During our hike up to the top of Brown Willy, my girlfriend and I took our new Quechua Forclaz 40 Air Hiking Backpack with us to make sure we could carry the things we needed for a day’s trek. It really was the perfect accompaniment. I was so impressed with the packs great performance, features and price tag (under £30!) I thought I’d write a review of it.
This backpack is brilliant for organising all of your gear. Although it’s a top loader, the bag has a wide opening which makes it easy to get in and out of. It has loads of space inside the main compartment; we had clothing, coats, lunch and snacks and still had plenty of room for more. For our valuables, there are multiple compartments which makes organising everything a piece of cake! There is an outer pocket (located on the lid), which was great for storing our map and retrieving it quickly. There is also an internal pocket directly against the back panel. This is great for putting in a laptop or tablet as it’s pretty flat, but close to your back, therefore very difficult for anyone to take it out without you noticing.
What we found useful were the deep, stretchy mesh pockets on either side, which fit our water bottles perfectly- both pockets secured the bottles well and made it easy for us to grab them as and when we needed a drink. Totally ideal for this sort of hike. Inside the back is a smaller pocket – we stored our wallets and the van keys in there so we wouldn’t have to rummage in the main compartment. My favourite section was the small pocket on the waist belt. This was so handy and useful to put a phone, GPS or snacks in.
All of the pockets are placed around the bag really well so when any of them are full, they don’t dig in to you. Although we only hiked for the day, there is definitely enough room to store a light weight tent and sleeping bag. On the rear of the pack are two adjustable loops which have been specifically designed for attaching your walking poles – a great idea!
Yes, this bag is definitely comfortable to wear. My girlfriend had it on for most of the hike and didn’t even complain once; that’s got to be a good indicator about how comfy it is to wear! The straps are really well padded over the shoulders, plus there is an adjustable chest strap and also an adjustable waist strap which distribute the weight / load of the bag contents really well. This makes it a lot less likely to hurt your back. There are also thumb loops too, which is a nice little extra feature.
What I really love about the bag is the ventilated foam back. Because there is a mesh layer and a vented foam design between the back panel of the bag and your back, it really is a very comfortable pack to wear. This clever design is really firm but also soft and will stop things in your bag jabbing into your back. Due to the mesh and foam materials this back ventilation feature hardly adds any weight to the pack. It also regulates heats and stops you getting too hot as the foam and mesh let air circulate, keeping your back nice and cool.
The Quechua Forclaz 40 Air Hiking Backpack is absolutely brilliant, mainly for shorter trips away because of its 40.5 litre capacity. The backpack has a lightweight design and as mentioned before, you can organise your gear effectively. It is excellent for travelling, is easy to flat pack for storing and it can be compressed to take on board a plane as hand luggage. The bag also comes in two different colour schemes: vermilion and also steel grey. I chose the orange one, as I thought it would really stand out on the hills and could be a useful safety feature.
Although the weather was absolutely glorious when we first used the bag to walk up Brown Willy, the Forclaz is waterproof and will be great for future trips around Cornwall and beyond, where I doubt we will have such good luck with the rain!
I know this pack is the perfect addition to my ever growing pile of camping and hiking equipment. I have a feeling I will get lots of use out of it. This backpack is superb value for money, a really worthy purchase. A definite recommendation to hikers in search of quality at a great price.