Macpac Torlesse 60 Tested

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Price:

£120

Weight: 2700 grammes
Features: Trekking

pack with 60-litre capacity, front opening access with

integrated pocket, bottom opening for sleeping bag

compartment, zip-in, roll-away bottom compartment divider,

lid pocket and underlid pocket, side-mounted bottle pockets,

bottom and side compression, lid extension and front daisy

chain, elasticated axe keepers, hydration port. Fabrics:

420D Nylon twill/630D Nylon. Airflo harness with Flex-fit

adjustable back system.


What's It For? The Torlesse is Macpac's new trekking and

weekend-packing sac and is available in 45, 50, 55 and 60-litre

versions as well as a women's-specific 50L. Macpac says that the

packs are aimed at users who perhaps only get onto the hills

occasionally but want good quality gear without spending a fortune on

it.

At £120 for the largest 60-litre incarnation, it's hardly

cheap, but it's in the ballpark with other top-end pack makers, so

what we're looking at is the Kiwi company's shot at a more affordable

pack which doesn't skimp on the brand's traditional values of

durability and weather proofing.


The Techy Bits The Torlesse is more a pulling together of

established pack technologies than anything insanely radical. There

are some neat touches though, like the back panel which incorporates

two largish pockets and also unzips for easier access to the

contents of the pack, or at least those in the upper section.

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There's also the adjustable AirFlo harness system which rather

neatly has its lengthening and shortening gubbinses neatly tucked

away inside the pack rather than sandwiched under the back-pads like

many adjustable back systems.


How It Works Macpac has built a strong reputation for

producing bombproof, super-durable packs forged on its original

wax-impregnated poly-cotton AzTec fabric. The new Torlesse series

uses Nylon instead, but still has a reassuringly butch feel.

For starters, the pack weighs a hefty 2.7 kilos, a lot for a

modern 60-litre sac and seems generally overbuilt. The zips, for

example, are seriously large-toothed with chunky metal pulls adding

to the tough feel. Fabrics feel butch too with a double base area,

Hypalon panels in strategic areas and even double fabric water bottle

pockets. No skimping, though we're not entirely sure that any pack

really needs a double thickness lid...

Loading is straightforward, though the fiddliness of using the

zipped lower compartment with the sac part loaded made us appreciate

Osprey's curved and stretchy access arrangements.

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Once adjusted, a relatively straightforward process helped by the

excellent instructions supplied with the pack - other manufacturers

take note - and with the sort of medium load most users will tote,

the Torlesse is a comfortable, stable carry with enough swing in the

hip-belt not to be restrictive. The shape and foam density on harness

and hip-belt are Macpac's well proven norm and instantly comfortable,

despite what looks like a narrowing profile for the shoulder straps.

There's enough adjustment to keep things snug and comfortable as

well.

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The back system is a time-proven plate and alloy stave one which

feeds loads into the base of the pack rather than directly into the

hip-belt. That's fine with medium loads, but we didn't find it as

effective with heavier weights as those systems that feed loads

directly into the hip-belt using rods or staves.

We like the back panel entry system, which gives easy access to

the innards of the sac via two zips and it's nice to have a couple of

easy to reach external pockets as part of the same panel. There's no

hydration pocket, so we'd suggest either laying the bladder across

the top of the pack or, if your outlet tube is long enough using one

of the back panel pockets, which would have the bonus of making

refills easier.

While we're being fussy, the twin waterbottle pockets are useful,

but not angled back at all, so they're impossible to use without

either removing the pack or at least slipping it over one shoulder.

And do they really need to be double thickness nylon? It may be

tough, but it also seems a little excessive.


Verdict

It may sounds odd, but the Torlesse reminded us a bit of the

latest Scarpa SL walking boot - it's a modern take on a classic

design with all the underlying quality you'd expect, but a few neater

modern touches.

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It's a little heavy and the back system isn't as effective as some

of the latest designs from the likes of Osprey, but it's fine and

comfortable for the sort of medium loads most users will be

carrying.

Yes, the Torlesse is a little on the heavy side, but ostentatious

overbuilding promises long-term durability and weather resistance.

It's simply a good, tough, basic pack with no silly gimmicks.

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Great build quality, tough materials.

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A little heavy - are double thickness lids and waterbottle

pockets really necessary?

Performance
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Value
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