The Asymmetric range from Vaude replaces the popular Astra range of packs. The Asymmetric back system can be adjusted to length by raising or lowering the shoulder
strap section along metal staves in the back panel. You get a thin layer of mesh over perforated padding on the main body contact areas to reduce the build-up of sweat. The back system is quite stiff so you can pack gear into the sack without fear of the body ‘barrelling’ out of shape, but also the back system twists nicely between the hipbelt and shoulder straps for more freedom of movement. This back system generally feels better than most here for heavier loads. The body of the Vaude Asymmetric 42+8 is made from a more robust material than the lighter sacks, too, which again is ideal for backpacking and harder use. The main compartment has a top opening plus a large zipped front opening, which you may like. There is a good deep snow-lock extension on the top opening to the main compartment with a very large lid that is ‘floating’, meaning it can be raised for more capacity. I would not choose such a lid design myself, but this one is better than most. The lid pocket is huge and you also get a large zipped front pocket and a zipped pocket on the hipbelt. Good mesh wand pockets and compression straps complete a very well-designed pack, but the Vaude Asymmetric 42+8 is a bit heavy at 1460g.
Capacity 42-50 litres
Internal compartments 1
External zipped pockets 3
Wand pockets? yes
Compression straps? yes
Men’s (unisex) back length adjustable
Women’s back length adjustable
The Vaude Asymmetric 42+8 offers good features for backpacking, but it’s heavy. A lower-priced lighter sack might suffice if you don’t need something this tough.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2014