Best for durability and customisation
Plusses: Light, customisable, durable
Minuses: Extra pockets tight on space
1050g / 50l
Features: Customisation is key for the Molecule, with its removable lid, hip pocket, fastening cords, plus a wealth of reinforced attachment loops. The fabric is a combination of 100D and reinforced 500D Cordura, with two stretch side pockets and a hydration sleeve.
The main compartment, with zip and hook closure, is a roll top, and Bach claims an extra 15l of space when unrolled. The Atlas Pro carrying system provides ventilation and support for loads up to 18kg.
Fit: There are two sizes, regular (back length of 44–55cm) and long (back length of 52–64cm), and the latter fitted my 185cm frame well. The pack sits close to the body, and there’s minimal bounce or squeak when walking. This may suit some, but for me, the rigidity felt rather stiff and prevented me from feeling one with the pack, as is the way with more flexible packs.
Comfort: The curved harness hugs the hips well, and the padded back panel straddles the spine evenly – I never felt the contents of my pack, even when poorly packed. The shoulder straps sit comfortably with room to spare, and the sternum strap shifts up and down without slipping. Padding is adequate yet conservative, so, while you won’t forget you’re wearing it, it’s a comfortable pack.
In use: Named the Molecule, I assume, for its many connection points, the first thing users will note is the pack’s many exterior loops. They can be used with provided hooked cords to fasten gear or to cinch the pack closer to the body. The cord, along with the lid and hip pocket, can be unhooked if surplus to requirements. This reduces pack weight to a very competitive 800g.
I don’t fancy attaching gear to the exterior, as it’s more weight efficient in the pack – but the option is there, and it would prove invaluable if required for a tent, ice axe, or to stash clothing for quick access.
The zipped roll top is fastened with two hooks – not ideal for cold fingers – and while the main compartment is roomy, the lid, stretch side pockets and hip pocket aren’t generous on space. With reinforced areas made from 500D Cordura, the Molecule feels durable.
Value: This is a well-priced pack compared with other lightweight packs, and its durability should see its value increase over time.
Verdict: Not yet a known brand in Aotearoa, the Bach Molecule 50 earns consideration as a versatile, durable multi-day pack.