With a stiff curved frame and wide hipbelt, the Wilderness is designed to handle heavy loads and it does so well. There’s minimal back padding, just at the shoulder blades and lumbar region. This leaves an air gap in the centre of the back that allows for good ventilation. The thick padding and curve of the hipbelt means it’s very comfortable and supportive. The back is adjustable, the shoulder harness sliding up and down the frame.
For once the +15 in the name doesn’t refer to the extension on the inner (which is quite short) but to the two big bellows pockets on the sides and when these are used the pack is roomy. The side compression straps run over these pockets but can be left loose so they don’t interfere with the zips. Access to the load is excellent as there’s a lower compartment and a front panel. There’s no front pocket, which I miss, but otherwise the pack layout is very good. The texturized fabric feels tough and should last well.
The Wilderness isn’t very light but the price is less than some alternatives and good for a top quality, well-designed pack.
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Reviewed in October 2015 issue