This is an astonishingly light pack and one for those to whom every gram counts. At the same time it’s not that minimalist and is comfortable to carry. Empty, it looks quite flat due to the thin floppy fabric. I was very dubious about the claimed 35 litre capacity until I loaded it up and found it held at least as much as other packs with this capacity. The thin fabric probably wouldn’t stand up to much scraping over rocks or thrashing through bushes but for most hillwalking it’s fine. There’s no lid, just a long watertight zip from top to bottom. This gives access to the whole of the pack and makes getting gear in and out very easy, as long as you pack items in separate bags and not a single sack liner. The zip seems pretty tough but it would be a big problem if it failed so I wouldn’t stuff the pack to bursting point. There are gear loops on the outside through which straps could be threaded to take the strain off the zip. These loops plus the compression cords are also useful for attaching gear so the pack doesn’t have to be over-stuffed. There is a small external pocket for items like car keys, snack bars, compass and GPS plus two open-topped lower side pockets that easily hold 700ml water bottles. I can get a bottle in and out while wearing the pack too, unlike with many such pockets.
The Laser has a removable foam pad in the back that doubles as a sit mat and a lightly padded hipbelt. It’s not designed for heavy loads but handled 6kg fine. The hipbelt and shoulder straps are mesh-covered for ventilation and there are mesh panels on the back. The centre of the back is smooth nylon however, and I did get quite sweaty under this on a strenuous ascent.
I initially thought the Laser would prove a rather specialist pack. In fact it’s a perfectly good, if unusual, day pack for any walking.
Pros: ultralight, zip access
Cons: no stress protection for main zip
- Details: CAPACITY: 35 litres MATERIALS: ripstop nylon/textured nylon CLOSURES: front zip BACK: removable 8mm foam pad, mesh panels BACK LENGTH: 48cm SIZES: 1 HIPBELT: padded POCKETS: 1 zipped side, 2 drawcord side, 2 hipbelt, internal hydration FEATURES: side compression cord, front gear loops MAKERS WEIGHT: 467 grams without back pad TGO WEIGHT: 475 grams with back pad, 435 grams without back pad WEBSITE: terra-nova.co.uk PRICE: Ј85