The Forclaz might not be the coolest pack on the market, but it gets all the basics right: it’s comfortable, stable and packs in a lot of kit. The padding on the hip belt and shoulder straps is thick and soft, and the back system boasts a bed of foam which cushions the back against all the tinned sardines, water filters, and other trekking paraphernalia (though the foam can get a little sweaty on climbs). A front opening zip allows quick, holdall-style access to the main compartment, and the back length can be adjusted while you’re wearing the pack thanks to a couple of nifty straps connecting the hip belt and the shoulder straps. Within minutes of hauling it onto my back, the load felt comfortable, secure and manageable. The one question which goes begging is, how long will it last? Compared to other packs on test, the fabric feels thin and flimsy and the pocket zips look vulnerable. Still, for £65, few will be disappointed with the Forclaz.
Pockets: 5 (2 x top, 2 x sides, hip belt)
Back system: Padded
Contact: 0207 0643 000, www.decathlon.co.uk
PROS: Comfortable, stable, convenient storage and access, great price.
CONS: Poor quality materials, little ventilation in back system.
Best for: Long walks where comfort is the priority – along with price.
Review from Country Walking magazine.