It’s a little funny that Ortlieb, maker of panniers and bikepacking bags that are intended to get gear off our backs and onto our bikes, also offers backpacks. Ortlieb released its Atrack line of waterproof “active travel” backpacks last year. The Atrack BP is its newest addition.
The Atrack BP is a 25L waterproof multisport backpack featuring design cues similar to Ortlieb’s bikepacking line. It’s got two outer mesh pockets, four zippered interior pockets, a helmet carry, and all manner of straps and daisy chains for attaching gear. A 2L hydration bladder, with a sealed port to maintain the pack’s waterproofness, is available separately.
The first thing I noticed about the BP is that the zippers are not where I expected them to be. There is, in fact, only one outer zipper, a heavy-duty waterproof unit that runs along the back panel, keeping the majority of the zipper out of the elements while you’re wearing it. This unique design means that you treat the BP sort of like a duffel bag with back straps — accessing its contents means placing it on the ground with the back panel facing up and digging through the large main compartment. It’s a little unusual, but I consider it a small price to pay for clean and dry gear.
According to Ortlieb, the Atrack BP is rated at IP67, meaning it’s waterproof up to one meter of immersion. I haven’t tried dunking it yet, but it’s so far been shrugging off the worst of western Montana’s monsoon season.
I haven’t spent enough time with the BP for a full review, but so far it seems to be made of the same high quality and attention to detail as Ortlieb’s bike products. The shoulder straps are comfortable and supportive, and they’re adjustable to suit your torso length. One major difference between the BP and the other packs in the Atrack line is the slimmed-down waist straps. I’m curious to see whether that affects the pack’s comfort with a heavier load, especially if I have to get off the bike and hike somewhere.
The Ortlieb Atrack BP will be available this summer. Look for a full review later this year.