A superb rucksack for backpacking

The Paragon 68 is a very comfortable and stable pack that I think has the best combination of weight, features and load handling of all the packs reviewed. For the capacity and the amount of weight it can carry it’s quite lightweight. Gregory gives 23kg as the recommended maximum load. Actually it’ll easily handle 25kg and probably more. Only a few packs reviewed have a more substantial harness and they are heavier and smaller.

The Paragon 68 comes in two sizes and both the shoulder harness and hipbelt can be adjusted for length. The hipbelt is thick and firm too, spreading the weight over the hips. The mesh back panel helps reduce dampness. I particularly like the grippy silicone lumbar pad which stops the pack sliding down. The pack fits closely and stability is good.

The pockets are roomy – you can shove a tent into the front one. I like having two external lid pockets rather than one outside and one inside. The smaller one is ideal for wallet and keys. The larger one has a zip around three sides making access very easy. The zipped hipbelt pockets can be moved when you alter the length of the hipbelt. The hydration sleeve can be removed and used as a small daypack. It has a drawcord closure, lightly padded shoulder straps and even a zip pocket – the latter can of course be used inside the main pack. If you want to save a little more weight – it’s 120g – you can leave it at home as you can the 112g rain cover that lives in the zipped front pocket.