VauDe Brenta 42
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $59
This is a great pack for overnight or lightweight weekend excursions. It maintains a good balance between weight and features/comfort. The Brenta is well-made and well-designed by the engineers in Germany at Vaude.
- Great weight-to-comfort ratio
- Tough; well-built
- Fully adjustable
- Lack of water bottle pockets
I used this pack on a 3-day climbing/backpacking trip. The first day I had the pack loaded down with sport climbing gear (draws, rope, harness, shoes, etc.) along with other essentials. The pack performed very well for being weighed down during the couple mile approach. The pack was very comfortable on the back and stayed secure during scrambling, and the load was distributed well to the hips which helped with balance on sketchy steps (it fit very well, as the torso length is fully adjustable, along with the hip belt, sternum strap, shoulder straps, and tension on the mesh back panel).
Rain on the second day dictated that our trip turn into a backpacking outing, which provided an opportunity to test the practicality of the pack for other purposes. Then the pack was packed to the brim with lightweight gear, filling the full 42 litres over which the built-in (removable) rain cover was placed. The rain cover worked very well in hours of steady rain, sleet, and snow allowing no water to pass through to the gear underneath. The sleeping bag compartment fit my 20˚ synthetic bag perfectly in its compression bag, and during the climbing portion I stashed my climbing shoes in there instead.
The pack cinched down nicely with the side-compression straps and with the expandable side pockets collapsed for shorter hikes once camp was setup. The durability and stability of the pack came in handy with awkwardly shaped and weighted loads of firewood, and even for a big rappel while weighed down! The hip belt pockets provided easy access to my small digital camera and a couple clif bars. The lid has loops on the top for attaching rope or a sleeping pad if the 42 litres isn't quite enough space for that particular trip.
The only feud I have with the pack is that it does not have external water bottle pockets (I seem to have failed to get on board and convert to water bladders as opposed to my trusty nalgene as most backpackers have). You could stuff a nalgene into the expandable side zipper pockets, but it may not come out if the pack is filled up. The pack does, however, have a hydration bladder sleeve and exit port, which seemed to be made well enough. It also features gear loops for ice axes or trekking poles that are semi-retractable so as to not be in the way when not in use. The outer stretch pocket worked well for stuffing an extra layer when it warmed up during the day. The best feature of the pack: the included simple compass/whistle/thermometer(˚C), of course!
Bottom Line: I dragged this pack across rock; bushwhacked through heavy brush; hiked in rain, sleet, and snow; and through it all it exceeded my expectations in comfort, functionality, and durability. This is a high-quality pack.
50 cm x 32 cm x 19 cm