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Salewa Ultra Train 18 Backpack | Review

Compact and form fitting - the Salewa Ultra Train 18 backpack

If you feel the need for speed when you’re in in the great outdoors, the last thing you want is a cumbersome, bulky backpack weighing you down. You want something compact, light and nimble. You want the Salewa Ultra Train 18.

If you’re speed climbing, trail running, or just hiking fast, the Ultra Train 18 should definitely be on your list of bags to consider. The 18-litre volume that gives the Ultra Train its name is smaller than a conventional daypack might be but still decent, and certainly easy enough to get your layers and gear in for a day’s adventure outdoors.

“If you’re speed climbing, trail running, or just hiking fast, the Ultra Train 18 should definitely be on your list of bags to consider.”

The sleek, minimalist look of the pack isn’t just a design feature – Salewa have stripped this bag back to the essentials in a bid to keep the weight down, and it’s worked. 420g is impressively light for an 18 litre pack.

The backpack is designed around the smart Contra-Fit Lite carrying system, which moulds to your torso to give a precision fit, whatever your body shape. Attached to this are the split Ortholite foam shoulder straps that, again, fit snugly to the body. Putting this pack on when loaded, you can instantly feel how it well the weight is distributed.

Made to hug your back while you move - no more friction sore spots. Photo: Chris Johnson
Twin compression shoulder straps help keep the Ultra Train stable. Photo: Chris Johnson
Hydration system compatible - key for intensive activities. Photo: Chris Johnson
The Ultra Train's compact design makes it ideal for short excursions. Photo: Chris Johnson

Twin compression systems on the front of the straps allow you to stabilise the Ultra Train on your back, hugging your body. This stops your load from bobbing around as you move, keeping your backpack nicely in one spot. This is good for walkers, but absolutely essential for runners. Sore spots from your backpack rubbing are one of the biggest blights of running with a badly-designed bag. We had no such problems with this.

The Ultra Train 18 is compatible with hydration systems, ensuring you get enough water while pushing yourself. The side pockets, just above hip level, are ideally sized for extra bottles of water, a flask, or just about anything else that size that you need at your fingertips.

This isn’t just a summer bag by any means. Salewa have also thought of speed ice climbers out there, who also need a compact backpack for quick day day missions. The Ultra Train features a specialist ice-pick storage fastening letting you store your pick away safely, while also knowing it’s available quickly when you need it. Smart.

This is a cleverly designed backpack, ideal for anybody getting seriously active in the outdoors. It uses every single thread of its compact design to ensure you not only have everything you need for a fun day out, but also that you’ll be comfortable when carrying it. And let’s be honest, it’s small enough for everyday use as well, so you won’t feel like a wally taking your sandwich box and paperwork to the office in it.

Salewa Ultra Train 18 Backpack

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