This is a clever piece of luggage. At a glance it looks like a fairly standard rucksack. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find a design that sees the whole back open out flat, offering four different storage compartments.
Essentially, it works by having a main section separated into two areas. At the top and bottom edges of the bag there are then two more compartments that hinge, closing over the main compartment and attaching to each other when folded up via two clip straps.
What this means is that you have a rucksack you can carry on your back as normal to your swim, and when you get there you unclip the secondary compartments and it all opens up into a holdall-style arrangement. The other clever bit we like is that when it’s all opened up, the tops of each of the four compartments are clear plastic so you can see exactly what you’re looking for straightaway.
Not only that, but to save you getting your bag dirty when you lay it down it comes with a free groundsheet (stored in a side pocket), sized perfectly to the bag. It’s all put together very well. Solid seams, heavy-duty canvas, quality fittings in terms of the clips and zips – it should last a fair number of seasons and plenty of abuse by all accounts. On the comfort front, the padding on the back of the bag is more than ample, although the main straps could do with being a bit wider to spread the load on your shoulders.
All in all a clever bag with lots of practical use out on the bank.
Pros Clever and functional with a free groundsheet and tackle box.
Cons Pricey, but it is a very good bag.
Test Result On the walk the rucksack was comfy dues to the masses of padding, but the straps could do with more width to spread the load where it’s heaviest on the shoulders.
Capacity: Around 30 litres Dimensions: 57 x 44 x 21cm (113 centimetres long when laid out opened up)
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.