For the seriously packing commuter or weekend adventurer, the Joe Rocket Blaster Max Backpack has you covered.I’ve been hauling clothes, food, a laptop, and a variety of other paraphernalia to and from work for the past nine years, so I’ve been through a lot of backpacks. Inevitably, I run into occasions where that one extra item I want to carry doesn’t fit. That hasn’t yet happened with the Joe Rocket Blaster Max.
With a right-triangle shaped design, the voluminous Blaster Max has an impressive carrying capacity. There are nine external zippered pockets of varying sizes that I’ve designated for specific items I carry every day.It’s easy to get to any one of them without digging into the vast interior, and I know exactly where to find my sunscreen, sunglasses, phone, charging cables, and other small items. The zippers are heavy duty, slide super smoothly, and have good-sized pulls that are easy to operate with gloved hands.The zippered compartment at the bottom of the Blaster Max contains a helmet sling that pulls out and wraps over your helmet. It secures to the back of the pack via adjustable straps with two plastic side-release buckles and a metal bolt clip. I’ve fit an Arai Signet-X in, without issue, as well as an HJC RPHA 11 Pro. The helmet will not fall out, but the fit is casual.The Blaster Max’ spacious interior has a hook-and-loop secured pocket at the back of the pack for your laptop, and a small zippered ‘media pocket’ at the top of the pack where you can stash your smartphone or iPod. An audio port allows me to fish a pair of ear buds up to my helmet.Two zippers open from the top and run down each side of the Blaster Max pack, making it easy to fill the large cavity. Because of its unique shape, a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home is a no-brainer; a half-gallon of milk easily sits securely upright.Built of rugged polyester with a dobby weave that has a perforated look, the Joe Rocket Blaster Max is ready for my daily abuse. The shoulder straps are nicely padded and are secured across the front at the chest and waist. The former is height adjustable; the latter has wide pads at the sides.There are also two wide padded strips running down the back of the Blaster Max backpack. They add comfort and keep the backpack from laying completely on your back, so a bit of air can circulate. Finally, there are two reflective panels on the shoulder straps to create some nighttime visibility.The Joe Rocket Blaster Max is a large backpack, so even with the shoulder straps at their shortest adjustment, it is a bit long on my 5’ 6” frame. Because of its length, if I’m riding an upright bike with a stepped passenger pillion, the Blaster Max is a bit awkward.It ends up sitting on the raised seat, which takes weight off the pack and leaves the shoulder straps draping a bit loose on my shoulders. While the pack is in no danger of falling off, it’s a less secure feeling. On any bike with a slightly lean-forward riding position, a flat seat, or a solo seat, this isn’t an issue at my height.What makes the Joe Rocket Blaster Max one of the most comfortable backpacks I’ve carried, especially when it’s loaded to the max, is its shape. Most of the weight is distributed in the bottom, and it gets lighter/smaller toward the top.The Blaster Max is well thought out and extremely functional. Instead of simply being large, the space is parceled out into useful sizes and shapes—all easily accessible. My one complaint is there is no D-ring for attaching a key clip—a surprising omission.Not for the casual toting rider, the Joe Rocket Blaster Max is ready for serious hauling without dragging you down or wearing you out.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!