Berghaus Torridon 65 2011

The Torridon is a new pack from Berghaus aimed at those who need the size and carrying capacity of a fully featured, multi-day backpack, but don’t want to break the bank. It’s only one of two packs here with an adjustable back system and is the only one with traditional zipped side pockets. It’s also the only one under £100.

Design
The A-Trek adjustable back system is the first thing you notice about this classically designed pack. It’s a light and simple design that allows you to adjust the back length with a few pulls of straps and Velcro, and it’s not hard to get an excellent fit. There’s a beefy waistbelt as well as shoulder tensioner straps plus an elasticated chest strap. This combination ensures the pack should fit a variety of different body shapes. Otherwise, the Berghaus Torridon 65 sports a classic design that’s less common in this age of relentless innovation. There’s a well-proven functionality in having two side pockets, an internal divider and access to the base compartment via a long, curving zip. You get a large lid pocket too, as well as mesh wand pockets, which can be accessed while wearing it. There are also attachment points for ice axes, as well as compression straps on the bottom. It’s also hydration system-compatible.

On the hill
On me, the Berghaus Torridon 65 was an extremely comfortable pack. The adjustable back system allowed a higher degree of fitting than others here so it was easy to get even the heaviest loads to sit just right – a level of comfort I was quite happy to pay the small weight penalty for. However, the shoulder attachment is markedly less stable at the large and XL lengths, so it might not carry so well on bigger backs. Although this is one of the weightier packs on test, it didn’t feel particularly heavy, and 1.8kg is still acceptably light given the durable fabric used and that decent back system. One small gripe, though, was that the side and lid pockets didn’t offer particularly easy access when the pack was full. This was in part due to the zip design, but mainly, in the case of the side pockets, because they were very small. In fact, fitting much more than a map into them when the pack was well loaded was extremely difficult. That top pocket was a good size, though, which helped, and having zipped access to the bottom compartment meant this could be used as a pocket too. Finally, I really missed side compression straps since this is usually where I store tent poles or a sleeping mat. The pair on the bottom may be more traditional, but I didn’t find them as useful for either compression or attachment.

Made in Vietnam
Weight 1800g
Capacity 65 litres
Backlengths available one, adjustable
Materials Esdura 600 D
Stockist details (0191) 516 5700; www.berghaus.com
Stockists in the UK 58

The Berghaus Torridon 65 has a great, highly adjustable back system; comfortable carrying heavy loads; easily accessible base compartment; side pockets; superb value; tough fabric. But there are no side compression/attachment straps; side pockets are small and difficult to access; not as light as others we looked at. In summary, it’s an excellent choice for UK backpacking, offering everything you need to carry kit for a week or more on the hill. A couple of design tweaks would make it joint winner in this test, particularly given its incredible value (it won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ accolade).

Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine June 2011