Macpac Traverse/Esprit

This backpacking rucksack, which comes in men’s and women’s styles, focuses on basic but essential features coupled with durability – making it just the job for those that want a tough load-lugger that can be put through month after month of hard use. At the heart of the design is Macpac’s Aztec HC fabric, which is designed to be exceptionally durable, puncture-resistant and weatherproof. To haul the ‘sack around you get a simple, adjustable back system with a pivoting hipbelt. The result is a very stable and comfortable carry. To store your gear you get a two main compartments, and there are two side compression straps and a pair of wand pockets that are ideal for stowing a pair of trekking poles. There is just one external pocket on the body and this is situated on the front of the ‘sack. A deep snow-lock extension protects the main compartment from snow and water ingress. The lid can be raised to allow extra gear to be stuffed into the main compartment, but the best feature is that there is a panel of fabric linking the lid to the main compartment to prevent water creeping in under the lid. The lid has an external pocket that is ideal for maps. This rucksack is built like a Land Rover, and feels ready to take the worst you or any baggage-handler in any airport in the world could throw at it. This makes it a good choice for those heading for remote mountain regions in developing countries where your ‘sack is expected to survive being carried on the backs of mules and being tossed onto the top of a bus – before you even set off with it on your back across the wilderness. All that for just 2700g and £130 is money very well spent. But for all its ruggedness this sack lacks finesse; the back system is not quite as accommodating of body movement. The pockets are frugal compared to others in its class, and the side compression straps are not even a quick-release design. The sack also weighs in at around 2700g, which is not lightweight by modern standards. These features won’t concern all, but those heading for a weekend or a week’s backpacking may feel that while durability and simplicity are good, the extra features provided by other comparable rucksacks may be more important.


Capacity: 70
Fabric: Aztec HC
Weight: 2700g
Features: adjustable Dynamic back system; twin main compartments; lid with 1 pocket; front pockets; side compression straps; wand pockets; ice axe/trekking pole loops
Weight: 2700g
Made in Philippines
Stores in UK: England 20; Wales 3; Scotland 10; Ireland 0

Verdict: Buy it if you want a simple, clutter-free, reliable ‘sack that can take anything you can throw at it and still provide everything most backpackers will want in terms of comfort and performance.