Yesterday Grannygear told you about the Shimano Hotaka hydration pack, (see here), and today it’s my turn to tell you about another Shimano pack…..

Shimano Rokko 16 hydration pack

Shimano Rokko 16 hydration pack

Shimano Rokko 16 Hydration Pack: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted

From the Shimano website for the line of Lifestyle cycling bags, including the Rokko 16

Overlooking the mighty Osaka-Kobe conurbation in western Japan, the Rokko mountain range offers locals a haven of greenery and natural beauty. This convergence of urban and natural spaces is what inspired Shimano to create the ROKKO cycling bag collection. Able to handle weekend rides in the hills as well as weekday jaunts in the city, a ROKKO bag is the ultimate all-rounder. Shimano designed it with a three-dimensional body fit for maximum stability and uncompromised off-road riding. Just remember to wipe off the mud when you get off the trail and head downtown.

Wait a minute…… conurbation?!! Can you even say that word in polite company? Turns out that you can. According to the “inner-googles”, it means “an extended urban area, typically consisting of several towns merging with the suburbs of one or more cities.”  Whew! 🙂

You know what? That sounds a bit like where I live. So the Rokko 16 seemed to be right up my alley. A pack for commuting and for off roading. An “all arounder”. I liked the sound of that. At 16L it wasn’t going to be too big, and with a hydration pack sleeve, it wasn’t going to be limited to just running errands to the convenience store and back. When I unboxed it, I was immediately struck by its strong resemblance to another hydration pack, the Osprey Raptor 10, (reviewed here), and that is a pack that I really have liked. Although the Rokko is listed at 16L, it’s hard to see where the extra 6 liters is over the Osprey pack. To my eyes, they looked to be very similar in size and overall shape.  Maybe the Rokko was a bit wider.

For pockets there are only three zippered enclosures: The main “marsupial” pouch which is also the main access for the hydration sleeve, a topside pocket that is lined, presumably for eyewear, and the bottom-most pocket, which features a key clip. There are two, elastic topped mesh pockets on the sides for small items. I wouldn’t probably put anything in there too valuable though, since the top doesn’t close securely. Inside there are sleeves and places to organize a few tools or smaller items.

The feature list of the Rokko is short and sweet:

  • Hydration System Compatible
  • Mesh Side Pockets
  • Light-Attachment Loop
  • Reflective Elements
  • Front Pocket With Key Holder
  • Waist Belt For Added Stability












The Rokko is a well made pack, and it looks sharp in the Ash Black colorway I received with blue highlights.  (There is also a “reverse” scheme in “Lightning Blue” available in 2014 as well.) I put in the Hydrapak 100 oz bladder in the sleeve full of water and much like Grannygear, I found that the “bloated sausage shape” it took on really intruded in on the interior space of the large main compartment. To make matters worse, this sleeve is in the same basic area as the rest of the main storage, so with no structure to “contain” the bladder, you suffer with the loss of useable space for other stuff. This was most apparent when trying to reach into the bottom of the pack for something. The constriction in the mid-section from the full bladder making getting to the bottom more frustrating than it need be. Unlike Grannygear though, I found wearing the pack to be very comfortable. In fact, it disappears on your back and in doing that  it has become one of the most comfortable packs I have tried.


Things I Liked:

  • Appearance: This pack looks nice with no blazing colors or weird, outstanding graphics. Sometimes subtle is good.
  • Fit: The straps are all very comfortable, adjustable, and easy to operate.
  • Hydration Bladder: Besides the bloated shape when carrying a full load, the bladder works great, the bite valve is okay, and it is a snap to clean out.
  • Construction: This pack is very well made and everything fits and functions at a high level.

Things I didn’t Like or Things I Found Odd:

  • With that big, wide waist belt, they didn’t put in any wing pockets? (Urban commuters would use those, I would think, and I love them for mtb.)
  • The blinkie light strap is on the bottom of the pack. Really? This was very odd.
  • The aforementioned intrusion of the bladder into the main compartment. It reduces the 16L capacity down to something less than 10L of useable space. Maybe less.
  • I’m not a huge fan of the shared space for the bladder and storage. Yes- there is a divider, but I prefer a totally separate sleeve to prevent things from getting into the bladder area and potentially puncturing it.

While the fit and wearability of this pack is tops for me, I found the functionality and practical usage of this pack to be limited by strange design choices. If Shimano can sort these out, and keep the feel of this pack while wearing it at the fine level it is now, they would be on to something. Until then, it is just a so-so choice in a sea of hydration packs.

Note: Shimano sent over this pack at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.