It’s a rucksack, but not like any you’ve seen before. With a full-length waterproof zip along the entire main compartment, taped seams throughout and a hipbelt system that swings as you walk, the Versametric Proof is, well, Not Like Other Sacks.
The first thing that strikes you about the Versametric is that it’s a clean and simple design, and by far the most streamlined here. It has no pockets aside from a huge one on the lid; and though there is no separate compartment at the base, the full-length water-resistant zip makes a very large pocket out of the main body. It is therefore extremely easy to pack. All the seams are ultrasonically welded and sealed, the fabric is sturdy. This is one of the lightest packs on test at 2.81kg, but it’s also the smallest and most expensive. Unusually, the whole back system of the Versametric Proof is based on an anatomically shaped polycarbonate plate, offering stability and an easy back length adjustment system. The hipbelt has a little dial that moves the fins up and down to fine-tune the fit for a male or female torso, and there’s an odd pendulum attachment fixing the waistbelt to the back plate. It’s a system that allows the pack swings freely as you walk.
On the hill
The thing I loved most was the astonishing freedom of movement the penduluming hipbelt offered, allowing my body to move with unaccustomed ease. However, on slightly steeper ground, pulling a couple of straps made it very stable – a brilliant piece of design. That main zip can let water through and we’ve also noticed the coating that makes the zip more water resistant than standard zips is peeling off in places – so I’d recommend a waterproof rucksack liner to keep gear dry. Although I liked the simplicity and lightness and ease with which that main zip allowed packing, having just one external pocket was frustrating. Getting to lunch or snacks or a headtorch was always awkward; and when rammed full, that long zip on the front offered only limited access to the main compartment without unpacking the waterproof rucksack liner that I needed to ensure my kit stayed dry. And yes, that top pocket was enormous, but it wasn’t easily accessed by the short zip when full. My final gripe was that the handhold in the polycarbonate plate, which replaced the traditional haul loop, made it awkward to swing the pack onto my back when heavily loaded. Still, overall there’s something very likeable about this unusual sack.
Stated capacity 65 + 10 litres
Trail tested capacity 66 litres
Back lengths 68cm
Materials 420D diamond ripstop PU-coated, 600 D polyester PU-coated
Made in Far East
Stockist details tel. (01665) 510660; www.vaude.co.uk
Stockists in the UK 25
Verdict: This is a wonderful pack to carry, novel in a good way because the unusual back system really works.
It’s also light for the size and highly water-resistant, which is great for Britain. Unfortunately the pack has only one external pocket, it’s awkward to get on when heavily loaded and it’s quite expensive. Still, if you want minimalist, it’s worth a look.
Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine April 2009