HR Kit: Rucksack

Sweden 07 - Helicopter Ride Nikkaluokta  

This is effectively a series of day walks so a small rucksack is all that’s needed.

However I don’t think that having a 20 litre pack hanging on my shoulders for a fortnight would be comfortable, even if I could get everything in to it. So I’m using the excellent Granite Gear Vapor Trail. LB has the women’s version the Vapor Ki that has very handy zip closure side pockets at the top of it (1075 grams).

My medium pack weighs only 1056 grams and although I’ve only carried a maximum of around 14 kilos in it it’s been very comfy every time. It also expands vertically to take extra loads like food. I’d strongly recommend it.

It’s definitely worth measuring your back length and getting the correct pack. Despite being 6’2″ (1.88m) tall I actually have a medium back length. From advice I found nosing around the Internet it seems best to go for the larger size if you’re right on the border between two sizes.

Ruck Sack Covers

I always used to think of rucksack covers as being a bit, well, something that people use when they first start out and haven’t really got to grips with the gear. How wrong can you be!

What really brought it home to me was an extremely wet weekend’s wild camping, out in the Northern Welsh mountains.

My friend had a rucksack cover that was built in to her sack. Fair enough, thought I, but I wouldn’t want the weight when it wasn’t raining.

But, by the end of the weekend everything in my bag that wasn’t wrapped inside thick polythene bag liners was soaked. I put it down in a gear shop, at their insistence, and picked it up ten minutes later to discover a huge puddle that must have been well over half a litre (in other words half a kilo) spreading from it.

Whereas my friend had a sack that was wet where it touched her back but was bone dry inside. I wouldn’t ever go without some kind of cover now.

Some covers are downright heavy. But Outdoor Designs produce light ones (90 for the medium, 110 for the large) and Integral Designs do the lightest I’ve found at 95 grams for the large and only 75 grams for the medium. It’s also got a nice design that allows the waist belt to come through it which keeps it on well.

Stuff Sacks

Because the Vapor Trail has no lid (though one is available) I keep things that I want to hand in a couple of small stuff sacks in one of the water bottle pockets of the pack. Things like sunblock, GPS, torch.

I’ve found that Granite Gear Air Bags are very light, tough and quite water resistant. They’re also translucent which helps in finding which bag something is in.

I keep the draw cords clipped to the side compression strap of the sack using miniature karabiners (3 grams each).


2 Replies to “HR Kit: Rucksack”

  1. Blimey – talk about a comprehensive post
    I’d agree about the rucksack cover. You can lay the sack down on wet ground without letting that unseen puddle soak thru the fabric. And there’s always the ability to pull the cover over the rucksack, and tuck away flapping straps, therebye protecting it from airport baggage handlers

  2. Yeah I sometimes find it rather hard to stop once I get writing! ;)

    And although I could just say “I do this, it works” I’d rather put what led me to do that in the first place… which can take a while, both for me to say and for me to get to where I end up!

    Hope it’s not putting anyone off reading it. (The spambots obviously appreciated it – but I’ve deleted all their posts now)

    Rucksack covers are a surprisingly divisive subject. The one thing I didn’t say is that for full winter conditions I wouldn’t use one. I doubt it would even stay on the pack across the Cairngorm Plateau! ;)

    Hadn’t thought of using it as a “flight bag” – but I doubt the silnylon ones would survive that so I think I’ll leave that to the heavier graded ones.

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