After spending the past 3 months with the Ergon BA3 Super Enduro backpack, I have nicknamed it, “Pockets”. There are more places to stash your goods in this pack than any other I have seen. As with other Ergon packs I have used, the BA3 Super Enduro has been nothing short of impressive. Now let’s talk about it shall we?
Company: Ergon Bike (www.ergon-bike.com)
Product: Ergon BA3 Super Enduro – Black
Reviewed by: Jordan May
Photos by: Adam Bendig
Review Period: 3 months
Usage: 30+ rides
Let’s jump right into this one. Over the past three months, I strapped this pack to my back as much as possible. Even when I didn’t need to carry I pack, I did. At first glance when the pack showed up at my door, I thought I ordered way too large a pack for my needs. Although, the carry capacity of the bag is great, it’s actually a compact pack. All the straps and compartments make it look much larger than it is.
“This is a compact pack built to carry full-size loads.”
1. I am always looking for a secure way to carry my cell phone or small pocket camera. I have a tough time completing a ride without snapping a few pictures. This probably annoys people that I ride with having to wait up for me. One of the first things I noticed is a good size waist strap pouch. This pouch has held everything from my phone to gels and snacks. Having a camera is only worthwhile if you can get to it easily. This pouch is perfectly placed.
2. A pair of lower carry straps are ready to hold extra layers of clothing, sleeping pad or maybe even a tripod. I have yet to need them but it’s nice knowing they are there.
3. I stuffed a pair of jackets into the rear vertical compartment and still had room to spare. This would be a great place to stash wet clothing and doubles as a carry system for a full-face helmet. Sadly, I didn’t have one handy to show for the review. (Click here for a video showing the helmet loaded. Warning, in German.)
4. One of my favorite features of the Ergon pack is the shoulder system. Each side is adjustable and self-controlling, making sure it fits you perfectly even if your shoulders are not in line. Both sides are free moving making this happen. I am not sure of another pack that uses a system like this. I happen to have a higher right shoulder and find that it takes a lot of strap adjustment to get both sides to fit right with other packs. The BA3 does the work for me.
I have an assortment of packs in the garage with the typical nylon hip strap that do a crap job of holding me during rough terrain. The BA3 elastic hip strap hugs your body tight using both velcro and clip fastener.
“I crashed a couple times this summer and the pack didn’t budge.”
1. As mentioned above, the hip pouch is easy to get to and the zipper pull is in the proper direction. Open – back, close – front. Nice.
1. The pack is available in both small and large sizes. To get an even more precise fit, the entire shoulder system can be adjusted to four different lengths.
2. A contour fit, adjustable aluminum bar runs along the lower back. The bar can be shaped to fit the arch of your back.
3. I have the pack set to the Large position which exposes some of the velcro that holds down each side. Takes only a matter of seconds to adjust.
4. Not having an Ergon bladder, I used my 3.0-liter Camelbak bladder and it worked just fine. I have to admit, I was a little lost when it came time to run the bladder line. There is no pass-through! I even reached out to Ergon to make sure I wasn’t missing it. Instead, the pack uses a two-way zipper that lets you run the bladder line out the same entry as the bladder itself, anywhere you want it. After using the pack a few times I realized not having a small pass-through made getting the bladder in and out of the pack much easier.
When the pack arrived, the bladder line holder (#1) was on the right side. That same shoulder strap also has two horizontal route guides (#3 and #4) holding the bladder line tight to the pack. I often ride solo and always carry a blade with me. The only place I found to carry the blade with easy access was on the same side as all the route guides (#3 shows my blade loaded). So, this meant I needed to move the bladder line to the other side (#1). Ergon made the holder (#1) moveable but did not add more horizontal route guides (#2 is where one should be). Even if you don’t carry a blade, many of us like to strap other things to our shoulders for easy access. Bells, whistles, camera pouches, GPS devices, etc. It would have been nice to see an equal amount of guides on both sides. Having the bladder line on the opposite side without much line support means its much more mobile than it should be.
5. These large, open-mesh pads do a great job keeping the pack comfortable against your back while letting air pass through keeping you cool.
Remember when I said I nicknamed this pack, “Pockets”? The main compartment of the pack is 15L, expandable to 17L. On top of that, inside are two, large see-thru pouches (#3 and #4). On top of that, inside the two see-thru pouches are two smaller pouches (#1). We got pockets with pockets people! What I was surprised to not find was a dedicated pouch for my pump (#2). Not that there isn’t more than enough room to put it elsewhere.
Need more pockets? Check. The front compartment has three interior pockets, two are closed with velcro (#1 and #2) and the other with elastic (#3).
“This pack makes me feel like I don’t carry enough stuff. Or, maybe it’s telling me that I need more adventure and longer rides? I’ll go with the latter.”
1. A side loaded zipper expands the pack from 15-17L. I’ve used the pack during a few urban commuter missions and had plenty of room for food, dress clothes and shoes.
2. The self-correcting, ‘Adaptive Carrier System’ utilizes a trapeze support. This means that even the lower portion of the pack can be moved closer to the body using the shoulder straps. Tight, like a Tiger.
3. Into bikepacking? This is a great spot to load up your tent or sleeping pad.
“I have used this pack several times while hiking. The pack is equally as comfortable on your feet over long distances.”
Showing off the trapeze support. The entire back half of the pack can be sucked closer to the body. Even fully loaded, there is no reason this pack should move around on you.
Plenty of room in the outer vertical compartment for a regular helmet.
During my testing period with the BA3, I have thrown every type of terrain I could at it. Well, everything I can handle on the bike! I couldn’t rate the comfort and fit any higher.
The Ergon BA3 Super Enduro pack is a product I cannot recommend enough. Not only is the pack compact, it is light on your back and keeps your load where it should be, stabilized toward your lower back and not dragging your shoulders down. Head on over to Ergon to grab one or better yet, if your local bike shop carries Ergon products, show them some support and buy it there.