Rucksacks are like boots: they have to fit. If you are buying a medium backpack for camping it needs to carry just enough weight comfortably, that’s why the Skandika Bogong 45+10 reviewed here caught my eye…
Well, as already said, what you probably don’t need is a 65-litre beast. The problem however, is that there aren’t enough medium-sized backpacks that do the job well – especially ones that are adjustable for height. Some really expensive models offer it but often you have to wait until you get the full-sized packs.
Here’s what you need from a backpack for a weekend spent camping and a look at how the Skandika Bogong 45+10 reviewed here fits the bill.
Not good, it has to be said. But first impressions can be deceptive.
Initially I thought the Skandika Bogong is an old-school rucksack that’s way too complicated. It doesn’t have one of the latest airflow back designs (although I’ve not found one of the new-style sacks that was really comfortable anyway); it’s too heavy (thanks to the design and materials) and it’s, frankly, fussy (too many straps and clips).
So not a great start. However, it wasn’t long before I started to see past the obvious and spot its qualities – and it has many.
The proof after buying a medium backpack for camping is with the loading and carrying. Ignoring style and innovation, my main question is always: Can it take the weight, comfortably?
Packed for the weekend the Skandika Bogong 45 + 10 reviewed here weighed in at 12Kg. It was easy to pack thanks to the outside opening and felt secure with the thick waist belt distributing the weight well. Height adjustment set up was also easy, although only time will tell how strong the velcro system holds.
The +10 ltrs come through the expandable sides, which open into side pockets.There’s always the difficulty packing rucksacks that have expandable panels: once the main compartment is full, there’s no room in them. However, loosen the side straps and the sides really do add volume.
Fitting my tent to the side could have been easier. If the elasticated pockets that are devised to hold snacks, phones etc were larger I could easily tuck the end of my roil mat or tent into them.
Packing to the sides you will loose the newly expanded pouches – a common issue with medium backpacks. The other options are to fasten to the underside, under the top lid or on the back. Fortunately the Skandika Bogong has webbing loops for the back, and it’s just possible to squeeze a small tent underneath.
So it works well when packing and prepping, but I needed to see how it worked in practice.
It took a few miles and a few tweaks before I started to bond with it – as with a pair of boots, it takes a little time to get to know each other. From the start the regular packing and unpacking of layers and essentials was easy, although I did find it hard to maximise the space in the side pouches, something which is key to get the most out of a medium backpack.
The tough material comes into its own brushing through woods and I got into the hang of detaching the top compartment and taking it with me when away from the tent. Still can’t call it a bum bag – or as the Americans do, a ‘fanny pack’…
With what I’d consider a maximum load, the rucksack settled well. Key in all of this is the well padded hip-supporting belt. Skandika did well to not minimise on materials here. A medium backpack loaded for a weekend camping needs to hold all of the heavy items you’d squeeze into a larger sack, so it really needs to be built to take the same pressures.
The rucksack held off rain for a decent period till I remembered to pull out the rain cover, which fitted well, and the inevitable dirt and grime of a weekend washed off with ease. I’m still not convinced it needs so many straps and clips though…
The old adage about rucksacks is true: buy a bigger one and you’ll fill it with things you don’t need.
The Bogong 45+10 reviewed here is spot on if you’re after buying a medium backpack for camping or for travelling. Actually, you could, if you pack well and stay minimal, live out of it for considerably longer. It’s tough, adaptable, well designed (ok, perhaps a bit over engineered) and delivers on the ground, doing its job well. Going back to what’s most important: it’s comfortable fully-loaded and that’s what really matters.
And I had to find out what a Bogong is. Mount Bogong is the highest mountain in Victoria, Australia. Now you know.
Ok, it’s not a modern design, but using it proved to me that it really doesn’t need to be. And the real bonus is the price. Retail is €129 (approx £115) but can be found for cheaper via the Skandika Amazon shop, with the price down to a very decent €89 (£78). Skandika do an excellent range of tents, and we’ve reviewed a few.
I hope you found this review of the Skandika Bogong 45+10 useful. If you’d like to know more go to: www.skandika.com/bogong-45-10