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North Face Flyweight Rucksack Review

The North Face(tm) Flyweight Rucksack retails for between $40-$60, and is available at most major sporting goods stores. It is designed with simplicity in mind, and is reminiscent of early military "stuff sacks," more designed for storage than for carrying. Its simplicity is what will draw many, however, as it is much more versatile than many other types of backpacks or rucks. Below I'll describe the positives and negatives of the product, as well as my recommendation for who would benefit most from it.

The Flyweight Rucksack is simply designed. One main compartment with a thin portion in the back, perfect for a hydration bladder (although a laptop fits there nicely as well). It has three pouches on the outside, two designed for liquid containers and the outermost one large enough for a first aid kit. The top opens via a drawstring cord and is secured by a pressure clasp and has a top fold over piece secured by a standard backpack clip.

The material is 100% lightweight nylon, heavily stitched in weight bearing portions. It has several straps on the outside to tighten the pack, and has two light straps. The only additional feature is a small pouch near the top of the inside, which allows the pack to be stuffed into the pouch and zipped closed. This allows for the whole pack to condense into a three by three by one (3x3x1) inch square for easy storage.

I've tested the pack in the city (as a regular backpack), as a ruck on a road hike, and as a travel backpack.

Backpack UseThe Flyweight Rucksack performs good, if not great, as a backpack. The lack of structure makes it important to place items carefully in the rucksack, since a small item misplaced can end up sitting on your spine if you aren't careful. For in the city, I would look elsewhere. It also has a distinctly "military" look to it, especially in the green color.

RuckingAs a ruck, this product performs great. A well packed ruck, round on the outside and padding placed intentionally towards the back, allows this product to condense well and sits squarely wherever you place it. The only gripe I have is with the straps; the thin straps bunched and curled on me at one point, causing me to have to stop for a few minutes to right them. In their defense, it was raining heavily, however I expect better for the cost of the ruck.

Travel BackpackAs a travel backpack the Flyweight Rucksack did a great job. I used it as an overnight bag. The only downside is during transit, as you will have to place quick access items at the top or in the pouch for obvious reasons. As long as you don't need to access items quickly, it's a great choice for this use. I recommend using it in conjunction with a laptop bag or briefcase if going on an airplane. Note that due to the light material and straps, it can carry a good load for its size.

That's it! This is a great product from The North Face, and I highly recommend it for anyone who rucks on a regular basis or would like an overnight bag they can throw together quickly and over the shoulder. The straps need work, but hopefully TNF will put out replacements or fix this issue in their next production line.