I’ve had my hiking pack for over three years now and it’s certainly been places. That pack and I have been to Everest Base Camp twice and it’s had lots of ‘stuff’ stuffed into it. It’s been drenched in the Himalayan monsoon, it’s been covered in snow and it’s been carried, dropped, pushed and just about kicked, all over the mountains. Not to mention being used as a pillow when I had to sleep in the hotel car park after the major earthquake in April this year.
But there comes a time when a pack has to make way for a newer version – and that’s what’s just happened to my trusty red pack. It’s done a brilliant job and it will certainly see a lot more service in the future, but for my current purposes it’s a bit too big.
I’m training for the Cape to Cape walk in the south west of Western Australia next month and am doing some day walks on the Bibbulmun Track in preparation, so I needed a pack that would suit the purpose.
I needed a smaller pack but one that still had the required number of pockets and the features that are necessary when out hiking. I did my research, listened to other hikers, figured out the features from my bigger pack that I still wanted on a smaller one and came to my conclusion.
My choice was the Osprey Sirrus 24, a 24 litre daypack designed specifically for women that comes in different back lengths. I’m somewhat vertically challenged so I needed the extra small/small length and it fits me beautifully with the hip belt sitting just where it should.
This smart pack has lots of features that make a hiker’s/trekker’s life easy and most of them were on my ‘must have’ list:
- Trekking pole attachments – so handy when you’re not using the poles.
- Side mesh pockets to hold water bottles.
- Zippered hip belt pockets – perfect for holding tissues, lip balm, sunscreen etc.
- Integrated rain cover – essential.
- Removable sleeping pad straps – not sure these are really necessary as this pack isn’t big enough to use if you’re carrying sleeping bags and camping gear, but I guess they could come in handy.
- Ice tool attachment – hmmm.
- Upper side compression straps.
- Emergency whistle built into the sternum strap buckle.
You have options with this pack when it comes to hydration. It has the two side mesh pockets which will easily hold a litre water bottle on each side but it also has an in built hydration sleeve with duel reservoir exit ports allowing you to carry a 3 litre reservoir instead.
One of my specific requirements when looking for a new pack was good ventilation between my back and the pack – there’s nothing worse than a sweaty back!
The back panel of the Osprey Sirrus is engineered to allow airflow between the body and the pack for more comfort. The mesh backpanel provides good fit and support at the same time allowing good ventilation. Perfect.
A Trial run for my new Osprey
So, I’ve taken my new pack out for a couple of trial runs. The first was a beach walk a couple of weeks ago, it felt really comfortable but I didn’t used it to capacity – it was pretty empty actually. Then last weekend I did another day walk on the Bibbulmun Track and this time I really used the pack as it’s meant to be used.
I loaded up with two litres of water, lunch, snacks (chocolate of course), rain jacket, sunscreen etc. There was ample room in the pack even when I added my jacket to the pack when the weather warmed up, and I could have fit more in . Even with the weight of two full waterbottles I felt no weight on my back, the fit was great and the comfort exceptional.
A pack is personal
No pack feels the same on everyone, we all have different shaped bodies and different length backs. What fits one person may not fit another so get out to your local retailer and try a few before you decide what is right for you. I bought mine from Mainpeak in Perth who have a good range of packs – Osprey, Montane, Wilderness Equipment and Montane to name a few.
Get the right gear and your hike will run so much smoother and be so much more enjoyable.