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Macpac Torlesse 60

Review by planetFear
Tuesday 26th September 2006

Designed as a multi use pack the Macpac Torlesse is a well made piece of kit that I expect will still be going strong in 10 years time (my 15 year old VauDe is still with me, but alas is as uncomfortable as a supermarket trolley!). It comes in 2 colours, copper or charcoal, and 3 sizes: 50l, 55l and 60l. The model on test is the largest and retails at £119.99.

The most distinctive feature of the pack is the superbly padded waist belt and shoulder straps. It has obviously been designed to carry heavy loads over long distances. The pack arrived with the waist belt set at its lowest setting which meant that the whole thing sat very high on my back. It took less than a minute to suss the Velcro adjustment strap and raise the belt, thus lowering the pack into a more comfortable position. Likewise the shoulder straps will retract or extend with the adjustment of a couple of buckles just inside the main compartment. Once adjusted I loaded it up with a double rack of climbing gear, two ropes, boots, harness, helmet, a litre of water, SLR camera and spare lenses, and some spare clothes and headed out cragging. Sure I was slower than my partner on the walk in, but then he wasn’t carrying anything! All in all it was a comfortable load carry.

The Torlesse has a lot of features (more in a moment). They come, however, at a price. At 2.7kg the pack is significantly heavy! With airlines such as Ryanair clamping down on baggage weight limits this may prove to be a serious factor to consider when buying a pack for travelling overseas. An empty Torlesse accounts for over one sixth of your check-in baggage weight with Ryanair! So on to the features:

It not only has the regular top opening into the main compartment, but also front and bottom zipped openings. The front zip has a fairly large flat zipped pocket built in too which is particularly useful for keeping waterproofs to hand. The bottom opening is accessed by a zip at around 1/3 height. Inside the pack at the same height is a second zip to secure a roll-away divider flap which separates the main compartment into two distinct zones. All the zips have functioned perfectly well under test.

The lid features two pockets, one accessible from the outside, and one on its underside. It is also extendable in the event of large loads. There are two generous compression straps on each side easily long enough for a Thermarest or small tent, and a pair of buckle operated compression straps on the bottom compartment, also big enough for a well packed 2-man tent. The front features a heavy duty daisy chain for fixing extra stuff to the outside of the sack as well as hoisting and lowering, in addition to a pair of axe loops. Lastly there are a pair of side mounted bottle pockets.

As I already mentioned weight is an issue. Many of the features described above are somewhat over-engineered, the bottle pockets for example comprising a double layer of material instead of a lightweight mesh common to other sacks. This double material layering is actually a feature common to much of the pack. Inside is a layer of black 420D nylon twill, whilst outside is a layer of 630D nylon. Presumably this has been done to increase the longevity and waterproofness of the pack, but it does seriously add to the weight.

All in all another well engineered Macpac product packed full of features and fully adjustable to last a lifetime, but on the heavy side for serious trekking or climbing.

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