If you think it just looks like a drybag with a strap, then you’re spot on. Designed to be minimal in its design, there are no pockets just one cavernous, waterproof main compartment. The smaller Gourdon 20 or Stealthy Gourdon both come with external bungees if you really need them. There’s a clear panel (to show off your sweeties and beer) that helps you find stuff deep in the pack. The shoulder straps are sturdy, and much more comfortable than the straps on my rapidly ageing OMM 32 that are uncomfortable for anything more than lightweight summer day walks. While they are comfortable, they are let down as they don’t stay at the desired length. The straps used are too thin for the clips, so keep sliding through.
The waist belt is also thin, but does the job. Backpacking Light are selling some pouches to add onto the waist strap, something that i”ll definitely be getting soon as I like a windproof and some jelly babies close to hand.
I’d originally thought that I could stow my poles on the outside with a bit of lateral thinking and a webbing strap. But, many, many trips since then and I’ve never bothered. I just end up carrying them in my hand towards the end of a walk. This does make the pack much less suitable for anyone who needs poles and wants to do a bit of scrambling.
Where this pack impresses me most is with it’s weight and toughness. Weighing in at less than the OMM32 (about 590g) it feels like it could be dragged backwards through a boulderfield and be none the worse for the ordeal. Yes, you trade in the functionality or complexity of extra pockets to achieve this, but as a result you end up with a no-messing, non-flouncy, no-nonsense pack. It truly is waterproof too. This summer’s certainly given it a run for its money. It’s even been paddling on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and is just as good keeping sand out as it is water. No more worrying about the camera getting damp, even though you’ve got a drysack and a pack liner. And a final goodbye to the hassle of having to dry out the day sack that’s absorbed an extra kilo of water that you”ve just lugged up and down the Glyderau.
After four months of using this as my only pack, I’d have to say I’m mostly happy. It’s tough and no-nonsense, being waterproof makes packing for a quick walk much easier as i’ don’r need to worry about anything but throwing my kit into this. It really is a shame that the pack is let down solely by the adjustments on the shoulder straps. If the webbing was just a little thicker, then it would be OK. I’m going to put a safety pin in each one to keep them from slipping. That said, you’re probably not going to get a better pack for £22.50, just go for the 20 litre version if you need to use walking poles.
Buy it direct from Alpkit.