Review: Sandhill 45
A barely-there backpack
By Arielle Powers
For the last six years, I have used the same 65 liter pack. No matter if it was a one night trip or a 3-week trip abroad, I packed that bag to the brim with everything I thought I needed. On the shorter trips I was always thinking that I didn’t need to carry all of that stuff. That’s when I realized I needed a smaller backpack. Enter the Sandhill 45.
It’s a great size for a weekend trip, with very little excess space to over-pack. Thanks to the wireframe suspension and Robic fabric it's lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 2 pounds, 5 ounces — one of if not the lightest pack in its class. It compresses well to so it doesn't look or feel over sized and heavy when taking short day hikes from camp.
The frame and suspension on this backpack are the key to the above mentioned comfort. Using what Red Fox calls ActiVent technology to suspend the pack away from your back allowing for superb venting and unexpected carrying comfort. .
The wire hoop circles the circumference of the pack, creating a super-lightweight frame. The mesh is stretched over the hoop, which evens out the weight distribution of the bag, while suspending the bag away from the back. The waist belt isn’t overly padded, but provides just the right amount of support on my hips to relieve my shoulders of bearing the brunt of the weight.
When I first put it on I'm struck by the thought, "That's it?" It's like the wireframe suspension halves the weight I'm carrying. As a 125 pound, 5' 6" woman a fully loaded, 30 pound Sandhill fell like nothing!
It’s hydration compatible and has some easily reachable pockets on the sides and on the waist belt so essentials are always at hand.
Without a doubt this backpack is one of the best on the market. Although the 45 liter size might be too small for a week long trip, with some judicious trimming the 65-liter version might be.
Highlights from Theresa's review:
"I give this pack two thumbs up. I'm most impressed with the weight-to-durability ratio. It is the lightest, yet biggest pack I've ever used and the lack of weight has not been a detriment in any way."
"...The light frame distributes the weight effectively, concentrating the bulk of the weight onto my hips."
"...the 65 L pack ... gives me a lot of flexibility for stashing everything I can think of. I have appreciated the hip pockets, which seemed small at first, but I was able to fit my camera and any other item that I had wanted to stash for easy access. The stretchy side pockets have also proved useful for stashing gloves on the fly or a one liter water bottle. The larger stretchy pocket on the back fits an outer layer nicely..."