Chris Townsend reviews a durable 50+5-litre pack for heavy loads.

This review is part of our mid-size packs gear guide, and was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Great Outdoors.

The Alptrek 50 is made from tough fabric and has a harness that will support fairly heavy loads. Salewa don’t give a maximum recommended weight but I’ve found the pack fine with 15-18kg. It is quite heavy for the size though – the +5 refers to when the extension sleeve at the top of the pack is used, which makes for a load that is too high and rather unstable so it’s not something to be done unless essential. Effectively it’s a 50 litre pack.

There’s only one frame size but the harness length is adjustable by sliding the shoulder yoke along the frame bars. Velcro then holds the yoke in position. The pack fits me in the middle of the adjustment range. The hipbelt is well-padded but not as stiff as it could be to support the heaviest loads. The pack sits close to the back and stability is good.

At first glance the pack appears to have a zipped front panel. Actually only the lower part of the main compartment zips open.

The upper zips are for the big bellows side pockets. These also have zips at the top so can be opened there or down the whole length. They stretch almost the full length of the pack and so are quite roomy. There’s no front pocket, which I miss. Instead there’s a long piece of shockcord. The stretch lower side pockets will hold 1 litre water bottles. The Alptrek is a cross between a traditional alpine mountaineering pack and a modern-style backpacking one. It does both jobs okay but has features that aren’t ideal for either. It is comfortable to carry though and should last well.