Podsacs Lux 35 2011

The Podsacs Lux 35 is a more traditional offering from a company renowned for its quality craftsmanship and simple, pragmatic designs. It is the only pack on test with a semi-rigid back plate to transfer the weight to the hips, and it uses heavier materials for greater durability.

Design
POD has a reputation for quality construction with a clean design. The Lux is made from tough 100 D Cordura with a 630 D nylon Oxford reinforced base, offering durability that makes it better value long-term. The Lux is the only pack in our test with a semi-rigid back plate to transfer the weight to the hips, making it more comfy, stable and easier to pack, but also the heaviest. Beyond the back system, the Lux is tidy and simple. There is only one pocket on the lid, with a water-resistant zip. There’s also a dedicated ice axe/pole attachment system, which doubles as compression. Finally, you get two mesh pockets on the sides, two hip pockets and compression straps, plus a hydration pocket inside.

On the hill
It’s a tough battle between the Podsacs Lux 35 and inov-8’s Race Pro for ‘most comfy pack’. That rigid frame transfers weight more effectively to the hips than any other pack here and proved a lot more forgiving of bad packing, plus it made it very stable loaded or mostly empty. It also felt large for 35 litres and happily took my lightweight camping kit. On the hill it was fantastically useable – functional and durable rather than light. It’s not exactly heavy at 1020g for a large 35 litres, but compared to others here it looks it. However, that extra weight translates into functional straps and buckles rather than the Lilliputian clips and shoestrings. I liked the ice axe loops, which ingeniously metamorphose into compression bungees when not in use, and accessible side pockets. However, it’s the overall brilliance of this pack that make its zipped pockets unforgivable, holding it back from joint Best in Test. You only get three, and they’re all small: two on the hipbelt and one on the top of the lid. That top pocket is practically unusable when the pack is full, and suffers from a very short zip. A few tweaks to the pockets, and the Podsacs Lux 35 could be a classic.

Capacity 35 litres (29.1g per litre)
Fabric body – 100 D Cordura; base – 630 D nylon Oxford
Features removable rigid back plate; side mesh pockets; hipbelt pockets; compression straps; external lid pocket; hydration system-compatible; ice axe/pole attachments; key clip; reflective patch
Sizes 10, 18, 25, 45 litres
Measured weight 1020g
Made in China
Stores in the UK 20
Stockists (01773) 601870; www.podsacs.com

The Podsacs Lux 35 boasts excellent build quality; tidy, clean design; excellent back system gives a very comfortable carry; heavy fabric for real durability; easy packing; good compression system, decent size. But it was the heaviest on test; frustrating pockets with small zip on lid. Overall, the best on test for walking, camping and scrambling, but less ‘multi-activity’ than some due to the weight; built to last

Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine April 2011