Here’s a quick roundup of some of the non winter specific gear I’ve been using during the last year or so.
Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 Rucksack Review
It’s rare for me to get excited about travel specific products. I’ve really loved using the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 though. It’s such a well designed and thought out pack.
A recent family holiday to Ontario, Canada seemed like the perfect trip to try the X30 out. I used the pack as my hand luggage on the plane and my everyday bag for the duration of the trip. After spending time in airports, the city and the immense forests, lakes and hills in and around Southern Ontario and Algonquin Park, I’m struggling to think how the X30 could be much better.
Here’s what I liked about the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30:
- It has loads of pockets – I realise not everyone likes a ton of pockets on a pack, however, for an all-purpose travel / outdoor rucksack I think they’re useful. The X30 has 4 separate compartments accessed from the outside off the pack and several more hidden inside. This makes it easy to organise various bit and bats and keep things safe.
- The main compartment is easy to get into – Because the X30 has a stiffened back and a U-shaped zip-around opening, the pack is super easy to get in and out of. It sits up pretty much by itself and doesn’t collapse even when empty. In addition to this all the zips used on the X30 slide really smoothly and all have easy to grab pullers. Again making accessing stuff in the busy travel / city environment dead easy.
- Extensive anti-theft features – Pacsafe’s USP is their innovative use of anti theft design, the most interesting of which is the RFIDsafe pocket. This internal zipped pocket is made with a special material that blocks scanners used by any bad dues out there who want to steal credit card and passport info. It’s a great idea that prevents against the kind of crime that most people don’t think about until they become a victim, at which point it’s too late. Other anti theft details include stainless steel exomesh built into the pack to prevent knife slashing, lockable zippers, lockable security hooks and cut resistant Dyneema straps.
- Good enough to hike with – Despite all the travel specific features the X30 is more than suitable for more technical use. The shoulder straps and hipbelt use nicely vented foam and comfy mesh and the back system is simple and supportive. There’s a raincover tucked away in the base too.
Prices online for the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 come in around the £120 – £130 mark, so it certainly isn’t cheap. However, for the serious traveller, or just the traveller who’s serious about keeping their stuff safe, it would make a great choice for a day pack. Recommended.
Macpac Duffle 120 Wheeled Review
Sticking with the travel theme, I’ve also been using this monster 120L wheeled duffel bag by Macpac. After carrying around my 80L TNF Base Camp Duffle for the past 15 years, it’s nice to finally have some wheels.
As you’d expect from a brand famous for making packs, the Duffle 120 Wheeled is really well made using robust fabrics and sturdy construction methods. It’s a pretty simple piece of kit really – just a big old space to put your stuff in, a small zipped outer pocket, retractable handle, plus shoulder and hand straps. There are also a couple of compression straps on the outside. Although I guess I’d prefer an internal pocket or two, the simplicity keeps the overall weight down to 3.45kg.
- Big simple gear hauler
- Appears to be well made and built to last
- Top compression straps are useful for securing the load
- A couple of internal zipped pockets would be nice
Scott Kinabalu Supertrac Review
I’ve loved running in the Scott Kinabalu Supertracs. First and foremost, they’ve proved to be supremely comfortable, but also durable and very versatile too.
I’m not a super serious runner, averaging maybe 10 – 20 miles a week mainly on muddy forest tracks with the occasional run over more technical mountain terrain. After about a year of use the Supertracs are only just entering their prime. A little stiff at first, they’ve broken in and are now very comfortable. The extensive cushioning might not be to everyone’s taste but I love the cushy ride. A few miles on the road is no problem at all for the Supertracs too, which I really like as my runs often take in some tarmac to reach the trail. I’ve found the Supertracs make a great hiking shoe too.
The heavily lugged outsole means grip on soft and muddy surfaces is exceptional, though they were a little dubious on smooth wet rock initially. The rockered profile encourages a natural and efficient stride and they dry reasonably quickly once wet. The obvious downside to the Supertracs is the weight. At approx 340g these things are pretty heavy. The combination of lugged outsole, deep cushioning and beefy construction all adds up.
However, once on my feet I don’t think they feel too heavy and for a non competitive runner like myself, the comfort and durability probably balance out the weight penalty. Drop is 8mm which seems to be where many trail shoes are at these days. Despite the cushioned midsole the Supertracs actually feel fairly nimble on technical ground, probably in part due to the relatively low drop.
I ended up going for a size UK 9 which is a half-size up on my usual UK 8.5.
- Mega comfortable cushioned ride
- Very durable
- Insane grip in wet / muddy conditions
- Rockered profile
- Lace bungee keeps laces neat and tidy
- Great on roads and hard surfaces and as a hiking shoe
Not so good points:
- A little clunky for really technical terrain