JRC is producing some great pieces of kit these days, and after spending some time with the Contact we’ve come to see it as one of them. Looking at it loaded up, the sack doesn’t look all that ‘standout’ from the crowd, but start to have a look around and it has some good, solid touches. To start with it feels very robust. Good stitching, 500D polyester fabric construction and a waterproof bottom covering tick a lot of boxes when you’re dealing with the rigours of life out on the bank. Then there’s the storage. The central compartment offers 40 litres of space, along with six external pockets. One of the best touches is the access to the main compartment. The overhead flap zips into place either side of the opening so that all your bits and bobs will stay in place. However, the front of the flap doesn’t zip up, it just fastens via two clipped straps that run top to bottom. If you don’t bother with the straps you can still get your hand in for quick-access stuff without unzipping everything, with your gear still safe from spilling out – it makes things very quick and easy Comfort-wise, the padding on the back of the sack and on the main straps is immense. With the straps adjusted and tightened properly it felt very good in all the right places and the waist strap helps to distribute the weight a bit better too. The inclusion of two bars down the back of the bag in line with the main straps – like a proper hiking rucksack – mean that the whole thing also keeps its shape well. We really like this rucksack.
Pros Robust and simple, this is an old-school angler’s bag with loads of comfort. Cons Not sure how long the padding on the back will take to compress. Test Result Loaded with weight the bag sat well on the back and over the walk felt well positioned and very comfortable.
THE NUMBERS Capacity: 40 litres Dimensions: 53 x 30 x 30cm
Although storage and capacity are huge things when it comes to the right rucksack, for most of us in a live fishing situation, it’s the comfort factor of a bag that really makes a difference. A 20kg load can feel twice that when your rucksack’s slopping all over your back and your spine feels like a herd of buffalo are playing a game of bulldogs on it.
A good rucksack makes lugging loads on your back and shoulders as easy as possible and that’s what we’re looking for in the ones we’re getting to grips with.
To be fair, there are no specific, calculable measurements of comfort that you can record, so this bit is less scientific than usual. The test was to load the rucksack with 20kg of weight, strap it on and walk for half a mile – a bit more than many anglers would travel by foot to a swim, but we’re all about putting the leg work in here at ACF.
The comfort ratings we gave each bag are then based on how we felt after the walk.