35 litres is around the point where backpacks need proper structure and support to help you carry a load all day. It’s quite easy for a pack this size to weigh as much as a 4 year old child if you’re stuffing it full of dense items, so it’s important to have a damn fine waist strap (you need to take that weight on your hips) and internal frame. Handily, Gelert’s flagship pack has both.
GearWeAre was sent the Ladies’ version of the Impact, which we strapped on to our tester, Kristen, and then sent her off on our Test Trail. From what we can tell, the Ladies’ version has a slightly narrower and shorter back, but its features are the same as the Men’s version.
Putting the pack on, its immediately obvious that the padding in the back, lumbar area and waist strap are quality foam – in fact they feel like memory foam to me, so they do an excellent job of both padding and spreading load across your hips. They’re covered in a soft lycra-like material which is easy to clean. There may be a trade-off because memory foam can get quite warm and sweaty in high temperatures, but neither Kristen, nor I when I did the same route, found it much of a problem.
The shoulderstraps are adjustable, and the webbing adjusters all do a brilliant job of micro-managing the pack’s position. They also all have tie-downs so there’s nothing loose and flappy.
One nice feature is the addition of simple carabiner clips to the waist belt, similar to those found on climbing harnesses, and infinitely useful.
The materials and finish throughout the bag are top-notch. Gelert have launched the sub-brand ‘Beyond’ which is getting it away from the cheap and cheerful reputation that its basic range has.
The main compartment of the pack is a simple top-loader with drawstring closure, a webbing cinch strap and then a separate rain-proof hood with its own strap. The hood has internal and external pockets big enough for an SLR camera or stashing a waterproof jacket.
Four compression straps do an excellent job of keeping a half-full pack stable, and two external pockets work well for bottles and maps. The lower compression straps cover these pockets, which I suppose could be a minor annoyance for the packing extremist.
Nice thick material on the base of the pack should stop it being abraided by the trail when you put it down, and should 35L not be quite enough capacity then there are webbing and bungee attachments for axes, poles and extra gear.
It’s a nice and narrow pack, which makes it ideal for activities where you need your arms to be free and unencumbered. I had no trouble picking up and throwing things, and scrambling up banks.
Available in Black, if you’re not a fan of bright purple, and priced at £70 this is a real contender from Gelert and pitches them directly against the more established backpack brands like Berghaus on a level footing.
SUMMARY: Really comfortable, with a very good internal frame and what appears to be a superb finish, this pack is going to be ideal for longer day-hikes and even weekends away. It has plenty of ways to adapt its fit to your body and enough compression straps to make sure that it doesn’t bounce around when half-full. The memory-foam back may be warm and sweaty when it’s hot out, but this is a trade-off against the comfort. A strong contender against more established backpack brands.