The overnight pack sits in the Goldilocks zone – it’s not too big and not too small – and is perfect for weekend trips.
Ripstop nylon, Cordura or polyester cotton canvas is common. All offer tear resistance and are coated with silicon to provide water resistance. Lighter fabrics are used on the pack upper, with heavier, 400 denier-plus, fabrics used in high-wear or stress areas such as the base of the pack.
Flowing up and over the shoulder, they should be contoured around the neck and armpits to avoid chafing. Adjustable sternum straps slide into position to help stabilise the pack.
Because loads can still be quite heavy, most packs in this category have a moulded and padded hip belt that directs the weight onto the hips. Some packs opt for a lighter approach and just use a webbing strap.
Harness and back panel
Most models have a fixed, non-adjustable harness. A mesh back panel or grooves cut into a foam back panel allows airflow and muscle support.
Between 35l and 48l, the pack will feature a single compartment capable of holding a sleeping bag, food, cooker and other items needed on a two-day walk. But pack carefully and you can easily get enough gear inside for multi-day walks.
A front stash pocket is used to store items like a rain jacket that you may need to access quickly. There will also be stretch mesh side pockets for drink bottles, as well as organiser pockets in the lid and on the hip belt.
Compression straps secure the load and modify the profile of the pack to suit the amount of gear being carried. They may be long enough to strap a tent to the side or base of the pack.
Many packs come in women-specific options. These have smaller harnesses and shorter hip belts. Shoulder straps will be narrower and contoured
differently to a standard pack.
Denier relates to fabric weight and durability. The thicker the fibre used in a fabric, the greater its weight. As an example, a 1000g fibre equals 1000D. Heavy 400D and higher fabrics offer greater wear resistance and are often used in high-abrasion areas like the base of the pack. Lighter fabrics, around 100D or 200D, are used in other areas.
Lowe Alpine Diran 45:55 $369.95
V-TRAX carry system with adjustable back length, forward pull hip belt, extendable lid, bellows side pockets, top, front and base entry, hip belt pockets, internal zipped lid pocket, front grab handle, stretch side pockets.
Fabric Nylon 300D Nailhead Capacity 45+10l Weight 2050g. www.outfittersstore.nz
The North Face Hydra 38 $350
Dyno Lift System self-equalises the load, full-trampoline back panel, T6 aluminium frame, front stash pocket, multiple pockets, hydration compatible, lash points, FlashDry back panel, stretch side pockets, two tool keepers. Fabric 70D IronLite Nylon Capacity 38l Weight 992g (m/w). www.thenorthface.co.nz
Aarn Active Endeavour 26 $199 plus 12l Sport Balance Pockets $145
Adjustable back length, U-Flow shoulder straps, ventilating backpanel, top zip entry, rain cover, front and stretch side pockets, hydration compatible, bike light attachment, carry handle, carry-on size. Fabric 210D ripstop, 190T nylon Capacity 26+12l Weight 900g (pack), 524g (Balance Pockets). www.aarnpacks.com
Macpac Fiord 40 $299.99
Frameless design, HeliumLite harness, hip belt pockets, detachable top lid with extended roll-top, front mesh pocket, stretch mesh side pockets, dual walking pole attachments, hydration compatible. Fabric Titan Grid 100D nylon with silicone coating, 500D Cordura base Capacity 40l Weight 1100g.
Macpac Pursuit 40 AzTec $299.99
Canvas alpine pack with ActiveX harness, closed-cell foam back panel, hip belt, zippered main compartment, removable foam panel bivvy mat, dual ice axe attachments and ‘V’ loops, daisy chain webbing loops, compression straps, side pockets, top zip pocket. Fabric Eco AzTec canvas, 500D Cordura base Capacity 40l Weight 720g. www.macpac.co.nz
Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 35 $279.95
Fixed AirZone carry system, breathable back panel, single buckle entry, compression straps, forward pull hip belt adjustment, hip belt pockets, stretch side pockets, internal lid pocket, ice axe loop and TipGripper walking pole attachments. Fabric Nylon mini-ripstop Capacity 35l Weight 1070g. www.outfittersstore.nz
Cactus Outdoor Miklat $279
Foam padded harness, curved shoulder straps, 38mm webbing hip belt, single compartment, zippered lid pocket, side compression straps, hydration sleeve. Made in New Zealand. Fabric C-Canvas with C-1000D base Capacity 40l Weight 1000g. www.cactusoutdoor.co.nz
Lowe Alpine AirZone Camino Trek ND35:45 $279.95
Women’s-specific pack with breathable AirZone back panel, hydration compatible, stretch side pockets, TipGripper walking pole attachments, compression straps, extendable lid, bellows side pockets, bungee system for external storage. Fabric Nylon mini-ripstop Capacity 35+10l Weight 1460g. www.outfittersstore.nz
Macpac Torlesse 35 $269.99
AirFlo harness with padded hip belt, large main compartment, lid with top zip pocket, front zip pocket, compression straps, stretch mesh side pockets, walking pole/ice axe attachments, hydration compatible, pack cover. Fabric 210D nylon ripstop with a silicone coating, 630D Cordura base Capacity 35l Weight 1270g. www.macpac.co.nz
Osprey Talon 44 $249.99
Airscape back panel, ventilated BioStretch harness, fibreglass frame, Stow-on-the-Go hiking pole system, zippered hip belt, side stretch mesh pockets with dual access, harness pocket, removable top lid pocket. Fabric 70D x 100D nylon, 420HD base Capacity 42l, 44l Weight 1020g, 1105g.
Osprey Tempest 40 $249.99
Women’s specific pack with Airscape back panel, ventilated BioStretch harness, fibreglass frame, Stow-on-the-Go hiking pole system, zippered hip belt, side stretch mesh pockets with dual access, harness pocket, removable top lid pocket. Fabric 70D x 100D nylon, 420HD base Capacity 38l, 40l Weight 1026g, 1080g. www.southernapproach.co.nz