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Review by Tony Lourens
Anyone who has read my review of the Capstone packs in SA Mountain Magazine two years ago will know I am a big fan of this pack already. Now Thule has brought out the new edition with some great improvements and nifty new features.
Although not a technical pack that lends itself specifically to rock climbing, the Capstone can be used as a crag bag, but really comes into its own on day hikes and on multi-day slack packing treks. I use the “old” Capstone extensively on day hikes, as well as on my field research trips, as I find it the ideal size to fit in my essential kit as well as all my bits and bobs, like GPS unit, Dictaphone and maps, etc.
Well, how do you upgrade a pack that was already a great product from the start? Read on!
At first glance, the new Capstone looks and feels very much like the old one, and essentially it is. But when one starts to probe deeper, then the differences become apparent.
The MicroAdjust suspension system that makes the pack fully adjustable for the perfect fit, has been changed ever so slightly – the pull toggle has been moved higher. This sounds negligible, but makes quite a big difference when adjusting the straps, as the toggle no longer sticks on the bottom of the ratchet plate.
The bag has a tensioned mesh back panel for maximum breathability and comfort, which is made even more comfy by the padded hip belt and shoulder straps, making the loaded pack sit very nicely and evenly on your back and shoulders. The pack is also hydration compatible (the “H2O” outlet has been moved to the side, which makes it a bit easier to direct the pipe) and has two stretch pockets on the sides (tilted for ease of use) for water bottles, binoculars or cameras, etc, and a built in rain cover.
The substantial main packing area of the bag remains unchanged, but the smaller front zipped pocket has been moved to just behind your head, and is slightly smaller than on the older version – handy for maps, route descriptions or sunglasses, etc. And the tension straps on the side makes it possible to cinch down the pack, creating a stable and streamlined bag that fits close and snug to your body.
The other feature that remains almost unchanged (and I’m very glad that that is the case) is the huge and extremely useful flap-cum-pocket on the front of the pack, which allows for easy access to kit that you may need readily, like a fleece or rain top. The only improvement on this are the button holes running down either side, which is very useful for clipping things on the outside with carabiners, or for strapping stuff on.
Another great feature is the small zipped pocket on the right side of the hip belt, which is just the ticket for energy bars, sucking sweets, or phone and the like, while on the other side, Thule have implemented a tough plastic strap, designed for stashing your walking poles, to clip a water bottle to, or indeed to attach your camera, for easy and constant access – which is exactly what I use mine for. The other small improvement, which I like, is the stronger and more versatile carry/haul handle
Stylish and versatile the Capstone 32 litre is a thoroughly comfortable daypack with a close fit and is streamlined to fit within the width of your body, making it perfect for all day excursions in the hills, from short strolls through the woods to full days out in the mountains. And for those who want something a little smaller the Capstone is also available in a 22 litre model and both come in men and ladies fit.
Go to their website to check out their full range.
Material: 210D Robic Nylon • 420D Nylon
Capacity: 32 litres (also available in 22 litres)
Height: 58 cm
Width: 33 cm
Depth: 26 cm
Weight: 1.16 kg