Chris Townsend tests a selection of versatile rucksacks ideal for backpacking or hut-to-hut trips

The new Savant 48 isn’t as light as some of the packs tested, due to heavier fabrics and components, but it’s just as comfortable with a 15kg load, just as well-designed and a fair bit cheaper – making it great value for money. There’s a thin wire frame and a fairly stiff ribbed foam back panel to support the load and transfer weight to the wide hipbelt, which is flexible enough to adapt to the shape of your hips. A zipped front panel gives excellent access to the contents of the main compartment, though virtually all gear you’ll need during the day can be packed in the roomy pockets. The long front panel zip has a cover but I wouldn’t rely on this keeping rain out – there is a removable rain cover in the back of the front pouch. The lid pocket has a neat design with a roll-over flap covering the watertight zip and taped seams so it is effectively waterproof. The capacity is enough for summer overnights and longer trips with very compact gear.

Reviewed May 2010