The Reactor is a great wee pack. Its been with me on the bike on most rides since it appeared and over the Kilpatricks on trail runs and bimbles so many times it knows the way home on it’s own.
The fit on my back and stable carry are good enough that any wee niggles are put in a box and kept under the bed. The harness is low profile, minimal padding, but it molds to your shape. The hip fins are wide, so they too mold to your shape and the large contact area adds to the stability when your moving. The mesh pockets on the hip fins are roomy and very handy. All packs should have these, there’s just no excuse not to.
There’s two zipped compartments, one main with a bladder sleeve and one smaller. Then you have an external compression pocket that takes a helmet. And not in a jam-in, hope it stay there way. It’s well proportioned even for my size large Giro Xen. The compression straps work for securing the helmet and also for cinching in the pack.
Niggles. Does in need that smaller zipped pocket? Not really, it adds weight and it’s awkward to access because of the compression straps. An inner mesh pocket in the main compartment would do fine. The side mesh/bottle pockets are a little awkward to get bottles in and out, which of course is no big deal if you’re a bladder sooker.
There’s lots of nice detailing. Easily gripped zip-pulls on reversed zips (lessens abrasion on clothing and skin), the chest strap with it’s press stud and hypalon attachment, a side fastening waist buckle that won’t annoy your soft underbelly if you’re hunched over the handlebars all day and a nice big reflective stripe that won’t get obscured by kit. Magic.
The Iso is kind of the Reactor’s big brother (or sister, do packs have gender?). It has a very similar layout with a greater carrying capacity and some extra features.
The harness is similar although it’s a little more padded and the shoulder straps are attached by hypalon fillets that give it flexibility and allow a great range of body movment. Also on the back padding is a wee zipped window that allows access to your hydration bladder for easly refilling. Always a hassle in a full pack.
The compression and pocket arrangements are similar, although the helmet pocket has two zipped gussets to allow extra expansion. I don’t know if they’re really necessary, I’d save weight and ditch the zips. The second pocket on the Iso is easier to use than on the Reactor as the straps don’t cover it so much.
There’s other wee bits and pieces as well, drains holes at the bottom of the pack which I like and a wee compression bungee that seems a bit superfluous.
It’s been more of a lightweight day pack the Iso, although it’s been on the bike as well. I think I’ll use if for winter biking as it’ll take the extra kit but still be movement friendly and stable.
The Gregory packs have been very interesting for me to use. I love the way they carry, the comfort is spot on. But they’ve each got these wee things on them that need tweaks.
But it always comes down to performance for me. Shoes have to fit regardless of brand, the hood on a waterproof has to work regardless of fabric and a pack has to fit and carry well, regardless of anything.