Medium backpack for camping: Skandika Bogong reviewed

Apr 02, 2018 BY Mark Pawlak

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…

Blue version of the Skandika Bogong medium backpack a 45 + 10 rucksack

Buying a medium backpack for camping: what you need

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.

Essential

  • Medium-sized 45-60 ltrs
  • Fully adjustable to fit different back sizes
  • Full-sized belt – you’ll have some weight to carry
  • The ability to get a roll mat and/or a tent on the outside
  • Separate compartment for your dirty clothes
  • Enough space to hold a 3-season sleeping bag
  • Room for 1 change of clothes, warm kit, cooking and eating kit and admin essentials
  • Pouches or space for 2 ltrs of water
  • Tough enough fabric to take a beating

Optional

  • Expandable compartments
  • Hydro-pack compatible
  • Lightweight – but not at the expense of being tough

Skandika Bogong 45+10 reviewed: first impressions

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.

Adjustable back system on the Skandika Bogong medium rucksack
The Bogong doesn’t have the latest air-flow design, but the adjustable back system is simple and easy to use.

What I like about the Skandika Bogong

  • It’s tough (and that counts for a lot when it comes to rucksacks) – the outer material (650/300D ripstop) is very durable and while it’s strangely noisy, it’s hard wearing.
  • Packing options – you can fully open the main section without opening the lid. This way you can easily reach items buried deep in the pack, without throwing all your gear on the floor.
  • It’s wide enough to take a 3-season bag sideways – not lengthways – helping maximise space.
  • Detachable top compartment for valuables –  ok, it’s a bit over-designed with a full-sized clip and belt but still a great way to keep your valuables with you if you leave your rucksack in your tent.
  • It’s easily adjustable for height and its full-sized buckles are reassuring strong.
  • And the colour options are great, something that’s often overlooked at the budget end of camping gear.
View of the Bogong with its back zip open
The rear access made me think differently about packing and proved really handy – not so relevant was the elasticated connection to the bottom compartment which made getting to the zip awkward.

What I don’t like about the Bogong 45+10

  • There’s just too many straps and clips – while this keeps everything reassuringly tied down, if feels over built and a little fussy.
  • Elasticated bottom pouch cover – I’m not sure what function this has and it makes accessing the zip of the bottom compartment awkward.
  • Not really compatible with a hydration pack
  • It’s hefty – thanks partially to the build but also to the excessive clips and straps, this pack comes in at 2Kg.
Skandika Bogong covered in snow
The outer material is a mix of 600D/ 300D ripstop – it’s tough and held off the elements well.

Bogong 45+10: packing and prepping for a weekend camping

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.

Bogong medium rucksack in the woods packed for camping
Loaded for camping the Bogong took the weight well and was adaptable enough to take a small tent, 3-season bag and everything I needed for a night.

Using and living with the Bogong 45+10

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…

Skandika medium backpack carried in the winter
I grew to like the Bogong. It’s excellent value and proved comfortable on longer days – not a common backpack brand but still a great buy.

Summary

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

 

Camping, Hiking, Multi Activity, Overlanding, Trekking
backpack, Outdoor equipment, outdoor gear, Rucksack, Skandika Bogong
Reviews
 
     

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