Berghaus Arete II 45 Rucsack
Retails at £70. 45l capacity. Weight 950g.
Berghaus have billed this as a No Fuss, Versatile Mountaineering Pack and I would say that they are bang on.
It’s very well designed indeed. The material is lightweight, but hard wearing. The compression straps on the side are long enough and easily adjustable to be properly useful – there are two on each side, the lower one simply loosens and tightens whilst the upper one has a plastic buckle to allow you to poke whatever it is you are strapping on into the lower band, and then to wrap the upper one around it as opposed to threading it through the upper to reach the lower. Hope that makes sense! There is also a double thickness loop below the lower strap for skis. The lid pocket is often the design point on a ricksack which lets it down most. On this one it works very well. It’s big enough to stow guidebooks and maps easily, and holds its shape even when you strap the lid down to the main rucksack body tightly. This is probably because it doesn’t have an internal lid pocket, something which I have missed – personally I would have included a small internal pocket for keys (with a clip), wallet and phone as I prefer the extra waterproofness of an internal pocket for important items, as well as the added security if, for example, you leave your sack unattended at a crag or climbing wall. There’s a bladder sleeve inside the main body, but no bladder is supplied with the sack. The ice axe attachment straps are elasticated and work well. It’s comfortable, even when loaded up with crampons, axes, wet ropes and a large wedge of Christmas cake! It seems standard practice now, but I am still tickled by the addition of a miniature whistle on the chest strap.
All in all a very well made, simply designed rucksack at a knock-down price which I haven’t had the likes of since my Lowe Alpine which I bought (for the same price, which I thought was a bargain then) in 1994, and lasted me 15 years!