With enough capacity for a multi-day adventure, multiple entry and attachment points, a torso and hip belt system that allows for major adjustment and weighing only 1.68kg, the Stout 70 is very hard to fault…
Price (at time of writing): R4699
Women’s version: Amber 65
Dimensions: 80 x 33 x 31.8 cm
Access Points: Top, front & bottom
Rain cover: Yes
Material: 210D Nylon / 420D High Density Nylon (body); 840D Ballisitc Polyester (bottom)
The Stout 70 has hit the nail on the head with including some very welcome features for access, organization and adjustability while still keeping the pack sleek and uncluttered. This all results in a backpack with everything you need without a serious weight penalty.
The usual suspects:
All the usual features are accounted for, such as an included rain cover stored in a dedicated pocket under the lid, a key fob to safely store your keys in the same pocket as the rain cover, two generous hip belt pockets that comfortably accommodate a modern smartphone, stretch-mesh pockets on either side of the pack with top and front access, trekking pole attachment points, a few strapping points, and a stretch-mesh stuff pouch on the front for items you want available without having to dig in your pack – like a rain jacket.
Multiple access points:
Speaking of digging through your pack, apart from the usual top and bottom entry points, the stout includes a big, central, U-shaped zipper that allows access to all the items in the center of your pack. I found this very handy for a lunchtime coffee break – being able to reach my stove and gas without having to unpack the top third of my pack.
It’s the little things:
I tend to get used to things working a certain way and then I can’t imagine them working in any other way, but then some smart designer takes a step back and solves a problem I didn’t even know I had, or makes me smile every time I do something as simple as close my backpack!
On the Stout, the two elements that had this effect on me were the sternum strap and the draw-cord cinch system on the storm flap. Both have been tweaked to allow for one-handed operation. On the sternum strap this was achieved by fixing the “female” buckle directly to the shoulder strap (as opposed to having a bit of strapping between the buckle and the shoulder strap), making it stable enough to just clip into.
On the storm flap, it was as simple as fixing the cinch toggle to the pack, allowing the storm flap to be closed by pulling the draw-cord and released by pulling the toggle. This type of cinch toggle has been appearing on more and more backpacks, but it tickles me everytime I see it.
The materials used in the hip belt and shoulder straps, combined with a wonderfully ergonomic curve on the shoulder straps makes this pack very comfortable, even in very sweaty situations. I never experienced any pressure points or chafing.
The padding breathes reasonably well and even though the shoulder straps felt slightly narrower than most packs I’ve worn in this size, it felt more comfortable – possibly due to the natural curve.
The VersaFit adjustment system allows you to dial in the fit for torso lengths between 40.6-53.3cm and the adjustable waist belt accommodates up to 152.4cm.
Weight & Carrying Capacity
This pack offers an excellent weight-to-carrying-capacity ratio, thanks to its aluminum wishbone frame that creates both stable load management and torsional flexibility. The maximum recommended carrying weight of around 22kg is spot on, and although you can carry more than that, the pack’s stability is affected and it starts to lose some of its comfort. That being said, weighing only 1.68kg, that’s still more than 20kg to play with for food, clothes and gear.
I love backpacks that allow for water bottle access without having to take the pack off, and the Stout 70 does just that, with the dual-entrance stretch-mesh pockets on either side. However, they are just a little too shallow, not allowing a 1L Nalgene bottle to be fully inserted. They are still functional, but I was aware of them sticking out.
For those who use hydration reservoirs, this might not make any difference, but if you’ve gotten used to front-facing bottle access, this might be a slight irritation, but not enough to distract from an otherwise brilliant pack.
Feature rich and yet lightweight – beating most competitors in weight-carrying-capacity ratio. Comfortable, durable, and very good looking. The Stout 70 has become my go to backpack for anything from 3-5 day hikes and can easily be pushed even further with careful weight management.
This backpack was provided for review purposes by Gregory Packs South Africa and can be purchased from their online shop.