Finally, the Holy Grail...
Anticipation over the arrival of neu kid on the block Laufbursche has risen to fever pitch among the ultra-light community. I'd been trying to get my oversized giant hands on a huckePACK after reading Hendrik's many evangelising posts for months, but German bureaucracy cuts no red tape for bloggers, and as time went by I opted to get a MLD Burn as a small summer bag.
As winter rolled in, I began to evaluate my pack needs again. I wanted another pack, a light weight one, but durable, and large enough to accommodate bulky insulated gear for colder weather. The word on the street was that Mateusz at Laufbursche had finalized his pack designs, and amongst his offerings would be a larger huckePACK. With the help of Ben at hrXXLight, I made contact with Laufbursche, and after playing with his rather clever configurator, I ordered a huckePACK "big," with an XL torso size, carrying a maximum capacity of 57 litres, and, with the two hip pockets, weighing in at 524g on my highly-accurate IKEA scales (the listed weight was 522g, so pretty damn close!).
And so, without further ado, let me introduce you to a new friend...
For the purposes of this quick overview, I used a mat to give it some structure, and stuffed a down bag and jacket in to fill it up.
The first thing that strikes you is the quality. The workmanship really is top par. Not a stitch out of place, and everything neatly, and sturdily finished.
Perhaps the most obvious "innovation" in the huckePACK is the design of the lid, and even the fact that there is one. Most light weight packs today skip the lid altogether in favour of a roll-top and cinch cord closure - the argument being that this is waterproof enough, and that a lid serves no real purpose.
On the huckePACK, the lid doubles as a kind of roll top. It's a very distinctive, neat, and tidy. It's a design that makes the Laufbursche packs immediately identifiable. It is also quite hard to explain how it closes, but with the aid of a not particularly helpful photograph, I'll try.
It's actualy very simple. The neck of the pack folds down on top, and can be clipped inside (using the clip in the photo above) to secure the contents if the bag is overflowing. The lid is essentially a continuation of the back material which folds over everything and clips into a pair of lineloc fasteners.
It makes for a very secure and waterproof lid. I was surprised that the lid also has a pocket. It's been a long time since I used a pack with a lid and lid pocket, and it seems almost consciously unfashionable to include one.
But then again, why not? I suppose I can always find something to put in the pocket. A map... My Super Mica... Some sliced cheese... The argument against it would be that it adds unnecessary weight, and limits the possibility of compacting the pack as you would be able to with a extension roll-top. As is is, I like the design, but I'm holding back judgement on the practicality of it until I've taken it out a few times.
Moving on... The shoulder straps are very well designed, and, with the 6mm 3D mesh padding, amazingly comfortable. I find their S shape makes them almost unnoticeable. Thoughtfully, they have plenty of webbing attachment points, a removable sternum strap, and load lifters. Many UL packs skip the load lifters, but even with moderate-light loads, they make a huge difference in how the pack carries.
Mateusz seemed somewhat surprised when I ordered the XL torso size, but it was the right choice. The length is perfect, with the belt sitting nicely on my hips (my MLD Burn sits a little high).
In another clever little design feature, the hip belt can be secured out of the way behind the pack if you don't need to use it. I think as this is intended to carry a larger load, I'm likely to use it. It's comfy - a little padding goes a long way, but again, we'll see how it performs when it gets a real test.
I ordered the belt pockets, because that's the kind of guy I am. I like to have snacks, and my GPS at hand, and the pockets are plenty large enough to fit my
. They came fitted to the pack, and are nicely secured with a set of clips, so no bothersome slippage will occur.
The pack comes with additional cord and shock cord to attach in any way you choose. One option is to create a holder on the back for a section of Z-Lite. I've not done this yet, but I'll give it a go. I'm a little uncertain that it will keep the Z-Lite in place on a long hike. The method
use on the
where the pad slips into some webbing pockets seems more secure, but we'll see.
There are plenty of attachment loops all over the pack to tie cord to. I'll probably tie a few on for trekking poles. An ice-axe loop would be easy to create for those with such an inclination.
The mesh pockets are more than ample - huge in fact. Loads of space for DuoMids, waterproofs, knickknacks, water bottles etc. The right side pocket is angled, the left side straight, but with an access hole, so in theory wearers should be able to easily get to water. My arms never seem to be flexible enough for that though.
So, as you can see, it's a well thought out pack, with a few innovative features, made to exacting standards. I'm hoping I can get out and try it in some real conditions very soon.
It's available in "small" and "big" sizes, and in Dyneema X Gridstop or Cuben Fiber. Laufbursche will also be offering a smaller pack (more akin to the Burn) called the huckePÄCKchen in Cuben Fiber (it looks very nice, and very small).
Laufbursche will hopefully be opening their online store very soon, but until then, those with an itch to scratch can
I wish them every success and can't wait to try out more of their gear in the future.