Are you looking for a rucksack to cope with winter walking? My guest reviewer Nick has been testing the Berghaus Explorer 40 Rucksack. Here’s what he has written:
The first winter hill day of the year is unlikely to generate many fond feelings for your rucksack. After a carefree summer jogging over the hills with little more than a jacket and a Mars bar in your pack to weigh you down, when there is snow on the summits you suddenly find you can’t lift your bag out the car boot without an involuntary grunt and expletive.
My new Berghaus Explorer 40 was weighed down with all the necessary kit for a winter’s day walking in the Mamores mountain range. The rucksack had easily swallowed my food, water bottle, flask, first aid kit, bivi bag, spare clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, ice axe, poles, crampons, etc. I wasn’t going to be the “poorly equipped hill walker” getting a ticking off in the tabloid press after being rescued from an ice climb in flip flops.
This did mean, however, that as I started up the first Munro I was gasping at the weight on my back although I couldn’t put the blame on the Berghaus.
I had initially looked at packs with 30-litre capacity for winter walking outings but had ultimately decided on 40, which I think was the right decision. There was room to spare with all my gear packed but the Berghaus Explorer 40 Rucksack compressed it all without looking under filled.
In style, I would say the Explorer 40 is more like a miniature backpacking bag than an oversized day bag. There is a very solid harness with an efficient adjustment for the back length. There is an internal division panel that can be unzipped, a rain cover, generous pockets and a multitude of adjustment straps.
As well as being suitable for winter hiking, it could easily be used for lightweight weekend trips in the summer is the rucksack is very versatile.
The general build quality is very good, as you would expect from Berghaus, and although I have only just started to use it, I’m sure it will last for many years.
No piece of kit is ever perfect. The lid of bag is rather unconventional in that the straps run around the sides and attach down by your hips rather than going straight down the outside. This seemed to pull the rucksack out of shape when it was only part filled and you get a lump at the top and the bottom with the middle compressed by the lid straps.
Some of the buckles also seemed a little fragile. In particular, the chest strap and waist belt were hard to do up with gloves on and I was worried they were going to snap. I would also prefer straps for the ice axes rather than loops of elastic cord.
These are quite minor points. Overall I am very happy with the rucksack although the first manufacturer to invent an anti-gravity device for winter packs will be getting my money.
Berghaus Explorer 40 rucksack costs £100.