“ Brand: Berghaus / Style: Daysac / Max Litres: 35 „
A comfortable rucksack that can hold everything you need for a day out in the hills is absolutely essential as any outdoor enthusiast will know. It can make the difference between a great day and a downright dreadful one. I'm please to say that this bag has accompanied me on many great days out over the past couple of years and should be joining me on many more.
I bought this bag in the sale about three years ago. Since then it has accompanied me everywhere from romping around the mountains of North Wales, on the daily walk to university stuffed full of books, folders and sandwiches, and the weekly shopping trip to Morrisons stuffed full of milk, beans and carrots.
After all this abuse (and trust me, I abuse my gear) it still looks pretty much as good as new, with minimal wear and tear, and no rips, splits or holes. This is a very sturdy bag.
Size and features
This is a reasonable sized day pack, however for anything more than a day you'll find yourself struggling for space. This bag looks like it will hold more than it does as a result of the Freeflow back system (more on this later) and I have sometimes found myself wishing for a little more space. It makes you think a little more carefully about what you take with you. Do you really need that extra jumper? The Freeflow system also means it's quite bulky and cumbersome as it sits further away from your back than a traditional rucksack.
In terms of other features it has loops for ice axes or walking poles, additional pockets on the sides and inside and outside of the lid to store smaller things in. It also features a hip belt, chest strap and the all important Freeflow back panel. Stashed away in the lid is a rain cover for when the inevitable happens.
This rucksack features Berhaus's Freeflow system which means that the main body of the bag is held slightly away from you, with a mesh screen coming into contact with your back. This means air can circulate around your back and stops you getting sweaty. It also means that if you pack your bag badly with hard, pointy things at the back you don't have to spend the whole day writing in pain as a shoe digs itself deeper and deeper into your spine. The straps are soft and also ventilated, adding to the comfort.
The problems I have with the fit of the bag are twofold. Firstly, I find that it's too short for me. At about 6 foot 4 tall, the hip belt hangs above my hips meaning that it doesn't take weight as effectively as it should. I have found this with many different rucksacks I've owned so it's not a problem unique to this rucksack.
The other issue, which to an extent goes hand in hand with the previous one, is the tightening of the hip belt. It's easy to adjust, but being quite skinny I find that I can't quite tighten it enough to sit snugly. If it hip belt was on my hips this would be less of an issue.
As I have mentioned above, this bag have suffered several years of regular abuse. I spend about 6 months working in North Wales and this bag went out in the hills with me practically every day and has been thrown onto rocks, sat on and used to support my bouldering mat on very rough rocks. It was also the bag I used for university and the weekly shop, so it's been very well used. There's little visible wear and tear however, and I envisage it will carry on performing for years to come.
This bag costs around £50, perhaps a little less. This is perhaps a little pricier than other similar sized bags available however having had several year of use I would happily pay this price again. You're paying for bomb proof materials and study constructions. Other cheaper bags (anything by Karrimor for example) are prone to the stitching coming apart and material ripping. You buy cheap, you buy twice.
In conclusion I would say that this is a great bag for the hills and town alike, and so long as you're not too tall it is comfortable to wear. I would recommend trying it with some weight in the shop and check all the straps fit you properly. By buying one of these bags you're buying a product that will last for many years and won't need replacing every couple of months. Highly recommended!
I'm very into the outdoor world & there are some basics that you need to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Now it might sound odd that a rucksack can make a trip enjoyable, I guess what is more factual is that a rucksack can make a trip less enjoyable!
I strongly believe in always taking certain items up into the mountains - no matter what time of year & what the weather is like. Chances are then that I will have a pretty full pack which is quite weighty. It is therefore for me imperative that the load sits comfortably on my back, is well supported and doesn't move around all over the place. If you are scrambling up a scree slope the last thing you want is your rucksack to be effecting your balance. Rucksacks to me are a very personal piece of equipment and no one rucksack is suitable for everyone; however the freeflow 35 is very suitable for me! Most of the time I don't notice it is there & to me that is the absolute ideal. To aid comfort on a hot day this range or rucksacks has an open back system - that means that the frame sits against your back, then there is space, then there is the actual body of the rucksack. It certainly doesn't stop a sweaty back, but it does let the air circulate through.
As you would expect from a rucksack of this caliber it has all the adjustment straps you need; easy to use thick waist strap, chest strap & adjustable shoulder straps. There are several straps on the outside of the pack to hold walking sticks etc and there is also a built in waterproof cover for when it doesn't stop raining.
While Berghaus and other manufactureres may be hailing this as a revolutionary new backsystem, it actually bears a more than passing resemblance to the external framed, low-slung packs of my fathers day. The principle is the same - create an Airspace between the sac and your back, and minimise the degree of sweating. Simple, but it works. I've tried a number of other daysacs which use the same principle, but the Freeflow is by far the best, in terms of fit and comfort. It has a huge padded hip belt to add to the comfort levels, although some may think this a little extreme for a 30L sac. 2 bellows side pockets give an extra 8 litres of space and have compression straps to keep them flat when not in use. The top pocket is also huge, to carry all those bits and bobs you need fast access to. I have only 2 complaints regarding this sac. Firstly,the apparent size of it in relation to the literage. Because of the plastic curving back, the internal dimensions of the bag are reduced. To compensate this, Berghause have created a long narrow bag. To look at the sac packed full you would estimate it to hold 45l, not 30l. Secondly, it is useless for high impact activities such as cycling or running. The length of the sac means that on a bike, it sits up high on your back and thumps into the back of your head. While running, it bounces on that chunky hip belt, alternately bruising your hips and head. This is compounded by the lack of chest strap. As with most Berghaus gear, I think this sac is a little over priced, but at that, you are guaranteed quality gear. If you are looking for an extremely comfortable sac for those gentle days in the hills, the Freeflow is hard to beat.
The one thing I hate about rucksacks is having a sweaty back. I won't go into the details and scare you away, but as I'm sure you can imagine, sweat is a bad thing. I don't care what the medics say, it's bad. The normal design of a rucksack is the whole rucksack sitting on your back. So whatever you're wearing gets pressed down, so it gets warmer and more uncomfortable. To overcome this, many rucksack manufacturers have redesigned it so there's a space for air to move between your back and the rucksack. Lowe Alpine call theirs Air-Mesh, Berghaus call it Freeflow. To quote the review of Berghaus Freeflow in Trail magazine : "There are lots of similar rucksacks with air flow systems, but the Berghaus Freeflow 35 gets it right". Basically, Freeflow works by the rucksack being held away from your back by a stiffened board, and resting on your hips. At first it was uncomfortable, but after adjusting the shoulder straps and the hip-belt it was far better than my previous rucksack. The shoulder straps and hip-belt have loads of padding, and they're made with a breathable material as well. The label on my rucksack tells me it's a 35-litre sack. But compared to my old one, it seems like double that. The main compartment is tall but not narrow, so you can fit a lot in before it starts getting full. The side pockets are generous, big enough for my 1-litre water bottle and something else (if I had something else to put in there...). Likewise, the top pocket is spacious, big enough for hat, gloves, camera, torch and my first aid kit. And still some room to spare. The Freeflow's hidden second advantage comes in here. Normally, if the top pocket is full, if it flops over when you open the hood of the rucksack, restricting the opening. But since there's a stiffened board as a part of the Freeflow system, this doesn't happen. For closing, the main compartment is closed over wi
th a drawcord and toggle. A full snowblock would be better on this to keep rain (and snow) out for sure, but not to worry. The hood is clipped down with a single but large clip, which makes things easier than having to close/open two clips. The clip is on a long and easily-adjustable strap, which makes use as a volume adjuster to stop things flopping about if the rucksack's only half-full. The only downfall with this rucksack is the lack of straps on the outside for items like walking poles and ice axes. There's one set of straps which takes an ice axe or a pair of poles (at a squeeze), but that's it. It would be better to have a few more straps - for trekking it would be fairly useless because there's nowhere to strap on a roll mat, for example. The other strap that's lacking is the chest strap to hold the shoulder straps together. I overcame this by using the strap from my old rucksack, but you can buy them from any outdoor shop for no more than £3 I expect. Overall, if you're looking for a rucksack suitable for day-walking (but not trekking), I recommend Berghaus Freeflow. Now I've reviewed it, here's the technical stuff. Colours - green/black, blue/navy Sizes - 18 to 43 litres Suggested Price - £50 (I got mine for £35 in a sale) Website - http://www.berghaus.com/the_gear/gearlist/show_product.asp?product_id=560
Ergonomic shoulder harness; Air circulation back system for cool, dry comfort; External lid pocket with internal key clip; Internal lid pocket; Two side pockets (fits 1 L water bottle); Walking stick holder; Chest harness.