What is it:
The Great Divide is a 24 liter hydration pack aimed at those who carry a lot of gear, whether that be as guides or for those out in the elements on days in the saddle. The name alone is a give away to its intentions, the Great Divide race being a serious feat of endurance that runs from the mountains of Canada to Mexico. It is perhaps a little undersized for that task, but it looks to be ready for your average weekend epic and then some.
The Lezyne Great Divide pack is large enough to fit anything you'd need for an epic day, or even multiple days, in the saddle
Great Divide details:
- Aluminum spines and foam pads provide customizable back fitment
- Multiple pockets and dividers to keep items in their place
- Compression straps to hold helmet and pads securely
- 24L storage
- 3L bladder
- 1320g including bladder (1200g claimed exc bladder)
- Separate breathable bottom stash pocket
- MSRP $134.99 USD
The Great Divide features lots of storage space that has been neatly compartmentalized. It features two main sections, a large main pocket for bulky items and then the smaller front area which has many smaller pouches and dividers within to carry different items and tools. There’s the obligatory padded upper pocket too for your phone or iPod with a cable hole for headphones. The main pocket features an insulated divider and back portion to help keep your drink's bladder cool in the heat and although we haven’t tested it in a Nevada-like environment it seems to keep things at a steady temperature when out on longer rides in Scotland.
The back features foam pads covered with mesh to help provide airflow and keep it comfortable when out for more than a few hours. There are also two removable aluminum ribs which run the length of the back and can be bent and molded to fit your back well. It’s a different construction to those lighter offerings which rely heavily on compression straps to hold everything in place, but it’s a method which works well and ensures a stable pack on your back. A ventilated mesh bottom pocket gives quick access to a waterproof area and any other items you want easy access to. Multiple compression straps are useful to keep it tightly packed when you aren’t running it filled to maximum capacity, but thanks to the design are far from a necessity.
The upper padded pocket (top left) features a protected hole that allows you to run either your headphone line through or the battery cable for your lights. The Great Divide's bite valve (bottom right) is a little larger than found on most other packs, but didn't present any issues.
Different riders all have very different requirements for packs - from the bare minimum bag that holds a 1.5L drink bladder and little else for a quick blast round a short trail, to virtual expedition sized offerings for riders spending serious time in the saddle. I spent a lot of time using the Great Divide pack in early Winter on some long rides, but quickly found that I was picking it up for the shorter distances as well because it is so comfortable. The great thing about this pack is how solid it is; when empty you do notice its bulk, but as you begin to fill it this feeling disappears, effectively swallowing up gear without increasing the noticeable weight on your back. Some bags start to push away from your back when completely filled with both gear and water, and as a result roll around on your back. But thanks to the stiff back this feeling is almost non-existent with the Great Divide. It took us a little bit of playing around with the aluminum spines to get the shape just right, but once done it was something to leave and forget.
The top also tapers down heavily like on all good riding packs so that it doesn’t obstruct your movement when hanging off the back of the bike - we tried it with both an open faced Giro Xen and TLD D3 and struggled with neither. For when not riding there are clips and pouches to hold both pads and helmets. There are of course both chest and waist straps to hold the bag firm on your back. The former are adjustable for height, while the latter are wide enough to support a fair bit of weight and incorporate mesh pockets on each side for easy access to things like a trail tool or energy bars and gels. The internal pockets and dividers prevent a loose collection of tools and other detritus from rattling around at the bottom of your bag, as well as make it easier to find things too as they all fall into their individual pockets. Another nice design feature is one which will be familiar to those with camera packs and that is way the main pockets open almost completely to help find items and get to those packed near the bottom without pulling everything out. We found the protected hole in the top padded pocket to be very handy for running lights as it enables you to throw the battery pack in your bag and run the wire through the hole, keeping it separate to your drink's tube which can sometimes pull on the battery cable if running through the same opening.
A padded mesh back (left) helps to allow the air to circulate between the bag and your body. A zip lock bladder (right) lets you easily clean the bladder after use.
It may be a minor point, but we were very appreciative of the toggle style zips after a month of riding in -10C. Easy to grab a hold of with cold hands or thick gloves and thanks to their large loops, the zips themselves seemed to effectively resist ice, mud and grit to prevent jamming. It’s unlikely to be a deal maker, but the attention to detail certainly gives the impression that it’s been designed by someone who rides. One omission that we did note however, was a waterproof cover. There’s a pocket for one and while the cover itself is available as an accessory it’s something that is a noticeable and slightly irritating omission given the packs price. That said, even on the bags I own which do have one it’s rarely something that actually gets used, so it’s perhaps not going to be a big deal for the average rider.
|We used it a lot over the winter when we were carrying extra gear or when taking the camera and for this use it really excels, providing a sturdy base that doesn't move around as some lighter bags do. It's comfortable too, even when full, and resolutely refused to move around even on the roughest trails. - Alasdair MacLennan|
When it comes to the bladder, the zip lock bladder design is one that hasn’t really impressed in the past, having only really experienced it on cheaper items, but this one thwarted the best efforts to make it leak or do anything wrong. Opening slightly wider than the equivalent Camelbak means that it’s easier to clean out too (definitely not a bad thing
) when you inevitably leave it for a day or two past the point that it really, really, needed to be cleaned out. The bite valve is a little larger than on some, but as a result we encountered no problems with flow and it was easy to lock off so that it didn’t leak everywhere when in the back of the car.
Individual pockets and storage space helps to keep everything separate and easy to find. There is enough room in the Great Divide bag for pretty much any adventure.
This bag certainly isn’t going to be for everyone due to its tough build and high volume which leaves you with a pack that certainly can’t be described as featherlight, but as a result it is more than up to taking the abuse. It will always play second fiddle to the smaller bags for the shorter rides when all you’re carrying is a snack and some basic trail side tools, but for anything more we found it very easy to pick this bag up. We like its tough material and seemingly bullet proof construction. So for those riders looking for a bag they can rip down the trails with, whether on the trail bike or downhill bike, this is one to look at. Like many other Lezyne products it’s not cheap, but it is high quality and we’re yet to find any real issues in our time with it. If you’re after a large bag that’ll take some abuse then this should certainly be high on your list.
You can see Lezyne's full lineup on their website