Marc's WhiteWater Gear Reviews

Packs and Bags


Large backpack capacity explained

Large backpacking/hiking backpacks are designed for those who take on the more demanding trails, taking plenty of gear and spending multiple nights in a tent. These are very big backpacks, with capacities that range from 45-85 liters. These framed packs also tend to be slightly heavier, offering structure, stability and a better fit.
The needed capacity of my backpack is set by the weight that I am able and choose to carry. My Solo trip multi-day weight limit is approximately 25 kg. Generally, the weight at the start of my trip will be a little more. But, because this includes consumables, the weight decreases with circa 1,5 kg/day.

When Solo walking, 70+ liters is will allow me to walk two weeks, divided in 50 liter (gear) plus 22 liter (consumables), weighing 25 kg.
(When going solo, I use a chestpack, al-the-time and everywhere, with all the essentials like a torch, pocket knife, comms, PLB, etcetera, should something bad happen.)

Gear: 16-18 kg / using 50+ liter volume
Backpack, Tent System, Sleeping System, Cooking System, Clothing, Personal Hygiene, Safety & First Aid, Photography Gear, Electronics, Fishing Gear

Consumables: 0,5 kg per day / using 1,5 liter of volume per day
Freeze Dried Meals, Energy & Proteine Bars, Coffee, Fresh Food, Fuel, (Water)

When Duo walking (and sharing a tent, cooking system, safety & first aid and electronics) a 50 liter pack, will allow me to take food for a week (10 liter).


Large Hiking Backpack 75+ liter

My Thule Guidepost 75 liter is a positive exception to the ergonomic standard of backpacks. If you can not make this bag fit comfortably, than no bag ever will. It is easy to adjust the pack to the length of your back, to the width of your shoulders and to your hips. The slimmer profile adds to the stability of the pack and it keeps the pack from snagging in dense bush. The pivoting waistbelt on the Guidepost is a great feature. The waist belt is mounted on a central rotating point, which keeps the load centered. Another strength of the Guidepost is its durability. The zippers are wide gauge with large pulls. The exterior treatment of the bag adds water resistance and a good defense against abrasions. This is a sturdy, strong and indestructible pack, ready to take a beating, at a moderate weight (2.59 kg). There is a mesh hip pocket on one side of the waistbelt and it has the VersaClick system on the other side, offering modular options such as a waterproof roll-top pouch, a camera pouch, a water bottle sleeve and other pouches. There are also two gear loops on the back, four on the head and two on the bottom. The Guidepost is incredibly stable with heavy loads, with it’s unmatched pivot action. 
The pack comes with a Rolltop pocket. I use some optional addons, like the camera pouch and bottle pouch, all part of the VersaClick system. This pack has loads of features:

  • 45° pockets, reachable while walking.
  • the lid/head/brain can be used as a 28 liter summit pack/day pack
  • a pivoting hipbelt for better weight distribution
  • a belt mounted removable weatherproof rolltop pocket (VersaClick system)
  • wire guides for phones and other electronics
  • a rainfly (well attachable)
  • a bottom (sleeping bag) compartment
  • a large front and side access openings
  • two large front storage spaces
  • 2 ice axe/walking stick loops
  • Approximately €300
The Thule Guidepost at Inverarnan, the northern Loch Lomond section of the Scottish West Highland Way.The Thule Guidepost in front of the Buachaille Etive Mòr on the Glencoe section of the West Highland Way.
On my way to the Black Cuillin, Skye, Scotland.Aqua hitchhiking in the Camas Fhionnairigh (Bay of the White Shieling), Isle of Skye, Scotland.


Large Hiking Backpack 50 liter

My Fenix Protector ‘Magnus 50’ backpack is a 50 litre backpack, originally developed for armed forces. An everlasting and reliable pack. Unintended, I did put this pack to some vigorous tests, and it came out as a winner!
At first glance, this seems to be a pretty straight forward and basic backpack. One inner compartment and all the standard features. But, this pack is a modern version of all of those features we have known for years. Yes, it is a top- and front loader, it has a ‘brain’ compartment, belt pockets and all that. But the real gems are in the designed details. Like the hooks on the shockcord making it far easier to stow jackets and raingear. Like sleeves over the full height of the pack sides, for stowing tripods, tentpoles, fishing rods, walking poles, etcetera.
It also comes with three different types of zipper pulls (for glove wearing situations, bush situations and multi purpose ones) and clever fastners to tie loose ends of webbing.
Approximately €235

These 50 liters, allow me to take all my gear for solo hikes up to a week. In winter the extra needed gear (fuel, clothing, ice axe, crampons, insulated mat, et cetera) will limit the meals I can take with approximately 3 days.
The Magnus in his natural environment in the Scottish Cairngorms National Park.

Like most army packs, it is built for personalisation by means of add-ons, using various techniques like Velcro and Molle.
My first add-on is the water bladder pouch, with a 3 liter bladder, which can be hung into the pack with existing attachments and feeding the tube through a dedicated port.
The IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) is a very practical one. It consists out of two parts: a molle holder attached to the pack, and a detachable snap-buckle pouch.
There are several internal stuff bags as well that velcro onto anyplace inside the pack.
Fenix has hooking straps to mount things like your mat or sleeping bag on the outside of the pack, using special loops.
All in all, this is a pack with hidden modern features providing the extras that can make life easier on the trail.

See how I pack this backpack on my YouTube channel.


Fenix Protector is a European business, developing and manufacturing equipment for extreme conditions for more than 25 years. It’s owner Martin Hanuš, has an extensive knowledge and history as it comes to mountaineering and whitewater sports.



Large Hiking Backpack 45+ liter

Here’s my second pack, a Skandika Bogong 45+10. A straight forward pack with lots of compression straps and seperate compartments, making it versatile. It’s easily adjustable to your size. It’s a mid-weight pack, at 2kg. Top and front loading, with the option of dividing the maincompartment in two. It has a raincover in a pocket underneath the pack. The option to employ extra space is a plus. It has no belt pockets, but the brains compartment is big! (The amount of zips and straps can be slightly impractical, and some of the zippers don’t run as smooth as you’d want.)
It is tailored slim and high, especially with the hood/brains fully packed, making it very usefull for alpine sports.
Overall, this is a decent versatile pack at a very fair price!
Approximately €130

These 50 liters, allow me to take all my gear for solo hikes up to a week. In winter the extra needed gear (fuel, clothing, ice axe, crampons, insulated mat, et cetera) will limit the meals I can take with approximately 3 days.


Frameless Hiking Daypacks/Summitpacks 28 & 18 liter

These are my two ultra lightweight Vaude Rupal Light backpacks, for alpine climbing and sporty mountain tours. I use the 18 liter Rupal Light and the 28 liter Rupal Light version. These have all the functionality I need. Made out of strong material, but yet very lightweight.
Looking for a pack to do dashes onto mountain tops, I found these awesome packs. Light enough to carry as extra load in my bigger pack and functional enough to take all the necessary gear on alpine day trips. I typically carry a hydration system, an ice axe, a ice pick, crampons, a helmet, a PLB, clothing layers, cooking gear and food. During the cold season I carry less clothing layers inside the pack, which enables me to use the smaller pack.
These packs offer superior freedom of movement, even when fully packed.

  • Joint (similar) features
  • Ultralight backpack designed for Alpine Climbing, Mountaineering and Via Ferrata.
  • Molded padding stripes at back.
  • Drawstring flap closes the pack quickly.
  • Outer zip pocket.
  • Side compression straps.
  • Lightweight siliconized fabric.
  • Reflective elements.
  • Opening for hydration system.
  • Back ventilation with large central ventilation channel.
  • Water repellent finish Eco Finish.
  • Load range: 3 – 8 kg.
  • 18 LITER PACK features:
  • Wide,vest-like ErgoShape shoulder harness for a stable fit.
  • Stowable top compression strap / rope holder.
  • Stretch mesh pocket on shoulder belt for a phone/personal location beacon, gels, bars etc.
  • Glove-fixation at shoulder belt.
  • Attachment point for ice tools.
  • Removable webbing hip belt.
  • Weight: 510 g.
  • Volume: 18 l.
  • Dimensions: 52 x 24 x 22 cm.
  • Approximately €105
  • 28 LITER PACK features:
  • ErgoShape shoulder straps for optimal freedom of movement.
  • Pack stability and good carrying comfort with two adjustable aluminum bars.
  • aluminium bars removable to reduce weight.
  • attachment point for ice tools with picksleeve.
  • Wider webbing hip belt.
  • Weight: 610 g.
  • Volume: 28 l.
  • Dimensions: 54 x 26 x 22 cm.
  • Approximately €125


Vaude is a environmentally friendly German company striving for climate-neutrality for all their products.


Chestpack


I use a chestpack, al-the-time and everywhere, with all the essentials, should something bad happen.

Default, my chestpack contains the following items:
Kase Wolverine K100 filter set
Zoleo PLB & Satellite Messenger
Fenix PD32 Flashlight
Pains Wessex Compact Distress Signals
Aviator card wallet
– Victorinox Trailmaster pocket knife
– Cold Steel SRK camp knife
– Victorinox knife sharpener
– Suunto Compass
– Camera Batteries & Memory Cards
– Remotes for my cameras
– GoPro wrenches
– Mini Towl / Lens cloth
– Headnet
– Sharpie
– iPhone 12 Pro


HuckePacks BeiPack Lite & Sacocche Lite

<- BeiPack Lite & Sacocche Lite ->

These two versatile packs are part of the HuckePacks Lite line (ofwhich the Phoenix backpack with Hipbelt+ is number one on my wishlist). Made out of wear-resistant and waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabric, they are ultralight and extremely durable. Their minimalistic, but practical design allows them to be an asset as allround add-ons. Both are feature Dyneema Composite Fabric Woven and YKK Aquaguard zippers. For those who you have the need to tweak these packs, HuckePacks has a ‘Special’ line.
Although not (yet) seam sealed, these packs protect their content well in a medium rain conditions.

The BeiPack Lite is 2 liter sack that can be attached as add-on to all backpacks in an instant, or be worn as fanny pack. I typically use this as a utility pocket carrying a camera, PLB and snacks. It has the absolute ideal practical dimensions for those aiming to go ultralight and only weighs 40 grams. It comes with a 25mm hipbelt that has an strong yet light Aero buckle.

The Sacoche Lite comes with an ultralight shoulder strap and an inner hook for key attachment. It attaches very well both inside as on the outside of backpacks and can even be worn as a utility pocket on it’s own. I use this for my phone, passport, travel documents and maps. The two outer pockets are of different sizes. On the photograph it holds my iPhone 11 for reference. The overall design is very flat, well proportioned (20x20cm) and weighs a mere 33 grams, with durable mesh and 10mm webbing with release buttons.


HuckePacks is a small shop in Germany by Mateusz Szultk. His mission is to provide Ultra Light backpacks and equipment. Or as he says:
‘A necessity became a hobby, a hobby became a passion and a passion became a calling.’
Combine that with German precision and quality and you can’t go wrong!


MiniMeis G4 Children Carrier
& Backpack

carrier

The MiniMeis G4 mimicks carrying a child on your shoulders, but does it in a safer and far more comfortable for both you and the child. The MiniMeis Backpack attaches to the carrier, or, it can hold the folded carrier and/or all essentials you need to have with you. The carrier folds into a 30x30cm package, weighing 1 kg.
I use this on rather flat ground. Although it is far safer and comfortable than having a child on your shoulders, it has some of the same disadvantages. The danger of low hanging branches is one you need to be aware of, as is tripping over or falling. Your balance will be influenced by it’s height. As the carrier is rated to suit 6 months – 5 year olds, these disadvantages only seem appearant when nearing the max load of 22 kg.
Most children love this carrier, as they get to see far more than in most other carriers! As you do not carry your child on your back, you can maneuver easily even in the busiest streets, markets, shops and festivals. The last big advantage over other carriers is that it gets far less hot, for you and your child, because it hardly covers your back.

backpack

Travel Bags

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 120 liter Trolley

The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 120 liter, now has a telescoping trolley handle! The Cargo Hauler allready was one of my favourites, but now the bag benefits from the handle construction adding bottom stiffness. It provides a rigid protected place between the rails to pack longer items. I use it for my fishing rods, bow, arrows and tracking poles.
The bag has all the grab- and haul handles you’d need, plus lashpoints to secure it. The water repellent fabric is reinforced in all the nessecary places, making it a reliable and durable bag, that handles the rigors of outdoor usage very well. My ‘Pack-It Gear Protect-It Cube’, loaded with my camera gear fits neatly in the top compartment of the Cargo Hauler.

Me and the Cargo Hauler waiting, in the rain, to be picked up for a new adventure.

Pack-It Gear Protect-It Cube

This water repellent Protect-It Gear Cube, with it’s padded interior and removable internal dividers is great for storing my camera, filters and other equipment. It’s durable and has proper handles. This is no fiddly stuff, but a serious protective bag. Specs: 36 x 26 x 13 cm, 12 liter and 460 grams.

Pack-It Isolate Quick Trip XS

A neat little toiletry bag is the perfect minimalist size. It has an exterior zippered pocket, in addition to two main compartments. I use it to pack away toiletries and my travel pharmacy. Specs: 20 x 10 x 6 cm, 1,8 liter and 41 grams.


Dry Bags


.HF Dry Bags

These are the dry bags that I carry behind my kayak seat. Solid, reinforced, dubble sided coating, sonically sealed, heavy duty PVC. These will last and can take the pressure.
I like the loop on the bottom to secure them in the boat, so I can access my stuff without taking the bag out of the boat. Ø 19 cm, H 40 cm.


Supplied by Kanocentrum Arjan Bloem.


Waterproof Waist Pack by Aquapac

This is my every day carry bum bag (fanny pack / belt bag / moon bag / belly bag) Whether inside or outside of the boat, this is where my personal essentials are. Rugged, dry and secure, easy to carry, easy to attach in the kayak and worth seeing. It has a IPx6 internal volume of 3 liters, including the easy access IPx3 frontpocket. There is a small zippered mash pocket and carabiner inside of the main compartment. The features:

  • Tough 500D polyester-reinforced PVC tarpaulin
  • Velcro strip roll closure
  • Splashproof quick-access pocket
  • Internal zippered pocket
  • The comfortable, breathable mesh padding
  • Matt black, with reflective strip
  • Weight: 370g

Drybags by Aquapac

Simple, heavyweight drybags with shoulder strap . These bags are of a super-rugged construction. Made out of 500D polyester-reinforced PVC tarpaulin, they can take a beating and will not easily damage.
To secure your stuff, roll the top down 3 times and lock the closure.
In the event this IPx6 dry bag gets punctured are otherwise damaged, they are easy to patch (PVC). These bags come in 4 sizes and 2 colours.

Waterproof Duffle Bag by Aquapac

My 70 liter heavyweight IPx6 waterproof duffle bag . Either to keep water out and protect my dry gear in wet conditions, or to keep water in under dry conditions (to protect the car interior, f.i.). With their Velcro and double strap/buckle closure these duffle bags will do their job. I throw these around whilst loaded to the brim. Being made out of the same 500D polyester-reinforced PVC tarpaulin as my dry bags, the are equally strong and durable. These too are easy to patch (PVC) if needed. The neon colour limits the amount of sun-heat they catch.


Aquapac is a European business specialising in innovative waterproof cases, bags and packs.

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