Vango Khumbu 50
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Sizes: 50 Litres (+10)
Features to Note:
- Fabric: Excel® 200D Ripstop Nylon,
- Back system: Fixed, Airwave
- Pack Size: L20.0 x H67.0 x W30.0cm
- Sternum Strap
- Detachable Waist Strap
- Top lid access with buckle closure
- Twin mesh pockets
- Detachable rain cover - good fluorescent colour
- Side & Top Compression straps
- Ice Axe/Walking Pole attachment points
Vango's Khumbu 50 daypack/backpack is new for 2014 and features a refinement to the Airwave back system which, the manufacturer says, helps in venting warm air away from the body.
I've been using the Khumbu during some quite varied weather in late winter/early spring for some long day walks for which I've been carrying all of my standard 'Winter' gear.
Packing and unpacking the backpack is easy. You access the main compartment of the Khumbu via the top lid which is fastened with a buckle and has a good, wide opening.
The back system is not adjustable but you can adjust the shoulder straps and belt for a better fit. I'm 5'10' and with a pretty standard body-length - I was happy with it 'out of the box'.
Once on the Khumbu is very comfortable and sits well on your back. The back system is curved so the only points of contact are at your shoulders and the base of your spine. The back system is also tapered at the bottom/base so there is only a small area of contact with the bottom of the rucksack and the base of your spine. This allows plenty of air to circulate between your back and the rucksack and this - together presumably with the new refinement to the material used in its construction - did mean that my back remained cool and not too sweaty. I liked this.
The down side is that because the base is tapered, the rucksack always (always!) falls over when you take it off and put it on the ground. I guess most backpacks of this type do this to some extent but I'd not really noticed it before. A saving grace is that the Khumbu does have a carrying handle which you can use to pick it up again!
While the back system does have padding, the belt lacks padding of any kind. The shoulder straps are not padded at all either. For use on a a day trip, then this isn't too much of a problem and I was comfortable with my winter day walking load.
All the toggles on the fasteners are a bit too small for me and I thought they were rather fiddly and rather difficult to undo with gloved hands. In contrast, though, all the zips have bigger toggles that were much easier to grasp - even with gloved hands. So a bit inconsistent here, I thought.
There are two deep, roomy, elasticated side pockets. I stowed my OS Map in its waterproof map case (albeit folded in half) in one of these and a can of Red Bull in the other. (I don't normally drink this but I came upon a promotional 'event' during one of my Peak District trips and was presented with a can.) Perhaps more usefully, either pocket will easily accommodate a Sigg water bottle.
The lid pocket is large and roomy - I got all my 'need in a hurry' items like by Personal Location Beacon, mini tripod, clockwork head torch, (map) reading glasses, spare compass, whistle, gloves and woolly hat in with room to spare. There is also a key ring for securing your car keys, a useful addition not always present in other daypacks/backpacks I've used.
There's also an internal pocket for a water bladder and 2 x exit holes for the drinking tube - one on the left and one on the right - though bizarrely neither is large enough to get a water tube through if it has a locking tap and cover on it. (I was using one supplied by 'Source'). Having said that, the water bladder pocket itself is only half the rucksack deep - which means you can easily get your water bladder in and out without having to empty everything out of the bottom of the bag.
The capacity is 50 litres - but this can be extended to 60 litres if needed. This is more than enough for a decent day pack - even in winter.
Overall, I quite like it. It is lightweight, big and roomy and it's easy to get everything in and out. The build quality isn't the best, as there are stray bits of thread here and there - but otherwise at this price I didn't feel it had any major drawbacks.
The Khumbu is a good value, straight-forward daypack for single day trips when you need a good complement of gear (ie winter) or possibly for lightweight multi-day spring/summer trips.
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