The Girl Outdoors has been a bit quiet recently, mainly because the only downfall of actually being out and about outdoors is a lack of internet connection on remote beaches or in pineforests. Now that I am back in civilization and in possession of a laptop and WIFI I can actually start blogging about said beaches and forests, namely in Nova Scotia and Finland, starting with a review of the bit of equipment that actually got all my stuff from place to place – my gorgeous new Gelert 55l rucksack, courtesy of the friendly people at Outdoor Look (£48.15). The Gelert Wilderness is one of those backpacks that looks great and allows you to laugh at people with wheelie suitcases in a hardcore traveller kind of way, but does it do the job as well as look the part?
“The Wilderness range of Rucksacks are a highly versatile range of performance bags which have been designed to provide you with the best fit and functionality for all the uses you would expect from a backpacking range. This rucksack has a Cool Air Design for cool back comfort, padded adjustable waist belt with additional lumbar support and pull forward hip belt adjustment. Made from P600D Honeycomb Ripstop / P600D Ballistic material. A great rucksack for all you outdoor enthusiasts..”
Test 1: Packing a month’s worth of stuff for Finland
When packing stuff the 55l is a perfect space – you can get a surprising amount of balled-up clothes in and there are handy pockets scattered everywhere, including some plastic ones for liquids. The Wilderness was a godsend when I had to figure out how to take 30 days worth of casual and smart clothes and all-weather gear into one bag. It’s incredibly easy to pack, and it really is quite impressive quite how much volume can get pushed into it and still be carriable.
Test 2: Hiking in Canada
By far the best factor about the Wilderness was how cool it was to wear – the mesh padding wicks away sweat, even somewhere as muggy and mosquito-ridden as a Nova Scotian lake. The top pocket of the bag has a handy waterproof cover stowed away that takes a minute or two to put on but protects effectively. The whole thing is very comfy and feels like it molds to your back, and the hip supports stop you feeling too top-heavy.
Test 3: Travelling about on planes and trains
Besides knocking a confused Thai woman over on the tube (it takes a while to get used to the fact that you represent twice your usual body mass when strapped into a big backpack), the Wilderness was great for travelling. I took a rush-hour underground train and then wandered around the airport pretty contentedly: the straps feel secure and flexible, the rigid back of the backpack doesn’t dig in when leaning forward or moving about and the weight feels well distributed, especially when the waist straps are done up too. The only issue I really noticed was that when picking up and putting the Wilderness down often (for check in or getting on and off trains, etc) it’s easy to be lazy and hoist it onto one shoulder. By the time I got to Helsinki I’d managed to cut and bruise my left shoulder due to the weight. Best to be careful and always make sure it’s on properly and that the waist belt is done up to distribute weight evenly.
Gelert Wilderness Rucksack Review – Verdict:
A fantastic backpack for a decent price. Great for hiking in hot countries, as its breathable mesh really works and the straps and back support are very comfortable. When used properly it distributes weight really well, and it looks nice too (never a bad thing).