High Above's Slimmer Hip Pack, Smartwool's New Kit, Giant Loop's PLB Holder, & My 2x2 Moto Rack - Across The Pond Beaver

Sep 11, 2020
by Brian Park  
Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
The Venture is available with a Fidlock bottle attachment.

Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
On...
Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
...and off.

High Above Venture Hip Pack

• Dimensions: 11" x 2" x 7'" (LxWxH)
• Fidlock pack closure
• ETC loops on top for carrying bulky stuff like a rolled jacket
• Available with Fidlock bottle and integrated base OR with standard 'Bottle Rocket' side pouch for traditional bottles
• Waterproof, durable Xpac shell & heavy duty nylon webbing
• Three interior pockets plus a weather resistant external zippered pocket
• YKK Uretek number 8 zippers for weatherproofing and durability
• Made in Seattle from almost entirely domestically sourced materials
• Available with an upgraded Fidlock waist buckle (+$15) or a Cobra waist buckle (+$30)
• Pricing: $105 USD with a single Bottle Rocket, $145 USD with the Fidlock bottle and base (inc. Fidlock waist buckle), and $15 USD for an additional Bottle Rocket
• Available mid-September, pre-orders open now
More Information

Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
Main compartment.
Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
Weatherproof outer pocket.

Across The Pond Beaver High Above Cascadia Hip Pack
The standard version comes with a Bottle Rocket side pouch.

bigquotesJC Canfield from High Above has been busy designing the new Venture hip pack, which combines aspects of their minimalist Nexus pack and their larger Rad Pack into what he feels is the perfect middle ground. I've only pedaled around the alleyway with it so far, but the one-handed access is nice, and I am a fan of the overall much shallower profile than the Rad Pack. After messing around with some larger hip packs, this is about as big as I think hip packs should be, and I like that it's not as complicated as some of High Above's previous offerings.

The Fidlock version of the pack has a cool magnetic twist-locking bottle and base plate integrated into the right side of the pack. It's fairly easy to use, but I think it'll take some time before it's second nature. My main bike only has one bottle cage so it's really nice to have the option to throw a bottle on the pack for longer rides. I think I'll throw a Bottle Rocket pouch on the other side of the pack for sport beers as well.





Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Kit
Aidan's blue steel has come a long way.

Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Kit
The fabric is lighter and more breathable than you'd expect.
Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Kit
A stash pocket is a nice little detail.

Smartwool's New MTB Collection

• Men's Merino Sport 150 Mountain Biking Tee
• Available in short sleeve and 3/4 sleeve versions
• 150 g/m2 weight
• The front is 56% merino wool and 44% polyester, while the more breathable back is 54% merino and 46% polyester
• Combines the moisture management, temperature regulation, and odour resistance of merino with the durability and quick dry time of polyester
• On-seam zip pocket
• Regular fit with a longer back hem
• Short sleeve available in medium gray heather, sage heather, and deep navy colourways
• 3/4 sleeve available in light nepture blue heather, medium gray/green heather, and black/brown colourways
• Sizes S–XXL
• Available Spring 2021
• Pricing: $90 CAD for the short sleeve, $100 CAD for the 3/4 sleeve
More Information

Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Kit
Also available in a 3/4 sleeve.
Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Kit
Again with a pocket.

Across The Pond Beaver Smartwool Socks
We're fans of Smartwool riding socks too.

bigquotesIt's interesting to see Smartwool getting into the MTB game. Their initial offerings of some t-shirts and socks are pretty low key, but apparently they've got shorts and women's kits in the works for the future. Aidan has been using the tees for a month or so now and says he was surprised at how breathable they are. The backs are a very mesh-like weave, and not at all what you'd expect from a standard 150 gsm merino layer.

I've used Smartwool base layers and socks for years, so I'm excited to see what they do in the mountain bike market.





Across The Pond Beaver Giant Loop Garmin Mini Tracker Packer
Safe is sexy.

Across The Pond Beaver Giant Loop Garmin Mini Tracker Packer
Holds a Garmin InReach Mini on backpacks, hip bags, etc.
Across The Pond Beaver Giant Loop Garmin Mini Tracker Packer
Readily accessible, if a little bulky.

Giant Loop's Tracker Packer

• Rugged holster for attaching a personal locator beacon in an accessible location
• Compatible with SPOT Gen3 (plus ACR Beacon) OR Garmin inReach Mini (plus Explorer/SE devices)
• Redundant double hook-and-loop attachment system
• Includes a redundant tether to secure device to apparel or backpack
• Foam padding to absorb shock and vibration
• Elastic shock cord retainer loop for Garmin inReach Mini antenna
• Mil-spec materials and hardware
• Limited Lifetime Warranty
• Giant Loop is donating 100% of gross Tracker Packer sales during September 2020 to the Kurt Caselli Foundation
• Pricing: $39 USD
More Information

Across The Pond Beaver Giant Loop Garmin Mini Tracker Packer
Mounted on a hip pack.

bigquotesI had a little off last year that left me with a spiral fractured humerus on the side of Mount Barbour. We had a Garmin PLB along, as well as radio contact with the heli base, so search and rescue was able to long-line me off the mountain a few hours later. I'm only just starting to ride properly again, but I'm much more conscious of when I might be out of cell service and I got a Garmin InReach Mini. Hiking out would have been really, really dicey.

Giant Loop launched the Tracker Packer last summer, but this September they're donating all of the gross profits from Tracker Packers to the Kurt Caselli Foundation. The foundation helps promote motorcycle rider safety in memory of Kurt, who passed away in 2013 after colliding with a large animal during the SCORE Baja 1000.

My initial impression of the holster is that it's probably a little overbuilt for mountain biking, and you could likely find a lighter, slimmer solution. That said, it's super handy to be able to move it from bag to bag, whether I'm hiking, riding, or on my moto. It's going to live right next to the door so I grab it any time I'm going out of service, regardless of the pack I'm bringing.





Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
Levy isn't the only Pinkbike employee with a questionable motor vehicle.

Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
I had to cut my luggage rack to make it fit, but installation was super easy.
Across The Pond Beaver Fairdale Taj Bottle
Unrelated, I was stoked to get my hands on some Taj bottles too.

2x2 Cycles Mini Rack Horizontal

• Adjustable arm fits almost all bikes, with pedal holster supporting the bike's weight on the crankarm
• A variety of fork thru-axles is available to fit almost all standards
• No clamping or damaging the frame
• Loads quickly
• Solid Steel Construction
• Handcrafted in USA
• Fits a wide variety of motorcycles, mounting onto the tubular luggage rack
• Pricing: $249 USD
More Information

Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
Crankarm mounted, with options for flats or SPDs.
Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
Set up with a Boost adapter, but it can be set up for my gravel bike too.

Across The Pond Beaver 2x2 Cycles Rack
The world's nicest bike on the world's shittiest motorcycle.

bigquotesI'm not going to share too much on the 2x2 rack because I'm planning on reviewing it. I will say that it's hilarious, and since nobody else makes anything comparable, it's simultaneously the best and the worst motorcycle mounted bike rack available.

Jokes aside, I'm really enjoying this setup. Garrett Blake fabricates these out of his shop in North Carolina, and has clearly put thought into protecting the bike and minimizing the impact on the motorcycle's handling.

Taking Jabba the Putt to and from the trails almost feels like an extended part of my ride.





Across the Pond Beaver 2020






116 Comments

  • 161 2
 I’ve got one of those racks ordered for an e-bike. That way I can shuttle my real bike .
  • 5 4
 comment of the day
  • 6 2
 comment of the year
  • 9 0
 I’ve got a Tern GSD v2 on order as a family/cargo/town bike... I think I need to try this for science.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Speak to James Huang, I'm sure I've seen a picture of one of his e-cargo bikes towing a normal bike
  • 1 0
 You could easily make a rack to attach another bike on the rear of an e-bike.
  • 28 3
 100$ "merino" t-shirt that's not really merino... For this price you should be able to get an actual merino base layer. I guess people who have wasted time and money on those mixed material shirts are later the ones claiming merino doesn't work and/or is overpriced.
  • 5 3
 Yeah, Mons Royale and Icebreaker are cheaper and 84% merino.
Hell, I have a 100% merino knitted jumper that weighs over a kilo and was cheaper than those shirts. Hard pass.
  • 10 0
 Just a note that the price is CAD, so more like 60 GBP.

@riish both Mons Royale and Icebreaker's standard 150 gsm tops are $85-90 CAD. Smartwool's standard (non-bike) 150 gsm top does have less merino, but it also retails for $70 CAD.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Oh, I didn't see the CAD on the pricing, sorry. It makes a little more sense then.
  • 7 1
 For base layers, 100% (or close) merino is definitely the way to go. Great sweat management and no stink. My favs have always been the old Ibex and icebreaker. I like to wear merino year round though and the ~100% stuff by any brand I’ve tried doesn’t hold up for trail riding. Lean into one tree or catch one stick and you’ve got a gaping hole. The blends may not be quite as breathable but they just hold up better. 7mesh desperado is great and I’ll def try the Smartwool sometime when it’s on sale.
  • 4 0
 Check out Minus33. The Algonquin is a great riding shirt.
  • 4 0
 The REI brand merino shirts are 100% merino and only $70 USD. They aren't bike specific but they work great.
  • 4 1
 @Savagm: My experience has been a little different. My smartwool 100% merino baselayers hold sweat like a sponge. Honestly feels like a cotton T-shirt. I do think they are great for less aerobic, sweaty activities, than mtb though. And the no stink thing is legit.
  • 2 0
 @Savagm: I've been using Ridge Merino t-shirts (retail for $50; once or twice a year they may have a little discount if you buy two, or because it's 'black Friday' or what have you). They're about 85% merino, with the rest being synthetic, and that seems to make a good sweet spot for moisture management, longevity, ability to toss in the washer and dryer without too much shrinking, non-itchy feel, and of course the all important stink resistance. I've found Mons Royale and Icebreaker to be a little itchier, and way more liable to shrink; Adidas to be too much synthetic (ended up getting stinky), and any of 100% Merino to start tearing the way you describe. These are basically my everyday/everything layer - I've pretty much evicted cotton even for daily wear t-shirts because of these, and I no longer have a stack of nylon/polyester shirts that wick like made but start smelling like crazy after a few months. Still have and wear the oldest ones in the rotation - I've had those for well over 5 years now and they still hold up, so I'd say that's decent value.
  • 1 2
 @brianpark: So $75 USD for a shirt is better? wtf?
  • 3 0
 I like the look of the blue steel tee but find it hard to believe a 2% difference in merino to polyester ratio will be at all noticeable. Haven't tried one though.
  • 3 0
 @tremeer023: I'm thinking the fabric used on the back is of a different weave, and that's more important than the wool/poly ratio. But yeah, it was not spelled out. A photo of said back fabric would have been nice.
  • 1 0
 Sarma wool goods from Varusteleka. Great stuff and decent prices.

www.varusteleka.com/en/category/sarma/2257

I use a lot of their wool stuff for winter fat biking.
  • 8 0
 @stumphumper92: than what? Tech tees cost about that much. We’ve covered how you don’t need an expensive jersey pretty extensively over the years... we’re just reporting on a brand bringing something to market, like it’s our jobs or something. Smile
  • 1 0
 @MtbSince84: ah, that sounds right.
  • 1 0
 @Savagm: Totally spot on. Smartwool's regular tops are 100% merino, at least the one's I've been riding are.

I think most of my pics on Pinkbike are in these shirts, like this one from 2016: www.pinkbike.com/photo/14382559

Merino is a game changer. Let's leave plastic alone thanks.
  • 1 0
 @filmdrew: you're riding in jeans..
  • 2 0
 @Savagm: I wear merino shirts skiing until the armpits wear through (about 10 years) then wear them biking until the elbows blow out (1-5 years depending on how much I crash). The key is to not care that you look a bit homeless--it's merino, so you at least SMELL okay.
  • 15 0
 The best thing about the motorcycle rack is that the mtb's rear tire will act as a wheelie bar for the motorcycle!
  • 10 0
 I've got one of those 2x2 racks for my BMW GS. Works really well. I used it a bit before I got myself a car (we were a 1 car family). Drove to S.Wales (3.5 hrs) for a days riding once in the rain. Commited! But got a few looks and photos taken on the motorway Big Grin

www.pinkbike.com/photo/19378877
  • 2 0
 That is awesome!
  • 3 0
 Nice setup! I used to do the same with my Triumph Tiger. The problem is having enough lockable storage to put all the moto gear in. I switched from hard side cases to soft bags and now I'm to afraid to leave all my moto gear in them while I'm out on the bike. Definitely miss the moto/mtb days!
  • 1 0
 I nearly pulled the trigger on one, but then instead installed mounting plates to the sides of my Penguin cases on my little CB500x and then I mount one wheel on each side with a through axle, and just strap the frame across the top of the seat and boxes. It looks a little ridiculous (more than this? not sure), but I've taken it 7hrs from Portland to Southern Oregon and still managed 65mpg or so. Handling was not hampered to a great degree as it doesn't raise the bike's profile too much. Total cost about 20$ for the steel plates I bolted to the cases.
  • 6 0
 Been riding a high above hip pack for well over a year now. Ride multiple days a week and I’m super impressed. Would recommend their gear. Even if the prices are a little steep it’s worth it for the longevity.
  • 3 0
 Love my High Above pack and use it all winter. I sweat heavily so in the summer I have to switch to a solution that allows me to carry more water. It is a bit spendy but it is well built and a super local company to me which was nice.
  • 3 0
 @mtmc99: This new pack from High Above might be the one to make me switch from my Bontrager Rapid Pack.
  • 4 0
 I too am a reformed moto guy, and I had some buddies that did the bike on bike thing... it always seemed like a way to really make your make your big bike feel like shit; the weight distribution and aero impacts where like a topcase on steroids. I have the usual story of kids and time killing my motorcycle days, but it was also about fitness... if I've got a couple free hours, I need to be working my ass off, not twisting my wrist.
  • 1 0
 Friend of mine is an X pro road racer. Had this setup on his Ninjette. He traveled all over with it like that.
  • 4 0
 I looked into some of these 'Universal' motorcycle racks and I found all of them to be rather clunky and crude. I've had some custom fabricated racks put together for my last couple of adventure bikes and found that the custom route is the way to go for a much cleaner setup that doesn't affect the handling of the moto.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/19380466

www.pinkbike.com/photo/19380467
  • 1 0
 This is an amazing setup. Well done
  • 4 1
 If I still rode motorcycles I probably would have considered the rack. I was a pretty diehard rider for about 10 years before I got heavy into mountain biking. Once I got a speedy/more efficient car and kids, my motorcycle riding fizzled out and mtb took over. Could have been the best of both worlds!! Only downside to me is not being able to store gear as easily. But you're kind of already used to that as a motorcyclist.
  • 2 0
 The main problem I see with the bike rack for the bike is you are going to be parking your bike in a car park in the woods, chances of it being there when you return from your ride are slim. Even less so if it is dual sport or off road orientated, thieving a'holes love stealing them, and takes about 30seconds to put in a van. The police response will be not their problem. I have friends who have high end sports bike in their garage, which thieves walk past to get to the dirt bike.
  • 30 0
 They'd be doing me a favour.
  • 8 1
 @brianpark: hard to crash your 350 two stroke if its been stolen, saves on the collar bones
  • 2 0
 You can always lock it to something study like a post or tree with a cable or chain. Even a cable thru the spokes so it can't be rolled would help a little. It wouldn't deter a really determined thief but better than nothing.
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: have you seen what Deus Ex Machina has done with TW’s???


deuscustoms.com/bikes/model/two-up
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: I sold a TW and got a KLR650 and want the TW back! The KLR is obviously more practical for everyday use, but the TW was a hoot to blast around town on. If Yamaha made one with a little more power I’d be all over it.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Woah, that's a little harsh for the T-dub, don't ya think?
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: Wait what?
  • 1 0
 @TW80: Deus Ex Machina is a surf/Moto brand out of Australia that does some sick customs with different bikes, the link above is one of them which makes me want one.
  • 3 0
 @Endurahbrah: I love it but I also love to talk shit. Smile
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: especially in NSMB forums 10 years ago.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: I was just throwin out some self gratifying username BS! Cheers!
  • 6 0
 You should be arrested for putting those pedals on a set of eewings.
  • 3 0
 Just trying to keep an open mind. I have some fancy Syntace flats on normally.
  • 2 0
 I try to wear merino as much as possible for both performance and environmental (less plastic shed) reasons. The options are pretty limited so it’s nice to see someone else focusing on mtb a bit. I like Minus33 - based out of New Hampshire. The Algonquin is a great riding shirt.
  • 1 0
 Icebreaker had a small and limited bike range a few years ago. It was pretty nice stuff tbh
  • 2 0
 I have had my 2x2 cycles rack on a bunch of bikes and love. Moto's that have center stands on them make it much easier to load...and you do get a lot of looks when you show up somewhere with your mtb on back of your moto, love it though
  • 4 0
 The smartwool gear is guaranteed to get cooler as it develops holes within the first 3-4 washes.
  • 1 0
 Got plenty of smart wool gear, it’s great quality & washes very well. I guess you might need a new washing machine if it’s ruining your clothes!
  • 3 0
 Barry Nobles makes some racks that are worth a look as well for you motorcycle gents.

www.instagram.com/p/B8Z9PozllPd

www.instagram.com/p/CE-C-JWAgIX
  • 3 0
 That looks great! First one I've seen you don't have to remove the front wheel.. I wonder if the rack could be mounted to a sportbike.. (I've got a Buell 1125R).
  • 1 0
 I once dreamed of the moto/MTB setup but I could never wrap my head around the gear storage. Unless you ride the moto without proper gear, when you get to the trailhead you need to stash a bulky jacket/helmet at minumum, maybe boots as well. Unless you are okay just leaving that stuff hanging off the bike? Plus you've likely had to haul some MTB gear in addition to the bike so you need a backpack on as well? Curious how people are solving that conundrum, other than riding the moto to the trail in MTB gear...
  • 3 0
 Smartwool used to make really good cycling bib shorts and knickers about a decade ago.
  • 1 0
 Looking forward to see the test of the 2x2 rack. Also seems like a good option for my RadWagon electric cargo bike. Can you also review the rack on an electric cargo bike if you test it?
  • 1 0
 I would likely see a bike being shuttled by an e-bike!
  • 2 0
 I have a 2x2 on my KTM 990 Adventure and absolutely love it. Now I'm starting to wonder if it can handle the weight on an ebike.
  • 1 0
 I got some five million dollar norrona riding shorts that are the worst piece of mountain bike gear I've ever owned. Their four million dollar merino t-shirt, however, is the best shirt of all time. ya win some ya lose some
  • 3 0
 3 Beers for JC Canfield! Hip, Hip...
  • 1 0
 Why does mtb clothing look so goofy? And why do mtbikers pull their socks up like that? The bikes look awesome. The clothing not so much
  • 2 0
 Surely there is a better way to fix a bike onto the back of a motorcycle?
  • 4 0
 This thing looks a little DIY but it works well. They also do a vertical rack that keeps the back of the bike lower to the ground, but I wanted the departure angle and I'm not a fan of headtube/crown mounted racks.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: this is how a man does it

www.pinkbike.com/photo/7087237
  • 1 0
 @conv3rt: Only in 7 and a bit months.
  • 2 0
 So is it possible to do a double Wheelie with this Rack?
  • 3 0
 I miss my tw200
  • 1 0
 TW owner checking in. You can go faster on the MTB than you can on the T-dub but I will never get rid of my TW200.
  • 1 0
 $90 for a s/s shirt... foh. Throw an mtb label on it and charge 10x the price
  • 1 0
 @southern_class_co @barrynobles95 Moto bike rack is wayyy smoother and doesn’t require wheel removal!
  • 5 4
 3/4 sleeves look ill fitting, just like 3/4 pants.
  • 5 1
 Fully agree except for two things - I can wear elbow pads underneath a 3/4 sleeve and they are invisible. It is also a little more airy.
  • 1 0
 Don't you call em knickers...? We call em capris! Look is dorky
  • 1 0
 @TW80: 3/4 length knickers, well...
  • 1 0
 @iduckett: I would wear the elbow pads over my $100 merino t shirt to protect the shirt from crashes.
  • 1 0
 @TW80: "Knickers" are underwear in the UK...
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: Regretfully this is against the code. Holes and tears = battle scars of honor. This is the way.
  • 1 0
 @brian park,
Where are we getting Taj bottles from?
  • 3 0
 Fairdale Cycles!
  • 1 0
 What do I do with my arms?
  • 1 1
 3/4 sleeve AKA the t-rex cut. Idk how anyone feels comfortable wearing those in public
  • 1 0
 Wait, how can I buy a Taj water bottle? Take my money!!!
  • 1 0
 I can finally justify eewings on an alloy bike. Thank you for this.
  • 2 0
 The RAAW frame is a little bit of a porker so I tried to keep weight down overall. It was a no-carbon build.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: When are we going to see a long term review of that Raaw? How have you liked it up to this point? I am on the waiting list but not going to get one till next March.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: It's fun to throw a carbon spacer in the stack to show the guy bragging about his carbo super bike.
  • 1 0
 @dwmetalfab: Kaz already did a full review of it. I'll pull together some details in a staff ride if people are interested, but from a straight up review standpoint there's not much I'd add to what Kaz has said. Absolutely great bike.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: thanks! I saw his initial impression but there is literally only just a few reviews on the Google machine. For a bike that has to be purchased, sight unseen it would be nice to have a few others opinions.
  • 1 0
 Gotta love the original fatbike, the Yamaha TW200!!
  • 1 0
 Ride NF makes merino bike jerseys in Canada.
  • 1 0
 I'd take that mortor bike over that bike
  • 1 0
 The TW200...the thiccest moto around.
  • 1 0
 southern class co makes great racks for cruiser style bikes
  • 1 0
 and who's got time to talk about socks in 2020 what are you guys doing
  • 1 1
 Interesting looking carbon fiber rotors on that bike.
  • 1 0
 On closer look, it looks like micro holes so maybe not carbon?
  • 1 0
 @toli-ibz: trickstuff rotors I think
  • 2 0
 @loafersmate: Intend aero rotors
  • 2 0
 @Bikerdude137: prototype 223mm Intend Aero rotors that Cornelius decided not to bring to production. With the Maximas it’s... a stupid amount of power.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: what frame is that, a Madonna v2?
  • 2 0
 @BrambleLee: yep. Really enjoying it.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Man, I really want one. I'm on the notification list for the next pre-order, hoping I can make it happen...
  • 1 2
 I *always* wear Smartwool socks when riding - you just cant beat em!
@smartwool, send me free stuff for more promos. ;-)
  • 4 1
 Darn tough beats them
  • 3 0
 I gave up on SW years ago when the durability of the socks was very poor, do they hold up to repeated wear now?
  • 1 2
 @thegoodflow: not even close
  • 3 0
 @Whatajohnny: Agreed, they're not even close
  • 2 0
 @twozerosix: They used to be great (10-15 years ago?), but went through a noticeable decline in quality. I still buy 'em, along with other brands, but don't expect the same life out of them. :-(
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: well played Wink haha
  • 1 0
 I'm a huge fan of the SmartWool and Darn Tough. You can usually find good prices at Sierra Trading post. I'm glad that SW is getting into MTB clothes, maybe I'll find deals in a year?

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