Vango Khumbu 50 rucksack

Pack combines lightness and comfort

Vango’s Khumbu 50 lightweight walking rucksack won a Novel Award at the Outdoors Trade Show 2013 and was praised for its innovative design.

In fact, the rucksack was developed thanks to customer feedback and  the company reckons it has created the ideal lightweight multi-day rucksack.

Vango’s product manager Rob Partridge, who worked on designing the Khumbu, said: “We designed the Khumbu with gear-intensive single days and lightweight multi-day treks in mind.

“We used 200D Ripstop Nylon for this pack, making it extremely lightweight and highly durable, while the AirWave back system vents warm air away from the wearer’s body and the breathable shoulder straps and removable hip belt give extra comfort and great functionality.”

The Khumbu 50 rucksack features also include:

  • Detachable rain cover
  • Ice axe/walking pole attachments
  • Sternum Strap for a secure fit
  • Easy to find and operate zip pull
  • Strong and durable Dura-flex buckles
  • Hydration reservoir compatible
  • Detachable rain cover
  • Side compression straps to secure your load
  • Extendable gaiter under lid allowing for additional pack space
  • Top compression strap
  • Grab handle between the shoulder straps
  • Weight of 1.36kg

Testing the Khumbu 50

It’s immediately obvious that this is a lightweight pack. Without anything in it, the pack is super light on the back even though it is a 50 litre size. Yet the Khumbu still looks robust and well-made.

Khumbu 50 rucksack
So how have Vango managed to design a lightweight yet strong rucksack? A clue could be in the AirWave Back System, which uses corrugated foam with an open-weave mesh face. This is lightweight and comfortable and offers a nifty cooling system.

Also, there are only a few pockets in this pack. A couple of side bottle holders and two, pockets in the hood, one external and one internal, are all you’ll find. If you like lots of pockets this rucksack isn’t for you but if you like lightweight and adequate pockets, it is.

Other features, such as the breathable waist and shoulders straps, which are constructed by laminating tough outer mesh with punched EVA foam to let the air through, also combine to offer strength without too much weight.

Everything about this rucksack looks well thought out. Whether you are carrying more or less, the pack can be extended or compressed to ensure it is neatly packaged for carrying. There are straps for carrying walking poles or ice axes and the space inside the rucksack is ample for a long day of hiking. Thankfully it is also a comfortable pack to wear.  Even when loaded up the pack can be adjusted to fit on the waist, back and shoulders.

One thing, though, this is a pack more suited to men. There are other rucksacks with shorter back systems that will be a better fit for women, especially shorter women, while the Khumbu 50 is, in my opinion, better suited to taller men because it has a fairly long back.

The company says: “We do not design rucksacks specifically for women but we do sell packs with short back systems for people with a smaller stature, which could be more favourable for women. The Contour 50+10S is one such product.”

The biggest test for a rucksack is the “rubs”. If it doesn’t rub or irritate while working it gets a thumbs-up. If it rubs at all it gets a thumbs-down. The Vango Khumbu 50 receives a full thumbs-up from me.

Vango Khumbu 50 Priced £70

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