By Vernon Felton

The guys at Mission Workshop are currently beating the snot out of some of their latest gear in what has to be the coolest R&D protocol ever devised; to wit, they’re field testing the stuff while racing the Trans-Provence enduro and whilst flogging themselves in massive rides across the alps.

Someone at Mission has a very cool boss.

Here, in fact, is a picture of what the guys from Mission are giving a good thrashing to, over in Europe.

It must have been hell stuffing all this into a suitcase and getting it under that 50-pound weight limit at the airport. If you look closely, you can spy some upcoming Mission Workshop goodies tucked in between the swank bikes and gear.

I had a chance to get up close and personal with one item in particular–Mission Workshop’s upcoming Acre- Series Trail Pack. It’s a hydration-compatible pack (you can stick a bladder in the thing…I used a CamelBak bladder during my outing) that is built to be absolutely bomber. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is made right here in the United States. Nice.

*Hydration compatible
*Waterproof construction
*Taped zippers
*Made in the USA
*Lifetime warranty
*Included tool pouch
*Smart pockets aplenty
*Ventilated backing and straps
*Burly hardware (YKK zippers, etc.)

I took the pack out for a spin. This being the peak of summer in Western Washington, we still got pissed on righteously by Mother Nature. Which sort of sucked, but also allowed me to verify that the pack is as watertight as a whale’s bung hole. All of my contents were perfectly dry despite a decent drenching. I was impressed by the excellent fit and the over-the-top ruggedness of the new pack. Sadly, I had to hand the pack over at the end of the day so that it could be subjected to prolonged cruelty on the Continent, but I came away thinking that the time Mission Workshop has spent sweating the little details will probably pay off in a pretty stellar piece of equipment.

Look for a long-term review in the future (that is, when we can pry a final version out of Mission’s hands and give it a good drubbing of our own).