Vaude Assymetric 52+8 Backpack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Vaude Assymetric 52+8 Backpack | Review

Lots to like here for lightweight backpackers – especially those who are mindful of the eco impact of their kit

Why We Chose It: Eco-friendly materials, comfortable back system
Price: £160
Weight: 1.60kg

Over the last few years, the sustainability drive that Vaude have embarked on has made them one of the greenest companies in the industry. Back in 2018 they were one of the first outdoor brands to get rid of PFCs from all of their apparel and they also pledged that by 2020 the rest of their products would come without them. Not only have they succeeded in that, but they’ve now made a big push into using recycled materials. Case in point: the Vaude Assymetric backpack

What’s The Vaude Assymetric Best Suited To?

Available in men’s 52-60 litre and 42-50 litres capacities and women’s 38-46 and 48-56 litre capacities, the Assymetric collection consists of packs that are going to be best suited to summer overnight adventures. I’ve found the 52-60 has more than enough capacity for weekend wild camps and I can see it easily accommodating all the kit and supplies that I’d take on a summer long-distance walk. For winter trips, where technical equipment is required it’ll be a little on the small side. 

It’s possible to strip parts of this pack away to bring its overall weight down below 1000g. Photo: Chris Johnson

The Eco Credentials

As I’ve already touched upon, the durable water repellent treatment Vaude have used on this is completely free of those eco-hazardous PFCs often used in backpack fabrics. On top of that, a large proportion of the pack is made from recycled plastic bottles. The second face fabric, for instance, is made from 50% recycled polyester and then there’s a recycled PU coating featured throughout. These materials all feel quite light but they’re still durable enough for the demands of life on the trail.


The back system is fairly basic but I’ve still found it to be comfortable, distributing weight well and allowing a bit of ventilation. A webbing strap lets you adjust the back length quickly and easily. 

The frame is tennis racquet shaped – wider at the top of the pack and narrow at the bottom – to channel weight from the shoulders down to the hips and it can actually be removed if you’re being really strict with your gram count, bringing the pack’s weight down from 1600g to about 1300g – firmly in ultralight territory then. 

The back system is fairly simple but it's still very functional and comfortable. Photo: Chris Johnson
The long stash pocket on the front. Chris Johnson
It's PFC-free and made using recycled materials. Photo: Chris Johnson

There’s a sliding sternum strap that can be quickly removed if and when you don’t need it and there’s forward-pull hipbelt adjustment as well. The hipbelt and shoulder straps (which are nice and wide) have a modest amount of padding but I found it was enough for me. To strip the pack weight down even further, it’s possible to remove the floating top lid and then hike with the top fabric rolled up, cinched in and clipped closed. With the frame out as well, that’ll bring the pack weight down below 1000g though it’ll leave your kit a little vulnerable in heavy rain. 

A pocket is located on either side of the hipbelt. Photo: Chris Johnson

The main compartment can be accessed underneath the floating top lid, through the base or via a big U-shaped zip across the front of the pack. That U-shaped one is particularly handy for, say, hut-to-hut trekking as it basically turns your pack into a suitcase that you can open up on your bed. You need to unclip all the adjustment straps to fully open up this zip – so it’s a little fiddly. 

The Assymetric also has a zipped internal divider at the base so you can keep your sleeping equipment separate from the rest of your kit. 

As for pockets you have one overlid one with a large internal mesh pocket and key clip and one long one on the front of the pack that you can just about stuff a light waterproof jacket inside. The two on the hipbelt are quite large and will easily accommodate a large phone and snacks. Then there are the two stretchy side pockets which are big enough for a Nalgene bottle or a light down jacket and finally there’s a pouch for a drinking bladder inside the pack.

The daisy chain webbing on the front give the potential to clip extra gear onto this if you want to. You also have two bungees for trekking poles, plus one single loop to hold the tips of your poles or the head of an ice axe. 

One big downside in my opinion is that there’s no waterproof cover supplied. Given the untaped seams and amount of zips involved here, you wouldn’t want to count on this keeping all your kit dry in heavy rain. You’d either want to keep everything in dry bags or get hold of a waterproof cover to go with this I think.



This is the kind of durable and lightweight backpack I like to hike with. It’s the ideal size I tend to look for in a backpack as well. The eco aspects are all great and don’t seem to hinder the performance and there are some nice useful details throughout. The lack of a front quick stash pocket is a little downside – or a quibble, you could say – as is the fact there’s no waterproof cover, but still, I do think the Assymetric is a great back from Vaude. 

More info:

Chosen For Our Green Gear Guide 2021
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