Rucksacks reviewed

Lowe Alpine Contour Event 35. As the name suggests, it's got a 35 litre capacity and plenty of extras including a mesh bit for a mountain-bike helmet and a padded waistband with two handy pockets for car keys, wallet, etc. The main sack has plenty of space for day trip luggage and is zip closed. The material is tough yet light and the black straps and waistband are very comfortably padded. Available in bright yellow or green so you'll stay visual, it costs a penny under £50. James Carron

Wild Rover Peak 35. One of the smallest sacks in the Wild Rover range, this day pack has been round the world and used right round the year. A more robust sack would be difficult to find. The padding on the back piece is minimal, but sufficient as you won't be carrying heavy loads in a 35 litre pack. With two ice axe loops and attachments at the top, the pack can stretch to winter work with some forethought about packing. Steve Page

Wild Rover Peak 65. An entry level rucksack for backpackers. At £50 it offers a no-frills approach to pack design but is surprisingly tough in comparison to other packs tested. Its limitations are restricted to the design of its harness system which, whilst providing for good ventilation, has a very limited adjustability. With a new ladies' version available, the pack is certainly worth a look but, as with any piece of new gear, make sure you try it for fit in the shop first. Steve Page

Wild Rover Summit 80. When backpacking trips become full blown expeditions, the 80 litre capacity of this sack will stand you in good stead. We've loaded this pack so heavily that I needed help to get it on my back, yet its fully adjustable suspension system proved its worth. The padding in the shoulder strap did bunch up a little and needed a bit of care to stop the problem recurring. With a price tag of under £90, this sack is a great buy for those who are regular backpackers, but get involved in the occasional epic. The Wild Rover range is available from Tiso. Steve Page

Craghoppers DriPacs. After just one year in the rucksack market, Craghoppers has developed a range of waterproof packs. The DriPac range follows on from the success of the Dynamic Balance system and they keep liquid out thanks to a removable waterproof liner and a lid-rolling closure. They come in sizes ranging from 30 to 50 litres, use short and regular back lengths and there' s DriPac 45 designed specially for women. Prices range from £65 to £100 and the colours are blue, black and forest green.