Review: Berghaus women’s Freeflow rucksack
Berghaus has launched two women’s specific packs, the Freeflow 25 and 35. The rucksacks include the brand’s renowned curved back design to maximise airflow and reduce the build-up of heat.
The Freeflow design has been a mainstay of the Berghaus pack range for decades and the latest generation has been enhanced by the addition of two women’s specific options. Apparently, your back will remain 30 per cent drier when using a Freeflow, compared to a close-fitting system.
The Berghaus women’s Freeflow 25 and 35 packs have been designed to suit the female body, including the back length, harness shape and design of the hip belts.
Other features include:
- Height adjustable chest strap (both packs)
- Adjustable waist strap (Freeflow 35)
- Top tension straps.
- Stretch side bottle pockets
- Zipped pocket in the hip belt.
- Large zipped front pocket
- Hydration system compatible
- Rain cover
- Side compression straps
- Dual walking pole holders.
- Panel-access zip opening (35).
Weight: Freeflow 35 weighs 1305g and the Freeflow 25 weighs 1155g.
Price: The women’s Freeflow 35 is £95 and the women’s Freeflow 25 is £75.
On test: Berghaus women’s Freeflow 25 rucksack
A walk on the Munro, Ben Chonzie, near Crieff, offered the perfect opportunity to test the rucksack. It was a warm summer’s day so 25l was more than enough space for my walking kit extras, including waterproof jacket and trousers, lightweight insulated jacket, emergency foil blanket, sandwiches and snacks, hydration bladder, walking poles, dog food and jacket, map and compass.
I was able to use the compression straps to make sure the pack was evenly weighted. Adjusting the hip belt is easy – just clip together and pull inwards until it feels taut but not too tight. The hip belt sat perfectly in place so that most of the weight of the rucksack was taken by my hips/lower back.
The shoulder straps were also easy to adjust and I made use of the chest strap to ensure the rucksack was held comfortably against my upper back. I also adjusted the top tension straps so as to keep the rucksack close to my body.
After all this adjustment the pack felt brilliant. (It only tok a few minutes!) Yet there was still a nice gap between my back and the rucksack, created by the curved Freeflow system. I have always liked the Berghaus Freeflow design and somehow this one seemed more modern and updated. It is padded and vented in all the right places.
Generally, the pack has padding and cushioning everywhere that you need it but nowhere that you don’t. This means the rucksack is lightweight yet very comfortable.
I did not suffer with a sweaty back at any point during the hot hike so I can report the back system works very well.
The other features that I like include the hip belt pocket (please make it a bit bigger next time so I can fit my large smartphone inside) and outside zipped pocket (perfect for map and compass).
The pack, like most Berghaus products, feels well made and durable. The addition of a rain cover is excellent and the pole holders are an asset, although I generally keep the poles in my hands.
I also felt like the pack was a bit neater and narrower than others I use, which reflects the fact that is women specific. It’s great to have this attention to detail, rather than using a men’s size small (which is never really small enough for me). The hip belt felt nicely padded and sat in the right place and the chest strap adjustment is excellent.
Women with larger chests will welcome the design detail of being able to move the chest strap to four different heights. I know plenty of women who struggle to feel comfortable using a chest strap, especially when it’s a men’s rucksack.
Overall this is a great rucksack for day hikes for women and the price is competitive, too.