Vaude Brenta 40 (2016)

Features

The Brenta comes in a 40 litre version (tested here), as well as a 50 litre version. It has an Aeroflex back system that holds the pack away from the walker for greater airflow, and a less sweaty back. The body has a fixed lid and snow lock extension, and there is a rain cover. The main compartment has a zip-out base divider, and an external zipped entry. There is an external front stretch pocket and stretch side pockets. 5/5

Fit

The Brenta comes in one back length, but you can extend the length of the shoulder straps, and adjust the tension of the mesh trampoline to create more or less airflow. The hipbelt is quite wide, but this is not as well-moulded to the body as some designs with higher price tags. The nearest women’s version is the Maremma 32 (no 40-50 litre option). 4/5

Comfort

Like all ‘trampoline’ designs, the Vaude Brenta 40 has plenty of airflow across the back for more comfort. The padding on the hipbelt and shoulder straps is not quite the softest and does not have quite as much airflow as some, but these are tiny niggles. Overall, this is a good, comfortable pack. But as the capacity is a little smaller than that of some rivals, larger loads will be less comfortable. 4/5

In use

On overnight trips, the zip-out divider of the main compartment may be an advantage for some users. I like the fixed lid that helps to ensure no water creeps into the main compartment. The outer pockets are great, and the large, front stretch pocket is useful for jackets between showers. The lid pocket is very large (ideal for maps) and there’s a rain cover. 5/5

Value

The price is very competitive, but note that the Brenta has a smaller capacity than rivals. 5/5

Verdict

The Vaude Brenta 40 is a great, general hillsack that delivers all the general features required very well. Packs with higher price tags only offer small, additional benefits. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2016