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Berghaus Vapour 20 pack review

18:46 29th August 2013 By Fi Spotswood
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The Berghaus Vapour 20 is a good looking pack with a lot of room for storing gear and a large opening roll top like a drybag. We were expecting great things, but our tester has serious reservations.

The Vapour 20 in all its glory.

The Vapour 20 in all its glory.

The Vapour 20 is a large bag and made from thin, flexible fabric. It offers a large opening space at the top and decent sized side pockets for snacks plus very good deep side elasticated pockets for bottles. These were particularly welcomed after having trekked this summer with skinny bottle openings on bags that don’t take bottles big enough for the hot weather. I managed a 1.5 litre bottle in this pack. The compression fitments were also useful when the pack wasn’t stuffed full, to keep the bulk at a minimum.

Other plus points were the weight – it felt light weight and was clearly well designed with comfort in mind. The padded insert that protects your back can double up to a comfy seat/bum pad although I’m sure keen mountain marathon racers would also consider it ample to sleep on! I used it for trekking and also cycling at night, however. The reflective strips were handy and the straps were easily adjustable to prevent the bulk rubbing on my neck when on the bike.

However, despite these good points, the Vapour has a host of negatives too. The first is the roll top closure. Ultimately, zips are so much easier if full closure is required, or even the usual drawstring closure of most packs would have been easier to manage. In fairness the clip closure will probably outlast any zip, but it just seemed like an unnecessary feature that created faff rather than avoided it. It made access to the pack tricky and slow, although admittedly it did mean the contents could be squashed down easily during packing, which was ok as long as regular access is not required (which would mean the roll, squash, clip, close performance needed repeating).

Also, the 2 small metal poles on the back that add rigidity are not really necessary, although when taken out, which I did almost straight away, they make the fitting of the back compression straps tricky.

Finally, and crucially, the integral water bottle is annoying. The water bottle comes with the pack and lies horizontally at the bottom of the back, accessed from the outside. It seems like a great idea but I never used it – it’s easier to use a bladder. Also, when the bag is put down it’s always dumped on the bottle and in time this could cause damage and a leak.

Verdict

Although clearly a lot of thought has gone into this pack, it feels over-designed with features that are more about form than function. The roll top closure is annoying and the integral waterbottle fiddly and a recipe for leaks long term.

↑The good

  • Lightweight fabric
  • Roomy side pockets
  • Removable back pad doubles as a seat

↓The not-so-good

  • Roll top closure slow and fiddly
  • Integral bottle a recipe for leaks

Score: 6/10

The Facts

What Berghaus says about the Vapour 20: Stay fast, light and comfortable on your next trail run while keeping all your essentials at hand with the Vapour Light 20 Daysack. Part of the Vapour Light range, this pack is tailored to the adventure race athlete. The pack has been designed for single day or overnight events where the kit list is smaller or you have more packable kit. A bottle is included.

Open Gallery 5 Images

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