Some of you might remember that I did some work with Go Outdoors earlier in the year for the opening of the amazing new Preston Store. Which resulted in me getting the Kathmandu Transfer Pack (featured in May’s Currently Loving Post). I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting (read: badgering me for) the review and finally it is here. I can honestly tell you that this bag is my one and only true love of a bag!
Kathmandu Transfer Pack
Since getting my Kathmandu Transfer Pack, it has barely left my back. I have a hard criteria for bags as I use a rucksack daily for absolutely everything. As a self-employed person, I need it to function as a mobile office as well as travel bag, gym kit bag and of course somewhere for groceries, my bus pass, refillable bottle and coffee cup. Finding something which fits the above and doesn’t cost the price of a trip to Brussels is no mean feat.
Oh yeah, did I mention how much tech it needs to hold too? And my flask and my packed lunch?
What attracted me to the bag
Short of this turning into some kind of weird bag/human romance or Mills & Boon tale (The Outdoor Bloggers at the May camp will know what I mean!) I thought I would share a bit about what attracted me to the bag in the first place. There are so many bags out there that it can be a mine field trying to find the right one and at the right price. Having previously been using my Lowe Alpine Air Zone Trail ND32 as my every day bag, but it did seem a tiny bit extreme for every day missions about town. I love my Air Zone though and it remains my favourite for hiking and long walks because of the curved “anti sweat” back mesh.
Anyway, back to the bag romance. The first thing attracting me to the Kathmandu Transfer Pack was that it looks like a very smart rucksack. Not your typical pouches and ties all over the place kind of hiking bag. It was clean and simple with a small logo and a pouch on the side. Was it love at first sight, I think it might have been. Then came the demonstration from Ian from Go Outdoors and the balance was tipped. I thought about that bag for the whole time I was in the store – and that is not something that happens a lot for me. (I hear from my sources that Ian went home with one on the same day too!)
For a very simple looking bag, it has a load of brilliant features and it is surprising how much it can hold for a 28 litre pack. Put it this way, I travel for most foreign trips with just this rucksack. So it has to contain all my tech, chargers, laptop, camera, flask, Stasher bags, breakfast and lunch, Kindle, travel book and of course my clothes for the duration of the trip. I do pack pretty lightly, but there still are plenty of goodies to fit in there.
Small zipped side pocket
The bag is amazingly well thought through and is just what I was looking for in a bag. There is a small zipped pouch to one side where I keep my bus and gym passes – easily accessible even when running – and on the other side is the bottle pouch for easily accessing my water on the go.
Removable Travel Pod
You know when you get on the plane or train and have hands full of random things like your power bank, Kindle, pen and paper, phone, tickets and all sorts of other gubbins. You know how annoying that is?
Well, the Kathmandu Transfer Pack has thought about that and in the top pocket is a travel pod which you will with all the above and remove from the zip and Velcro to easily and tidily take to your seat with you. No more faffing and you can organise your cables in the neat little pockets too.
Laptops are one thing that your average hiking bag is not going to do for you. The curved back just doesn’t hold it nicely even if you try to secure it into the water bladder pouch. So getting a bag which has a specific laptop pouch was definitely a win. I take my laptop all over the place for work for The Urban Wanderer as well as for Refill and other freelance stuff. Being able to have an “office on the go” is important for the likes of me.
The laptop space is secured by zips which open down to the bottom of the bag and is protected by the padding which meets your back. There is an additional pouch inside which is where I store my iPad and the main area for my laptop. It can even take up to a 15″ laptop, which many bags of this size don’t do (I know this as we’ve been looking for a new bag for Jit) Just outside is another handy pouch for my Kindle so that I can reach my reading at all times.
Inside the bag
It is amazing that with all that storage that we haven’t even touched on the inside yet. The inner part of the bag has a main bucket style pouch which I find useful for my gym gear, shopping or clothes, picnic and flask when travelling. There is also a zipped mesh pocket and an open pocket. I use the mesh one for my work expenses receipts. The open pocket behind it is perfect for my notebook, work phone and sometimes my Varta power bank while I am charging on the go.
As you can see, this small bag packs a big punch when it comes to organising and storing your stuff!
The fabric of the bag is a nice soft-to-the-touch canvas style fabric which copes pretty well with your average rain. However, when we were caught in a monsoon-type downpour on one of our trips to Amsterdam, it took a bit of a beating. Before we could find enough shelter to put on the waterproof cover, the water had seeped through the seams into the inner lining of the bag. Thankfully, though, the travel pod kept my electrics dry. I didn’t expect the bag to be 100% waterproof and to be honest, it was a crazy heavy rain. It is just useful to know so you can place expensive kit accordingly on wet days.
The one and only blip!
On the note of waterproofing, it brings me to the one and only blip about my beloved Kathmandu Transfer Pack. The waterproof cover and the cover pouch. If you’ve ever been caught in heavy rain, you will know that it can make your fingers cold and less dexterous than they might usually be – especially when wet. The waterproof cover is kept in a pouch at the bottom of the bag, but it has a full length strong piece of velcro keeping it in. I found this to be a bit of a challenge with dry hands, let alone when being pelted with rain. The other part of this tale is that the waterproof cover is attached to the bag.
It might seem like a good idea. However, in reality, if you’re trying to dry your cover and need your bag for later (after the rain) you’re stuck with the decision of whether to let it dangle over your bum while you explore or pack it away wet, inevitably meaning it doesn’t get dried at all.
To resolve the problem, I intend to snip the cover off and to remove some of the Velcro. Job’s a good’un and I have things the way I want them.
I mentioned earlier that I only ever travel with one rucksack and this is that pack. Most of the time it comes on board the plane with me and stows away nicely in the overheads. However, things are a bit different with some flight companies with the weight allowance. This happened in Poland when we were heading to Amsterdam from Warsaw. This meant that I had to put my Kathmandu Transfer Pack in the hold. Now if there is as good a test as any, this was going to be it.
The one thing I did buy was a strap to keep all the dangly bits in place. I think this is generally good practice no matter what kind of bag you have and makes sure that nothing gets caught or ripped in transit. We did the same for Jit’s hiking bag and took our stuff through in jutes.
Sure enough my bag came through as good as it went in. All the zips intact and everything still secure inside, so it passed the hold test with flying colours. I felt as excited about seeing it on the other side as I imagine parents are seeing their children after their first night apart!
Not your traditional looking kind of hiking bag and probably not my first choice for long distance ones, but I can confirm that it is also great for hiking. It has a waist strap with hip covers and a chest strap to keep it in place while scaling heights. It even has elastics for hiking poles and the back is breathable so keeps you fairly sweat free.
On the note of sweating
I have been asked about this a lot and to be honest, I did sweat quite a lot while out and about with my pack. Could it have been because of the crazily hot summer we had? Probably. Could it be because I walk at the speed of a gazelle which has the result of making me sweat? Sure. Could the combination make it very sweaty? Definitely.
In all fairness, I think most bags will have a level of sweaty back going for them. Wherever the bag touches you will get warm and in hot conditions will encourage sweating there. I can say that I didn’t get any rubbing though, which I think is the most important thing. there was enough breath-ability for me to get a breeze through even on the hottest days and I was always comfortable.
Do I really, really, love the Kathmandu transfer Pack?
Hell yeah! To say I have the most compliments about my bag ever is an understatement. My friends and random people love it for the simple look and neat design – and that’s before they even know how clever it is. I have travelled all over the place by train, plane and automobile and can guarantee that this bag lives up to the name Transfer Pack.
Not only does it win at travelling though, it is perfect for my mobile office, for carrying my gear to the gym, adventuring up trails or along canals and getting me to where I need to be. I also finally look “normal” in town as my bag looks more of a commuting bag than something for a camping trip. It didn’t really bother me, but it is nice to have a more rounded look – even though I then go and stick a tree in the thing.
It can carry everything I need for a week away abroad as well as having plenty of space for anything I wish to bring back with me. I can’t pack it too much that it gets overly heavy and it remains comfortable even when it is a bit weighty. To say I like this bag isn’t true. I absolutely love it.
My next step
The only thing missing for me now is the Goal Zero Power Pack and Solar Panel so that I can get sustainable juice for my kit while wandering and exploring. If you’re as beady eyed as I think you are, you will have noticed the nice little yellow loops down the side of the bag. These are not for decoration. They have been designed purposely to hold the Goal Zero solar charging set. If a bag was designed for me, this is it. Maybe I’ll get one for Christmas and in time for my trip to Valencia in February…
So after me gushing on for a very long post, I think it is fair to say that I wholeheartedly recommend the Kathmandu Transfer Pack. I have given it a whole lot of hard testing, from every day use and it has done me proud.
What do you reckon about the Kathmandu Transfer Pack? Isn’t it just amazing?
Got any questions you would like answering about it? Then drop them in the comments…
would you like to see a “Whats’ in your bag” kind of video to see how much I can actually fit in there for the different kinds of activities I do?
Pop that below too.
PS: Not to be a temptress or anything, but Go Outdoors are selling the Kathmandu Transfer Pack for £90 at the moment to members…
PPS: This post is not sponsored, I just absolutely LOVE this bag!!!