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Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW

Small volume (1600 ci, 26 L) adventure racing pack that is ideal for biking and adequate for hiking.

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by Doug Johnson | 2006-12-19 03:00:00-07

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW


The Wingnut Adventure 2006 is a pack designed for adventure racing. Low slung and centering weight on the hips, it is ideal as a cycling pack and pretty good for hiking and backpacking. With a high-capacity integrated hydration system, multiple pockets, and tough, waterproof materials, this pack is ready for multi-sport abuse.

What’s Good

  • The low-slung Lowrider harness sits on the hips, making it stellar for cycling
  • Truly a multi-sport pack - especially for adventure racing
  • Constructed of super-tough Dimension-Polyant fabrics
  • Padded mesh backpanels allow for airflow
  • Separate bladder pocket makes refilling bladders quick and easy
  • Sidewing pockets are spacious and put more weight on the sides of the hips
  • Very water resistant with waterproof fabric and zippers

What’s Not So Good

  • The low-slung Lowrider harness is less comfortable for hiking than cycling
  • When Sidewing pockets are full, they affect arm swing somewhat when using trekking poles
  • Optional outside pocket gets in the way of the main mesh pocket
  • Not the lightest at 25 ounces for a 1600 cubic inch pack



Wingnut Adventure 2006


Frameless, panel-loading with integrated Sidewings


1600 ci (26.2 L)


Measured weight: 25.0 oz (0.71 kg); manufacturer’s specification 22.0 oz (0.62 kg)


Dimension-Polyant X-Pac: a three-layer laminated, waterproof, tear and abrasion resistant polyester and nylon fabric


Top loading with separate zipped bladder pocket, waterproof zippers, compression lacing system, 1 front and 2 side mesh pockets, Sidewings zippered side pockets, Lowrider harness system, 4 hydration ports, integrated pocket and radio attachment point on the shoulder straps

  Volume To Weight Ratio

64.0 ci/oz (based on 1600 ci and a measured weight of 25.0 oz, without options)

  Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity

Hiking: 20 pounds (9.1 kg), cycling: 25 pounds (11.3 kg) estimated maximum comfortable load an average person can carry all day in this pack

  Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio

12.8 (based on a 20 lb load and measured weight of 1.56 lb)




Mobile Pack (included in cost of pack): clips onto rear of pack, Micro XY add-on pocket $14, optional delrin rod for additional support available


The Wingnut Adventure 2006 is a pack designed for adventure racing where you are as likely to be on a bike as hiking or running. While typical hiking packs ride too high for cycling, the Adventure 2006 features the Lowrider harness system which allows it to be adjusted to mid-back for hiking or lowered to the hips for cycling.

To fully test this pack in both sports, I used it for ultralight backpacking trips as well as extended mountain biking and short runs. The real test of the pack came when mountain bike touring the 81 mile North Umpqua Trail in Oregon, which included highly technical mountain biking and many extended hike-a-bike sections.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 1
The Lowrider harness system sits lower than most packs for hiking (left) and drops below the hips for cycling (right).

The Adventure 2006 is ideal when cycling. By centering the weight on the hips and away from the head and helmet, it stays completely out of the way, even when riding very technical steep rocky sections. When used for hiking, the Lowrider harness can be adjusted to make the pack ride higher on the back - much better for upright backpacking. When adjusted to its highest setting though, the shoulder straps are pulled somewhat together, causing some minor pinching at the shoulders. To remedy this, I adjusted the pack about one inch below its maximum setting but this did put the pack a little lower than is ideal for hiking. The compromise made it the ultimate mountain bike pack, a great choice for adventure racing or hike-a-bikes, but not ideal for backpacking-only.

When running, the pack stays centered and doesn’t move around much and the compression system keeps the load tight against your back.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 2
At its maximum height adjustment, the shoulder straps pinch slightly at the shoulders. By lowering it about an inch, the problem disappears.

The Wingnut Adventure 2006 is a panel-loading pack. The main compartment is large enough for a low-volume sleeping bag, food, and clothes for a multi-day trip or race. A separate zippered hydration pouch that is accessible from the outside of the pack makes for quick water refills. The entire pack is constructed out of Dimension-Polyant X-Pac fabric which is waterproof, lightweight, and extremely durable. Despite crashes onto rocks, the pack shows no wear at all. The waterproof fabric and zippers make the pack extremely water resistant; when riding in a downpour, I put waterproof items at the top and they were only slightly damp - everything else was dry.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 3
The Adventure 2006 has multiple pockets including (gray arrows, left to right) a separate zippered hydration pocket, a panel-loading main compartment, and an outside mesh pocket with bungee system. The Sidewings (yellow arrows, left to right) have a main zippered pocket and a mesh pocket that’s accessible on the go.

The backpanel has four large padded sections that allow for some airflow to the back. The extra ventilation kept my back cooler than normal during long hikes and rides in hot weather but still provided enough cushion for 20-25 pound loads.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 4
The backpanel is comfortable and provides extra ventilation.

The Adventure 2006 is a frameless pack and I found that I could comfortably carry 20 pounds all day when hiking or 25 pounds when cycling. An optional delrin rod is available to add more load-carrying capacity but I did not test this option. The waist belt is 1.5-inch nylon with a heavy duty quick release buckle. The ¾-inch sternum strap features an ITW Nexus integrated whistle/buckle that is the same as those used in Gossamer Gear and Osprey packs - an excellent choice that takes care of a standard safety item (and an adventure racing requirement).

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 5
The Sidewings are large zippered hip pockets that also include mesh pockets that are accessible on the go. (Notice the tent poles tucked behind the pockets.)

The Wingnut pack features a wide variety of storage options. A front mesh pocket is large enough for a self-inflating sleeping pad and clothes, the external bungee system can easily accommodate jackets, a helmet and other items, and a bottom flap guarantees that larger items won’t fall out. An additional pocket on the left shoulder strap fits an energy bar or two energy gel packets while the right shoulder strap has a slot and grommet designed for a two-way radio. While on a three-day mountain bike tour, I used a Motorola radio constantly and it never fell out of the slot, even during a nasty crash.

A unique element of the Adventure 2006 is the Sidewings, which are large lumbar pockets. The Sidewings can easily accommodate a first aid kit, a handful of energy bars, or a 0.5 liter mini-kettle. Side entry mesh pockets with one-handed adjusters are also found on the Sidewings and can be easily accessed without removing the pack. The Sidewings are only sewn to the main pack in one vertical seam, allowing the wings to better contour to the hips and additional items to be tucked behind them. The Sidewings focus this extra weight on the middle of the hips while allowing a full range of movement.

A downside of the Sidewings is that my arms occasionally brushed them when using trekking poles. However, this was merely annoying and only slightly affected arm swing.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 6
Evel Johnson contemplating his next daring record-setting move (left). Despite having four hydration ports, I typically ran the hose up through the zipper for easier refills on the trail.

Being an adventure racing pack, extra attention was paid to the hydration system. The Wingnut pack has a large outside pocket that easily holds a full 3-liter hydration bladder (not included). It has a clip at the top to keep the bladder upright and has a total of four ports for the drinking tube. Two of the ports are along the side of the pack, allowing the tube to be fed up the shoulder strap and avoid the need for a 90 degree bite valve. Two upper ports allow for traditional over the top tube routing on either side. Despite all of these options, I found that it was easier to refill my Platypus bladder with a non-removable hose by feeding the hose out of the zipper of the hydration pocket so I didn’t have to reroute the hose each time. Used this way, the system was excellent for quick refills along the trail.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 7
The included Mobile Pack gives an additional external pocket but blocks the front mesh pocket.

The Wingnut pack comes with a removable Mobile Pack that attaches above the outside mesh pocket. This pack offers additional storage and helps to compress the top of the pack. However, it also limits access to the large mesh pocket and has to be unclipped to fully unzip the main pocket; I didn’t use the Mobile Pack much during testing.

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW - 8
The Adventure 2006 is a stellar cycling pack that doubles as a usable hiking pack. The combination makes it an excellent choice for adventure racing.

At $130 for a pack of this quality, the Adventure 2006 is an excellent value that will last through many races or adventures.

What’s Unique

The Wingnut Adventure 2006 is a very unique pack. While most adventure racing packs sit high like backpacking packs, the Adventure 2006 can be adjusted to sit very low. This makes it ideal for cycling, especially in technical terrain, while still being comfortable for use when hiking or running. It is extremely durable, has a multitude of usable pockets, and has a well thought-out hydration system.

Recommendations for Improvement

I can offer the following recommendations for improving the Wingnut Adventure 2006:

  • Change the attachment points for the suspension system to the shoulder straps to increase comfort when using the pack at its maximum height.
  • Look carefully at the pack to eliminate unnecessary weight. Lightening items such as the attachment points for the Mobile pack, a few rarely-needed attachment points, and heavy nylon webbing behind the Sidewings could drop a few ounces off of the weight.
  • Enlarge the hydration ports so it’s easier to remove and replace the hydration tubing.


"Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW," by Doug Johnson . (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2006-12-19 03:00:00-07.


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Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW on 12/19/2006 22:50:15 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Wingnut Adventure 2006 Backpack REVIEW on 01/02/2007 23:09:03 MST Print View

Additional info from Scott at Wingnut:

"2 points; side wings are patent pending and the mobile pack can be worn on the sternum strap or the waist belt."

Doug Johnson