Wednesday, 20 June 2007

REVIEW: Macpac Amp Light 35 rucksack £80


Now that summer is here, scrambling is a great way to avoid the more popular routes, while long days in the hills are a great way to make the most of the long hours of daylight. A clean lined rucksack, that is narrow, figure hugging and stable is just the ticket for the scrambles, while minimal weight is ideal for the long days. So I've been using the Macpac Amp Light 35 rucksack over recent months.

It's good It's new from Macpac this summer and is designed for lightweight hiking. However, unlike other ultralight gear the Amp Light still maintains a good level of durability and comfort. The pack tips the scales at 1.3kg. It has one main compartment and there is a drawcord snowlock extension to help keep out any rain when the pack is overfilled. There's a large pocket on the front, that I've found usefully large, and it's been home to maps and hats on numerous occasions. They've also stuck a drawcorded mesh pocket on the front, which would be useful for stowing wet items, but I've not found it very useful to be fair. To side mesh wand pockets or bottle holders are also provided and these are much more useful. Side compression straps allow trekking poles to be stowed on the sides as well as allowing the capacity to be squashed down and kept neat when not fully loaded. There are padded side panels that give extra stability to the pack, something that other lightweight sacks often lack. The back system is simple, well padded and very comfortable. The hip belt is also a lightweight design that wraps close to the body. Top tensioning straps allow extra contol of the load too. In general this all worked well and certainly made scrambles easier as the pack sat so close, while 10 hour mountain days were no doubt less tiring for the comfort and low weight the sack provided.

But there are a couple of niggles in the design. I found that the hip belt adjustment was a little messy as there are pair of webbing straps and often I found that the lower of these get dragged below the hip belt. The problem is that they have designed the hip belt so that it can be removed, while leaving a narrow webbing tape to be used as a hip belt, The idea is great, as often the wider hip belt would not be needed when travelling light, but they haven't quite pulled it off neatly enough in my view. Don't get me wrong it is not a disaster, but a tad annoying none the less ... a little like boot laces that come undone too easily and require a double knot to keep them tied! The front mesh pocket is large enough to take a waterbottle, but as the pocket is so far back it tends to wobble about a lot. Arguably a lid under the pocket would be a good addition. Finally on my sample, the pull cord for the zip on the lid pocket kept coming off. This may be a sample production issue, as the other zip on the front of the pack was fine.

Buy it if you are after a lightweight, close fitting, narrow rucksack for scrambling or hillwalking as this is among the best.

Vital stats
Manufacturer capacity 35 litre
Trail tested capacity 34 litre
Materials Titan Grid Fabric 100D high tenacity nylon
Features padded back system, front pocket, lid pocket, mesh pocket on front, mesh wand pockets, compression straps, walking pole and ice axe attachment points, hydration system compatible
Weight 1300g
Made in Philippines
For more information visit the Macpac Web Site

Check out the August issue of Trail for a review of this rucksack and 11 more rucksacks that are specifically designed to keep you comfortable on the hills this summer.

To talk about gear check out Trail Forums

Reviewed by Graham Thompson

8 comments:

James said...

You say:

"However, unlike other ultralight gear the Amp Light still maintains a good level of durability and comfort. The pack tips the scales at 1.3kg"

Do you really consider 1.3kg for 35l to be an ultralight pack? Compared with other packs out there (for example the 72l Golite Pinnacle pack at 0.7kg), it seems pretty heavy to me.

Anway... :-) I was wondering how you measured the volume of the pack yourself? Do you fill it up to the top with marbles or something then measure the volume of marbles this requires?

Trail said...

Hi James
The volume is measured using plastic 'spheres' which are about the size of marbles.
Regards
GT

Trail said...

Hi james
Regarding term ultralight. The review says "However, unlike other ultralight gear the Amp Light still maintains a good level of durability and comfort."

I was referring to packs that are described as 'ultralight' and not implying that this pack was 'ultralight'. Perhaps I could have phrased it better.
Regards
GT

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