Review of backpack model ‘XPLORE 55’ manufactured by Adventure Worx
The backpack that I reviewed is a 55-litre pack, in yellow and black colour combination.
Plus points and possible areas for improvement
My review is in two sections:
- My comments against product information as it appears on website of Adventure Worx is in italics
- My additional comments are given in the end
My comments against product information as it appears on website of Adventure Worx
- A lightweight multi-day pack for extended adventures
The polyester fabric of this backpack is value for money.
- Roomy top-loaded main compartment with draw cord closure.
I found the extension to the main compartment to be of the right size vis-à-vis size of the lid/hood. The draw cord buckles are big enough for gloved fingers.
- Pack can be split into two compartments or use a single with unzipping the partition
Works great for me – I prefer to use a single compartment but like to have the partition just in case I find use for the separation. A large sleeve pocket inside the main compartment is good for packing paperwork and thin items.
- Sleeping bag compartment has its own zipper so you can pop your sleeping bag out fast to set up camp or take a nap under a tree or meadow en route for a breather and take in the views
Good feature. The movement of the slider with the help of its pull-tabs is smooth.
- Hydration compatible internal sleeve and hose port
- Top and bottom compression straps to make the pack fit snugly
- Hood can be adjusted to compress the main compartment.
Hood is sewn in at the rear, so the only adjustment over a loaded back is possible with the quick-release buckles that can be adjusted easily with the help of their tapes. For a less-than-fully-packed pack, when the hood is cinched down, the sides of the hood tend to fan out a bit – maybe elastic used at the hem of the hood may do away with that aspect.
- Spacious hood compartment with zipper to store quick access items like rain jackets, towels, etc.
- Hidden zipper pouch in hood to store wallets, cards, ID card, etc.
Good feature. Special mention: there is a stitched-in fold in the fabric of this pocket which increases its capacity.
- Bungee cord feature on top of hood to store jacket
- AerWireTech back system for cooling sweaty back and easy load management on shoulders
I found this feature to be excellent. The rods help in reducing weight (as compared to internal staves) and also keep the pack away from one’s back which helps in ventilation.
- Padded, adjustable waist belt with pockets to store essential for the trail – snacks, maps, and safety kit
I found the waist belt padding to be adequate. The capacious pockets on the waist belt are great and extremely convenient for small items needed on the go (lip balm, money, map, pocket knife, small snack items, etc.).
The tape (webbing) has adequate friction to hold the waist belt in place while on the move.
I liked the fact that the belt-tightening action has been shifted from the quick-release buckles to the ends of the two padded sections. This is easier for the backpacker and will encourage better use of backpack since the backpacker will more frequently adjust the waist belt to keep maximum load on the waist while walking.
I found the tapes to be unnecessarily long – some cost can be saved here!
- Padded shoulder straps with sternum strap for snug fit.
I found length and width of shoulder straps to be appropriate. Padding was adequate. Sternum strap can be adjusted vertically along shoulder belts – this makes it comfortable for persons of different size and gender.
- Load adjusters – Top load, bottom load, shoulder bone, side
This comprehensive system works well! My experience:
When I started walking with the pack on, I did the standard adjustments: waist belt, shoulder belts, and load adjuster belts. And I was not fully satisfied since I felt my backpack to be a wee bit pulling me back at the top, despite having tightened the top load adjusters. I then took off the backpack and shifted the sliding buckle on each top load strap to make more room for the top load adjuster. After that, with further tweaking of all load adjuster belts, I got the right feeling of snugness and balance with my backpack! Am writing this to emphasise that the backpacker will have to use all these features correctly in order to get it right. The system works.
- Grab handle for easy carrying
The bar-tack stitching used to attach this handle is a good feature for strength – whether it will hold long-term usage will have to be seen. The length of the grab handle is more than adequate, making for easy grab, although personally I could have done with a smaller length, but that’s just a personal preference.
- Front zipped pocket for storing essentials for quick access
Good feature. One comment to be considered: I wonder if it may be better to have a horizontal zip at the top so whatever I have stored in the pocket is sure to stay in should the zip gradually open up while on the move or, worse, is damaged rendering the pocket unusable (though I acknowledge the excellent quality of zips used).
- Inbuilt rain fly to protect the rucksack for that sudden downpour
- Compression strap at the bottom to carry sleeping mat
- Water Bottle holders on both sides
The height of the water bottle holders as well as their compression straps ensure that a water bottle has virtually no chance of falling off, which is what happens with smaller pockets. This feature is great as long as hiker ‘buddies’ access each other’s bottles so they do not have to remove the backpack in order to drink water on trail. (Pockets which are lesser in height allow one to draw out a bottle by oneself). There is a ‘tuck stitch’ in the middle of the elastic rim of each pocket which I think reinforces it without damaging the elastic in any way – good attention to detail.
- Ice-axe / walking pole holders
- Tri-colour to feel proud about a Made in India product
- High quality zips and pullers for ease of use and durability
- Made with tough polyester fabric with water resistance properties for long durable life
The fabric seems tough enough to withstand some bit of rough use that, for example, can be encountered while hiking off-trail especially in regions like Western Ghats with its thick ground cover.
- Push-gate snap hook inside zippered side pocket is a good feature for keys – something that hikers are known to spend a lot of time locating at the end of a hike!
- I liked all the buckles used: they look robust, are appropriately used according to their design and look good in terms of their colour! Careful usage of quick release buckles will help delay plastic fatigue and prolong their elasticity.
For my review of hiking pants click here.