Can a cheap and cheerful rucksack from Amazon be as good as a top of the range Cuben/Dyneema hybrid? I’ve been using the Ubon 40L Daypack for all my activations since January. I put together a short review today:
Great review Matt,
In some ways I wish I had seen it before buying the new rucksack that I did!
This is my new rucksack - not an ultra-light or high quality - we’ll see how it performs over the next few activations.
I like the solid back support for carrying, transferring the weight well to my back. What I don’t like is that there is no divider between the bottom section, which houses my radio, battery box, microphone etc.and the main top section that carries my small tripod, headphones pack-up etc. The write-up on amazon says “Separate bottom compartment” - which isn’t true. Mind you Amazon also try to see you a waterproof cover for the pack, despite the fact that it comes with one included already.
It looks like this rucksack will fulfil the one aim I had, of being able to house everything in one bag as currently, I am taking two. I would have liked to have been able to set up my gear to operate out of the rucksack as a RADAR (Rapid deployment Amateur Radio) set-up but we’re not quite there yet!
Cool named pack for SOTA as well …
Update: It survived its first outing to a SOTA summit today! (DL/AM-060 Laber)
I like quite minimal packs without a frame and I work hard to get my base weight down, which is essential if you are going to go frameless with a rucksack. I wouldn’t say the UBON is the best carrying rucksack that I’ve ever had; I find it necessary to use the hipbelt to steady the load. What I can say is that I have never found it uncomfortable. It might be a good idea to cut out a section of Karrimat to go down the back to add stiffness if you are carrying more than 7kg. The UBON will definitely fit an FT857 or rig with PA and LiPo, but I can’t vouch for how YOU will find it carrywise. One good thing about the UBON is that it has loads of bells and whistles, so if you find something superfluous, then just cut it off.
I don’t know exactly what you mean by back ventilation, there are rucksacks with some 3D mesh sewn on the back which adds stiffness and there are the newer ones with aluminium rods and mesh which hold the pack away from your back. The latter system adds a lot of unnecessary weight in my opinion, and the 3D mesh doesn’t do much to stop sweat accumulating.
I just carry a spare T-shirt and change at the summit. My wet T-shirt drys out nicely during the activation. In summer, when I’m multiday trekking I’m carrying a spare top anyway, and in winter I’m also carrying extra clothes. In fact, this reminds me of a funny anecdote from my days in RAYNET. I was on a hill checkpoint above Ullswater with a very seasoned trekker called Bill who had tens of thousands of miles under his belt. I had just done the Pyrenees High Level route about a year or two before. There was also the race Marshall with us. Suddenly, Bill asked me: ‘Matt, what do you think of those new mesh frames for preventing sweat accumulating’? ‘Just fancy rubbish’. I replied, ‘complete gimick that adds a ton of weight’. Bill nodded in approval. The Marshall turned to me with a stern look and proceeded to explain why they were a really good idea: he worked for Berghaus R&D, oops!
Take the Millet Trilogy 20 Rucksack made from top of the range Cuban Fibre:
I use one like that for 10 years, just bought a new same one. Via the so called molle system you can connect small bags , a pole etc. to it. My son uses it a proffesional version in the army. About 45 euro as imitation. Needs a watertight cover.
In your video it appears that the back is simply plain nylon material. I’ve just looked at the company video of the sack and it appears to have some mesh ventilation - but maybe it is/was another sac.
I guess that some of our/my comments regarding back ventilation is more of personal choice/opinion rather than simple matter of fact. Some people sweat more than others - I don’t I’ve always made sure the back is mesh ventilated - One of my sacs has ‘stand off’ mesh ventilation which I’ve found slightly better than the average bag. I guess weight is another personal choice. As an active winter mountaineer and skier my first choice when choosing a bag is/or was, attachment points for crampons, two ice axes, rope & skis rather than weight.
The bag you’ve shown certainly has a lot of features for the money!