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OMM Jirishanca 35 Litre Rucksack

The Jirishanca is a gem of a rucksack that just about held all of the kit I needed for the south west coast path – with a bit space left over for food etc.

When I first saw the Jirishanca I was a bit puzzled. There’s little catches, straps, ties and loops just about everywhere. It’s only when you’ve used it for a while that the rationale for having so many of them falls magically into place. They allow you strap all kinds of things to the outside of the pack. I managed to lash my Vaude Power Lizard tent to one side (neatly cupped into a mesh side pocket) and strapped my GPS and a water bottle to the other. Other loops (known as the universal gear rail) let me lash a solar panel across the top of the pack and down the back. Yet another external pocket known as the Multisport Compressor allowed me to store such niknacks as a knife, soap, wetwipes and a book on wild flowers with ease. And if all that wasn’t enough, there were more loops of fabric that let me store my walking pole. There were at least 20 other little loops left over to lash things to should you feel the urge. Were the designers into bondage? It’s certainly worth considering!

The main body of the sack will take pretty much all you need for an extended backpacking trip. The tough fabric is, well, extremely tough and will no doubt withstand years of battering. The waist strap not only lashes the pack to your hips but also has two large pockets that I used to store my camera along with a couple of bars of chocolate and some suntan lotion etc. The top pocket is pretty big too and has a useful karabiner inside so there’s no excuses for losing your car or house keys.

The really clever thing about the Jirishanca is that its frame is also sleeping mat. If you’re a deranged mountain marathon runner then this is a boon but I’m a big softie and decided to take a Thermarest with me.

The whole pack weighs in at a tad over 1kg, which is light, but it also has a downside. After a few hours it becomes apparent that it’s not the most comfortable pack in the world. The straps are just a little too thin. The waist strap tends to dig into your stomach. In practice this means you can’t shift the pack’s weight from your shoulders to your hips to relieve the strain. The shoulder straps are also a bit too weedy for my liking and they also do tend to dig in. I’d be perfectly happy for the pack to weigh 100g more if it had a thicker waist strap. This is all down to personal choice, of course. Mountain marathon runners, who are immune to pain and suffering, will get along fine with the Jirishanca. The Jirishanca is by far the best ultra lightweight rucksack you can buy and which I loved to bits but, on balance, I still prefer my old Pod Cragsac which weighs 1.6kg but has a far thicker waist strap.

The Jirishanca costs about £80 ($120)

Ultralight backpacking along the south west Coast Path

Gadget Guru

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