Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Berghaus Bladdered- review

All the bits and bobs. (camelbak not included)
This is a somewhat futile review, seeing as Berghaus no longer make this superb little bag, which is a shame, as it is a brilliant little pack. I've used it running, biking. climbing, racing and generally everywhere, and funnily enough only discovered it by accident. My sister was looking for a new small day pack, we went to an outdoors shop, not expecting to find anything and I ended up being so absorbed by this one, she bought it.

I had to buy one a few weeks later as well. If you can get hold of one, do so, they are excellent.

What makes it so good?
I wanted a small pack for running, biking and adventure racing. It had to be up to about 10 litres, have a bladder pocket, preferably some way of stowing a helmet, and, most importantly, some way in which to stop that bloody annoying bounce on your back as you run. The Bladdered does all of that.

The main pocket is quite spacious, and holds the bladder pocket as well. It can also be extended with a zipped accordian like expansion part. I rarely use it, but when I do, it has just enough space to get exactly what I need in there. Most recently, out on a run with thr bag about half full, I got too hot and had to stuff my Rab Vaporise into the top. Its quite bulky, and would NOT have gone in with out that extra 2 litres of expansion. Very handy indeed.

Main pocket. Ok, its showing a bit of Delam, but it still works.
The smaller pocket has a zipped pocket inside, and a key holder clip- very useful for bits that you really don't want to lose. On a race I generally kept a pen and puncture repair kit in there, as I knew exactly where they would be. There is also a lot of room in there for lots of food- bars, pitta, jelly, marzipan, you name it, lots of space.
Smaller, front pocket with a zipped pocket and a key clip (with stuff that came out of said pocket...)

There is a mesh pocket on the back of the pack, with an offset opening so that you can reach back with your right hand and get stuff out of it. This is really the only option for accessible storage on the go. You can get about 3 or 4 bars in there without fear of them falling out and feeding your fellow competitors. My main complaint  is the lack of on the go accessibility... but more of that later.

Helmet storage is provided by a stowaway mesh which clips over the back of the pack. Useful for short periods, but if you end up doing long races like this, with quite a lot of gear already in the pack, with the extension extended, you end up with a rucksack which is long, and protrudes out from your back, which is a little odd. However, when commuting and dropping into the pub, or wandering around town, or taking your bike on a train, it is a very very useful little bit of mesh.
Helmet compressor
When I used this for racing, my team mate used a North Face Hammerhead, and always had issues with helmet storage.
You can see with quite a bit of stuff, and a helmet makets the back quite long, rather than high.

Compression system stowed
The compression system, in my opinion is the best part of this bag. Its the best system I have ever come across, and I love it to pieces. The wings stash away so that you don't have to have it out all the time- which, when running with a light load, is fine. Put a bit more weight in, pull out the wings, and the bag attaches itself to your back like a limpet. Instead of the fins coming from the sides or the part of the bag which is closest to your back, enabling the whole mass of the bag to wibble around and about as you run, they come from the part of the pack that is furthest from your back, around the sides, actively compressing the whole damn lot onto your back. It physically prevents it from wallowing around from side to side and back and forth as you run. Once locked down, its like you don't have a bag on your back, it's like a part of you. This is not a strap to take weight off your shoulders and distribute it around your waist- on a bag this small it would be silly. This is to make it as squidged as possible to make running with it as pleasurable experience as not having a rucksack. And it works.
The compression system running from outside the back of the sack, not the bit closest to the body. Genius
Please can we have more of this type of construction in running rucksacks? Please?!

This bag is for carrying stuff from place to place. (That might sound like what a rucksack is made for, but bear with me). I love it as long as I can stop from time to time to replenish the mesh pocket with food from the main pocket. It is not a bag with which you can go for a long long time without stopping- this may well be a good thing, but you are limited to what you can store for on-the-go access.
Ideally I'd like to be able to get to more than just a bar as I'm running. some kind of zipped pocket or tighter mesh pocket would have been great.
There is no choice whether or not to use a bladder or drinks bottles- on this size of bag it isn't generally a choice that you get to make, but I have since seen a couple of  rucksacks like that around, it'd be nice to try one of them out.
Numbering up  with the Bladdered

As I mentioned at the beginning, this bag is no longer being made, which is a great great shame. I'm sure there are now better small bags on the market, but I haven't seen any that improve upon what this bag does, and considering that I bought this about 7 years ago, maybe I need to start thinking about making my own. 
Using the compression system to its fullest potential

1 comment:

  1. I have one in mint condition for sale. Let me know if you are interested!