Time for a new rucksack?6th February 2007
My Eurohike Weekender 45 rucksack is looking its age these days with a slight rip in the fabric of the hip-belt and the zip on one of the side pockets beginning to open where it shouldn’t. It was never anything but a budget model but has served me well on many a day walk since its purchase in June 2002. It should last a while longer but thoughts are emerging in my mind that I should start considering its replacement before too long.
My current weekender pack is a Karrimor Cougar 65 + 15, a heavy beast at 2.75 kg with an adjustable back system and the substantial supportive hip-belt that lugging such a thing requires. Its weight and bulk precludes its use as a daypack but informs my future choice for that use. A supportive hip-belt, absent on the Eurohike, is very good at taking weight off the shoulders and is very much seen as an asset. Weight is very much another consideration.
With the last point in mind, I been looking at lightweight options purveyed by Gregory, a quality U.S. manufacturer not as well known over here. Options from that manufacturer include their G and Z packs. The latter is quoted as being able to carry a greater weight in comfort than the former; the weight of camera equipment, transport timetable information and water do add up. My ideal choice would be a mythical “Z45”: maybe they should make one. One fly in the ointment is that Gregory do not do adjustable back systems, not necessarily a bad thing because of the weight that they add, but instead offer packs tailored to the length of your torso. Not only does the back length vary but also the pack volume as well. For example, the G pack comes in the following sizes: S (40-44 cm; 43 L), M (45-49 cm; 48 L) and L (50-54 cm; 51 L). If they offered multiple volumes per back size, that would be ideal but they don’t and they may well have good reasons for this. However, it does make pack choice a little more tricky.
Another way of looking at the choices made in the range available is that I might need to challenge myself regarding how much I carry around with me. A 45 L G pack is fine so long as I keep the weight down around 11 kg while a Z35 will carry less volume but more weight. Then, there’s the Z55 and this offers something of a compromise but I do wonder if a 55 L pack is overkill for a day walk. That said, it does offer flexibility for walking weekends without the weight of my Karrimor; it weights 1 kg less.
There are alternatives to all this from what could be considered as the more mainstream players in the U.K. rucksack market. For instance, Field and Trek do have a tempting 45 L Karrimor in their winter sale and the Lowe Alpine Walkabout 45 is also an option. Choices, choices…