5 out of 5 on features and comfort.
5 out of 5 on weight.
** [review update (May 2012) - I took the Freeflow on a 4 day trip to Rum and it carried all the stuff I needed it to. The stow / expansion side pockets were really handy and I got lots in there. Great balance with sack crossing the Cuillins.]**
I already have a pretty good day / rucksack and it has some nice features like the hydration pouch pocket but it is on the small size, so gets a bit tight in there when I add in stuff I want to take on longer hikes, like my DSLR camera and waterproofs etc. I was contacted recently by simplyhike.co.uk as they’d seen my blog and liked it (cheers guys). And on the back of that they sent me the Berghaus Freeflow 25+5 rucksack to test out.
I spent some of today trying it out up on the moors. Okay, whilst you don’t really get a full ‘road test’ of any equipment in one day and / or one set of conditions, I’m really pleased with it. I’m off to Rum with some (much more hikier/ fitter) mates in May and it will be spot-on for that, as I’ll have more gear with me I think. Definitely my ‘big’ camera and maybe even poles (which the Freeflow has straps for, unlike my existing rucksack).
One really nice feature of the Freeflow 25+5 is that it has an adjustable back length system. I’ve had back issues for years on and off (schooldays rugby, mountain fall, bad posture and too many pies : in that order) so this caught my eye. Again, too early to say if this ergonomic feature will really help my intermittent back issues but it did feel really comfortable once I had it set up how I wanted it. It also has padded shoulder straps with something called EVABreathe foam – which should mean less overheating / perspiration in warmer weather. And it feels really light – 1.4 kg according to the labeling.
Finally a quick word on simplyhike.co.uk : The rucksack itself could have come from a range of online retailers of course but what was genuinely nice about getting it from them was the delivery service. Because we’re out during the day the courier (DPD) couldn’t leave the parcel, so one of the customer service people at simplyhike (Becky) asked me what redelivery options I wanted. And liaised with the couriers to leave the parcel the next day in a safe place. Better than some delivery services I’ve used where you have to drive to another town and depot to pick up a missed item. So top marks on that one. Finally – and again not related to the product as such but I like the simplyhike website having product videos on there (e.g for the Freeflow rucksack : http://www.simplyhike.co.uk/products/Berghaus/Freeflow25Plus5Rucksack-JetBlackCoal.aspx#Videos). No, they haven’t asked me to say that, I just liked that feature!
The walk itself was really nice today – crisp clear air and blue skies – roll on spring!
I had a quick break before heading on, at a viewing point known locally as The Three Trees. Because there are three trees overlooking the valley here. Only one in evidence with this photo of Brodie though. And this isn’t a great ‘testing out some kit’ type photo and definitely not an action shot but the Freeflow rucksack is in shot also