Shimano is not to be taken lightly when they say they have designed the ultimate hydration pack for cycling. The brand new Shimano Unzen 6L with 2L bladder is packed with many innovative features that any level of rider can surely put to use. In fact, Shimano has partnered with the well-known manufacturer Hydrapak to ensure ease of use and durability, without burning a hole in your pocket.
One of the most innovative features is the introduction of the X-Harness strapping system. When adjusted properly, the X-Harness feels secure AND comfortable. Shimano also incorporated their Accu3D technology as seen throughout their clothing line. The elastic used in the stretchable fabric allows the pack to expand and follow the contours of your body. Combined with Shimano’s new X-Harness, you truly feel like the pack is a part of your body, and not a part on your body.
Some basic features you may overlook when shopping for a hydration pack are loop zipper pulls for easy usage, a felt lined “valuables” pocket (cell phone, GPS device, etc.), and an elastic waist pocket for food, gels, money, or whatever else you may need. The waist pocket is only really accessible while the pack is on, however, they are in the perfect location to grab on the go. The bladder itself is reversible, durable, and easy to clean. The shoulder straps have a dual hydration port and holds your tube conveniently on the buckle of the X-Harness. There is also an extra strap for carrying body armor or a helmet, and the pack is lined with reflective strips that shine in the dark. And finally, the weight of the unit is an astonishing 678 grams unloaded.
Overall, the Shimano Unzen 2L hydration pack is extremely comfortable and designed with the avid cycling in mind. It may be the most aerodynamic and well thought out hydration pack we have tried to date. It has tons of storage that is easily accessible, and when loaded, it fell balanced and secure. This pack offers a freedom of movement unlike any other popular brand currently on the market. Likewise, there are no annoying or excess straps to contend with. This pack is great for the aggressive, off-road, cyclist but can definitely be used just cruising around town on a nice day.
Some riders were worried that because the pack almost became a part of your body, there was sure to be a sweaty ride ahead. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was anatomically ventilated to allow for the release of any moisture build up. We will surely put this feature to the test on our follow-up ride and review in the forthcoming weeks. Keep an eye out for what’s to come!