GoLite Quest 2011

The Golite Quest is an enormous sack with a remarkably low weight that will easily carry more than you need for a week or two. In fact, in terms of litres per gram, it’s lighter than the Ultrahike 60. It’s simple and uncluttered, has just the minimum of pockets to remain functional, and uses 50 per cent recycled fabric.

The Quest has a cavernous main compartment, above which sits a removable, floating lid with a large and easily accessible zipped pocket. You get two hipbelt pockets for small items, plus on the back a pocket that’s so big it’s like a small day pack. Golite rates this pack at 25 and 72 litres, where the lower volume refers to its compressed size after you’ve pulled tight the good, quick-release straps, and clipped the slightly fiddly clips on the bottom. Other features include a couple of mesh wand pockets, a hydration system pocket and axe/pole attachments. As for the back system, the Quest goes for a minimalist, non-adjustable design in either medium or large, so it’s important to buy the right size. It’s made from high-density polyethylene with mouldable aluminium stays and so offers some customisation. There’s a sturdy waistbelt, but the supporting fins might be short on larger waists.

On the hill
At 72 litres the Golite Quest is the largest pack on test, though it doesn’t necessarily feel so, thanks to decent compression straps and it’s also the second lightest. Either way, I didn’t personally need all that extra space for summer camping, so the compression straps were well used. Although simple, the back system proved adequately comfortable with heavy loads as the aluminium rods transferred the weight efficiently to the well-padded hipbelt. The chest strap didn’t tighten up all that tidily, but I did appreciate the mesh pockets on the waistbelt as they offered access to snacks. In terms of packing, the vast main compartment, the decent lid pocket and that large pocket on the front of the sack offered sufficient options for multi-day trips (although smaller items tended to get lost in that front pocket). I really appreciated the clippable side compression straps, which, in conjunction with the mesh wand pockets, were perfect for tent poles and my sleeping mat. One highly irritating gripe, however, was that the quick-release buckles were too small and fiddly to open easily with cold or gloved hands. But apart from this, the Quest felt quite user-friendly on the hill.

Made in China
Weight 1400g
Capacity 25/72 litres
Backlengths available medium (39.5-44.5cm); large (44.5-49.5cm)
Materials 50 per cent recycled 210 denier nylon velocity, 50 per cent recycled 210 denier nylon double ripstop
Stockist details tel. 0800 917 5642; www.golite.com
Stockists in the UK 15

The Golite Quest offers large size but low weight; compresses to its 25 litre form effectively; good pockets; great side compression/attachment straps; waistbelt pockets. But it’s possibly bigger than needed for summer backpacking use; non-adjustable back system; not as comfy as others on test; irritating and fiddly quick-release buckles. It’s a good pack for those who want a bit of extra room but don’t want to pay a weight penalty, and it compresses to a functional smaller pack quite well. You will need to check the back system in a shop to make sure it fits, though.

Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine June 2011