The USWE Flow 16 is a mountain biking pack that includes a back protector plate and the Bounce free No Dancing Monkey™ 2.0 system. The Flow series comes in both 16 and 25 liter options. For this review I have ridden all over the PNW, including a couple 30+ mile full day rides in Bend OR (in sun and snow).
About the USWE Flow 16
The USWE Flow 16 is an all mountain backpack that is pretty much good for any kind of riding style, including the bigger hit lines Enduro riders like, thanks to the CE-Certified full back protector.
The pack has multiple compartments that include:
- Large compartment for bladder, and other larger items, like jackets, pants, etc.
- Small sunglasses compartment with soft material.
- Medium organizer compartment for food, repair kit, spare tubes, etc.
- Helmet carrier (or stuff pouch) with adjustable sizing straps
There are also two small hip belt pockets that are great for small snacks, keys, and/or a bike multi-tool.
- Useful compression straps that allow you to feel like your ridding with a smaller pack when unloaded.
- Rain cover (which I haven’t tried yet).
- LED light attachment points.
- Reflectivity on pack for low light conditions.
Highlights of the USWE Flow 16
The biggest standout feature of the Flow 16 is the “Bounce free No Dancing Monkey™ 2.0 + Snug-Me harness system”. If you’ve ridden with other mountain bike backpacks… this USWE harness system will stand out to you immediately! It’s amazingly comfortable, and doesn’t bounce around no matter how hard you ride or fly off jumps.
Because the harness system is so comfortable the pack feels like it’s hugging you. It’s so comfortable that I ride with this pack on even the shortest rides. The compression straps allow you to minimize the packs size when it’s not loaded up, making it feel smaller than it is.
One of the reasons the harness system is so comfortable is because of the rider height adjustment option. They’ve made the shoulder straps adjustable to accommodate the riders height. Which, as a taller rider (6’1”), I’ve loved this flexibility, that you don’t find on other backpacks.
GoPro Mounting Option
USWE makes a VERY innovative add on action camera harness (sold separately) that attaches so effectively to the chest area of the backpack straps that you feel like it’s built into the pack straps.
This allows all of us wanna be YouTube stars to get awesome chest mounted GoPro shots without having to wear an addition chesty harness, which I appreciate SO MUCH!!!
Side note. You DO NOT have to take the action camera harness off when not using your GoPro, it looks like it’s supposed to be there either way.
Functional Hip Pouches
For some reason… most mountain bike backpack companies include non-functional hip pouches that require Gumby like flexibility to become useful. That is not the case with the USWE Flow packs. The hip pounces are accessible, large enough for 2-4 Skratch gummy packs (each), and even include a key ring tether. Which is one of my favorite convenience features.
Super Soft Sunglasses Compartment
This compartment is so soft that I toss my Smith Attack MTB glasses in there without any additional protection. They also include a functional shammy for cleaning dirty lenses that works better than most I’ve used.
Things USWE Can Improve
The things I’d like to see improved are VERY nitpicky, and in no way should deter you from buying (and loving) your own Flow backpack.
I don’t know about you… but I get REALLY dirty and sweaty when riding my mountain bike. This is partly because I like to push hard enough that I crash sometimes, and partly because I like to ride in red dirt places (like Southern Utah and Sedona). So, having bright white gear is something I try to avoid. And unfortunately both color options for the Flow packs have bright white straps. This is confusing because black or blue would have looked awesome and been less prone to looking dirty.
Key Ring Tether Length/Position
This is one of my favorite features, but I wish the lanyard was a little longer, which would make it easier to get my key detached when I’m getting back to the car. Not a big deal, but if you aren’t very flexible in your shoulders… you might have to take the pack off before detaching your keys.
Why You Should Buy this Backpack
After riding with several mountain biking backpacks, trail running backpacks, and being an overall pack junkie, this is my favorite, most comfortable backpack that I own.
I use this pack on every single ride that I take (unless I’m testing another pack). On the short after work rides, where I lock down the compression straps and get after it with only my trail repair kit. And on the long 20+ mile, variable condition, shuttle, or super cross-country days, where I load up the pack for everything the trail might throw at me.
The USWE Flow 16 handles everything I’ve thrown at it without breaking a sweat. And it’s so comfortable!!
If you are in the market for a new mountain biking backpack… I would buy this one!
All questions are welcome in the comments section below!