medium-size action backpack category. Although designated a “backpack,” it is better understood as a larger hydration pack. This makes it ideal for holding extra gear for an all-day escapade. Having space to organize, we were able to pack enough essentials to solve typical trail-side problems, such as gear in case it rained and even a compact camera to grab a few shots. Given its size and price range, we were a bit bummed that no bladder was included.
Regardless, the extra protection and back support made us feel more comfortable, even with the Patriot 15 fully packed. As with all USWE bags, there was no bounce, no matter the terrain or even how high we jumped. The ability to strap knee and elbow pads onto the pack was greatly appreciated. Some riders like to take off their half-shell or full-face helmets to maximize airflow when climbing, but we rarely strapped the helmet to the pack while riding. Overall, the quality and design of the Patriot 15 allowed us to pack smart and be prepared for whatever was ahead on the trail.