The Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail is a well-specified pack that carried loads well and it is made from PFC-free recycled fabric. However, it’s also heavy and expensive. This pack has been featured in our guide to the best backpacking packs.
Price: $249.95 | £245 (available from Jack Wolfskin)
Weight: 2170g | Capacity: 55 + 5 litres | Materials: recycled polyamide shell, polyester lining | Closure: detachable lid, zipped front panel | Back: adjustable, X frame, framesheet, padded panels | Hipbelt: padded, shaped | Pockets: zipped inner and outer lid, 2 stretch mesh side, stretch mesh front, zipped hipbelt | Features: lower compartment, rain cover in base, side compression straps, ice axe/trekking pole loops, inner hydration sleeve | Sizes: 1 men adjustable 46-58cm, 1 women adjustable (Highland Trail 50 + 5) XS-M | Women’s version: yes
It comes in one size for men and one size for women – the last with a lower 50+ 5 litre capacity, a lower, though still heavy, weight of 2000 grams and a lower, though still high, cost of £220. Both packs have adjustable backs so the fit can be fine-tuned. This isn’t as good as having different actual back lengths though, which would be good to see, especially given the price.
The back system is the stiffest of the packs tested, which is good for support but not so good for moving with you. The X-shaped frame and solid framesheet transfer the weight well to a large, thickly padded hipbelt. The shoulder straps have thick padding too as does the big lower back and lumbar pad. All the padding is covered with mesh for a degree of breathability. This hefty back system certainly carries heavy loads well, as it should.
The body of the Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail has a lower zipped compartment with a removable panel separating it from the main compartment. There’s also a zipped front panel so access to the pack is excellent. You can get any gear out without having to open the top of the pack. The stretch mesh pockets are big, but the side ones come up too high for access when wearing the pack. There is an extension to one of the hipbelt pockets for carrying a water bottle, but I don’t find the weight or position of a bottle there very comfortable.
In the base, there’s a detachable rain cover. This weighs 140 grams so some weight could be saved by leaving it behind. This still leaves a heavy pack though.
Overall, there’s little wrong with the Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail over than the weight. But that is a big factor when there are lighter packs that perform as well. If the price was low that could cancel out the weight factor to some extent, but this was also the most expensive men’s pack tested.
To read the other pack reviews in this test head to The Great Outdoors‘ best backpacking packs.