USWE pronounced you-swee is a Swedish company specializing in outdoor-oriented packs. I had the opportunity to check out their Airborne 3 in “crazy yellow”. USWE packs are designed to be “bounce-free action packs.” This technology is achieved by a patented 4 point harness. According to their website, the Airborne 3 is intended for biking, running, and motocross.
The Airborne 3 is a 1.5-liter minimalist pack. The pack came with a detachable pouch and an adapter kit for motocross helmet hydration. The detachable pouch snaps into the lower part of the pack and can hold a cell phone and set of keys, but not much else. To be honest I was skeptical of the pack’s harness system as most of the packs I have owned have had conventional shoulder straps with cross straps to add extra support. This patented four-point harness is what makes USWE different from the rest. The straps themselves have an elastic profile with the ability to tighten via Velcro. The center point buckle is situated in the lower center chest and is button engaged and released.
I used the Airborne 3 on a five-mile cyclocross ride in the Whipple Creek recreation area located in Ridgefield, Washington. Since the pack did not come with a hydration bladder I used my own from a different hydration pack which had a 1.5-liter capacity. The bladder compartment has a hard backing that helps keeps the pack’s form which, is another feature I am not accustomed to in hydration sports packs. This made the insertion of a full bladder a bit difficult as I had to shimmy it in from side to side. Feeding the bladder hose into the shoulder straps was simple. The line is inserted through the pack and is then adjusted and secured with Velcro making it readily accessible during the ride.
The adjusting did take a bit of getting used to as again, I’m accustomed to a shoulder and cross-strap system. Once on the bike, I was very impressed as to how well the pack kept from moving and conformed to my body while shifting body weight on the bike. It performed extremely well on rollers and on the steep downhills where most packs would jostle up and down making it difficult to counterbalance the bike. I was most impressed with this pack during the dismounting of the bike and running up hills. The ability to swing the bike over my shoulder and run it up a hill was very impressive. The transition from trail to over the shoulder was seamless. There was no adjusting over the shoulder or over-rotating to adjust for a pack (huge bonus).
In conclusion, this pack exceeded my expectations. This pack stayed secured on my back, ventilated extremely well (midday temps in the high 40’s). The pack conforms very well to the back and torso area making it ideal for running as well.
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