Judy Armstrong reviews a durable pack with a detachable lid, great for carrying heavier loads.

This review is part of our women’s day packs gear guide, and was first published in the July 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.

  • Weights: from my digital scales, brands’ weights in brackets
  • Test load: 3.5kg up to 30 litres, 6kg 30+ litres

Trea Guide uses the most robust fabric I have ever seen on a day pack. A 5000mm water column makes it effectively waterproof and the roll-top internal closure reinforces that. A large lid is height-adjustable and detachable, over the roll-top closure, with a drawcord; and yes, all this is a fiddle to deal with if you’re not using the pack in wet conditions. A chunky side zip also allows access to the main compartment; once I had the pack loaded I used this as it was quicker. There is plenty of ‘stuff’ on the outside with webbing and cord loops front and side, and gear loops on the hipbelt; plus two ice axes can be carried on the front, using Velcro tabs and a small ‘garage’ on the lower front. The rugged Triton nylon allows skis to be carried down the sides, secured by compression traps. There are no external pockets except for the cavernous lid, which has pockets both sides. A hydration pouch in the main body is a good shape and position (not too wide or low) with a central exit to route the tube down either shoulder strap.

Given the heavy-duty nature of this pack, it is no surprise that it carries loads with ease. An internal aluminium frame in a butterfly shape is teamed with a solid back panel. Shoulder straps attach at the right height for top tension straps to be effective, with good shaping and enough padding for a positive fit and carry. The sternum strap slides easily. The hipbelt is a cracker: a slight swivel under the central pad, side micro- adjustment, a hip-friendly curve with plenty of rigidity to load-bear without sagging, and a smooth inner face with stretch fabric on the upper section plus nylon at the base to defeat friction. All good. Except for one hitch: four small pads on the back panel, which hold the pack proud of the wearer, have only a minimal amount of ‘give’ (by which I mean: verging on hard). Wearing this over a thin base layer required very careful adjustment to avoid the sensation of a bent knuckle being dug into my shoulder blades from the top two pads. Over multiple layers it wasn’t an issue. Same applies to the hipbelt: I’ve never been described as slim, but the hipbelt couldn’t tighten any smaller over a base layer; again, less of an issue over multiple layers.

This pack would be a winner for carrying heavy, compact loads in wet or snowy conditions. For hillwalking in moderate weather, though, it may be overkill.