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USWE Sports Core 25 Daypack Reviews

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  • Retail Price ~$249.95 Shop Now
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2x1wheeler

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

Full-size riding backpacks are a necessary evil when traveling by motorcycle. Since I'm not a fan of riding with a tank bag on either my ADV or enduro bike, items that I need relatively quick and frequent access to are on my back. I decided to go with the USWE Core 25, their largest pack to date. It seemed to have the utility that I needed and is paired with a harness system design to mask its weight when loaded up, including when off-road.

Testing included a cross-country trip following entire Trans-America Trail, with plenty of side exploration along the way. This bucket-list ride covered 80 consecutive ride days, 22 states and over 10,000 miles on my Africa Twin. I also tested the USWE Core 25 riding my trail bike on Colorado and Utah (Moab) trails.

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Product Overview 

The heart of Core series packs is hubbed around the “No Dance Monkey” (SnugMe 2.0) harness paired with an overall flexible pack structure to become part of the rider, not an add-on. Coming in at 25L , the pack provides enough space to accommodate a multi-day dual sport ride or even the most extensive adventurer. The Snug Me 2.0 harness supports and controls the weight that you shove in the pack, while providing consecutive days of comfort.

Note: The features of the Core 25 also carry over to the Core 16, but only the Core 25 performance will be discussed here.

Performance 

With such a large capacity pack and a long trip ahead, the requirement for a harness that could distribute the weight and avoid negative effects on my spine was a must. First thing was to experiment with the various adjustments to get the right fit. New to me was the extendable back plate, essentially shortening or lengthening the pack to match the rider's torso. USWE offers baselines numbers on-line, but a smaller that recommended setting fit me best.

The body strap adjustments also work much differently than the typical backpack. To further increase flexibility, USWE opted to use elastic straps. The chest and waist utilize one continuous strap, so changing the chest size alters your waist adjustment. It's easy to adjust and works quite well, but with varying temperatures & conditions on such a long trip, gear selection ranged from a bulky jacket to just a single layer, with each change requiring adjustments to maintain an optimal fit.

Despite the minor irritation from harness adjustments as the days piled on, I can't complain at all about how well it carries cargo weight and controls its movement. Never did I feel uncomfortable wearing the pack, mostly forgetting about it. Even in the roughest sections that I rode, the pack didn't bounce, swing side-to-side, or ride up in the front. From riding jackets, chest protectors and armored base layers, to a riding buddy wearing a Leatt neck brace, no gear incompatibility issues noted. Once adjusted property, the USWE Core 25 is a solid performer.

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If you spring for the optional 3L Shape Shift hydration bladder, the pack offers a dedicated pouch and Velcro loop to maintain its placement. The bladder design offers a wide-mouth opening for easy filling & cleaning and a non-insulated drink tube. There is no thermal layer between rider and pack to keep fluids cold, but I never experienced water much warmer than standard tap water. If the pack is already stuffed, I found it easiest to fill the bladder while it's installed. The bite valve is fixed at a 45 degrees, which can be tight for some ADV/dual sport helmets with shorter chin bars,  but was never an issue with my off-road lids. For quick sips in technical terrain the flow was great, reducing time spent sucking on a straw instead of breathing heavily.  An insulated tube and a 90 degree bite valve would add great value to an already premium priced bladder.

For anyone who has minimal storage on the bike, the Core 25 includes a zippered molded tool case. It's sized to accommodate a trail sized tire iron and other basic hand tools, but limited to the essentials. However, I found it more useful to keep my electronics a bit safer. The pack has a buckled strap to hold the tool case in place in the outer most pocket. Overall the pack is shaped thin and long, better for several smaller items. I typically use my backpack for several smaller items anyway: first aid kit, various electronics, toiletries, sunglasses and other personal care items are on the top of my list to stash in a back pack. While internal organization didn't seem to be a top priority for USWE, I was still able to find items that I needed in a reasonable amount of time.

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The handy cell phone pouch is a new to me feature that I no longer want to live without. Its location allows for a natural reach and can be securely mounted on either shoulder. The pouch is generously sized both in height and width to accommodate the latest phones and many point and shoot cameras. I travel with both a Google Pixel 3a and a Kyocera Duraforce phone and both fit in the pouch nicely. The pouch is not rated as weatherproof, but riding in several days of downpours didn't affect my phones. But, for added protection on days of steady rain, I put them inside a ziplock plastic bag. For the Core 25 pack as a whole, even the rainiest of days wasn't enough to penetrate the material enough to have any negative effects on my gear & supplies.

On the front of the pack there are multiple mounting loops oriented both vertically and horizontally.  The horizontal loops were a good location to mount my Garmin inReach Satellite Communicator.  I was happy to have different loop orientations and locations, as the highest loops caused my helmet and inReach to make contact.

Durability

Any failures to report after 80 consecutive ride days and over 10,000 miles? Nope. From extremely dusty to soaking wet conditions, all the zippers continued to function well. No get-offs nor a fully-loaded Africa Twin falling off its kickstand damaged the packs shell. The hydration bladder never leaked at the fill point nor the from the bite valve. Aside from being dirty, its performance was maintained. I am a little worried about the long-term retention of the elastic in the body harness, but so far so good.

Pros: 

  • Comfortable, even for longer days
  • Harness is highly effective at carrying weight & controlling movement
  • Good water resistance
  • Very useful phone pouch
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Strap adjustments needed for optimal fit when wearing layers
     

Overall Impressions

The heart of the USWE Core25 is its harness and while they didn't find the solution to gravity, I did forget that I was wearing it for much of my trip. Even in rougher terrain, the pack didn't get in my way or detract from the experience. While the USWE marketing term "No Dancing Monkey" is a little cutesy, it's a legit claim.

But, there is no getting around that wearing a riding backpack for many days straight and many hours at a time will cause some level of fatigue. For a trip of this length, it's best to keep weight being carried by your torso to an absolute minimum. In fact, for motorcycle travel, I'd opt for the smallest wearable pack that you can get away with. That said, the USWE Core25 certainly will pull travel duty, but I think that it's ideal for off-road focused dual sport riders who need the extra capacity, for say a weekend trip.

I really put the USWE Core25 through its paces on my bucket-list ride across America and it delivered on USWE's claims. I'm definitely looking forward to more riding adventures and the Core25 will undoubtedly be a part.

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