The Vaude Astra 65 has won ‘Best Buy’ awards from Trail on several occasions and this backpacking rucksack still offers the essential features that have made it so popular. It is based around a main compartment with a zip-out divider to provide an upper and lower packing area. The lid is a floating design that gets a removable baffle connecting it to the main sack. This allows the lid to be raised or removed, while the baffle prevents rain entering the main compartment. Compression straps control the load, and the top one has a quick-release buckle that really eases entry to the bellows side pockets. A couple of big pockets on the lid are another useful feature. The Vaude back system is adjustable, padded and works perfectly well, while being comfortable. But while there is nothing really wrong with the Astra 65, some rucksacks have more innovative designs and tweaks that you may prefer, while others are a notch lighter or benefit from even keener pricing. You can get even more comfort if you pay a higher price too.
Verdict: A well-proven rucksack at a stunning price for what you get, with superb features that are ideal for general situations and conditions.