Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Decathlon Ultra Trail Rucksack

This is a review and guarded recommendation of the men's and women's Decathlon Quechua 10L rucsacks

These are dedicated rucksacks for running, and ultra trail running in particular, in other worlds ultra lightweight rucksacks, including bladders, with lots of pockets for food and mandatory ultra items like a phone and torch(es).

 Mens version link and shown above.

 Womans version  .. I can't find it online yet!

The Need
Although Marcus does espouse minimalism he has proposed to have a separate home and motorhome run race rucksacks.  Otherwise we have to keep taking the run race specific rucksack back and forth. (In addition to our normal day rucksacks, it begins to be a palava)

This is duplication which I discussed recently!

Anyway, I spent over 30 minutes checking the features of both products but despite the ludicrously low price  (130 Polish zloty or 23GBP)  Agata put a hold on buying them just yet!

All the features I discovered:

++ An ultra lightweight rucksack incorporating a 2Litre removable vertical bladder
+ Bladd has a slide top to open filler  (i.e. not a screw top) and is better suited to quick filling at ultra refreshment stops.
+ Besides the bladder there is an adjacent unzipped large compartment on the back outside into which you could place food, a jacket, torch etc.  Its a big pocket and deep. There is a compression zip around the outside edge to reduce volume.
+ Left and right zip pockets, hugging to waist, towards the back and hence rather difficult to access quickly.
- Mens version has 2 thin chest straps that attach via clips (not buckles).  I prefer the more secure buckles as the clips feel flimsy
+ Womans version has 2 buckles!

- Mens version does not have a full lower waist band strap, the rucksack is designed to sit up high
+ Mens version has two front pockets into which soft flasks can be put.  Or food.  I checked and a 5.5" smartphone will just fit into the pocket.   Oh these pockets also have a second thin compartment which could hold a gel
- Woman version has NO pockets on front
++ Woman version has a wonderful thick and innovative waist belt using velcro to adjust waist size.  Fantastic, and why doesn't the man's version have this!
- Woman version in girly pink colour so not the best purchase for a man, additionally the lack of front pockets means there is no quick access pocket for say a phone.  That is important!

So, each of the products is a little bit flawed.  But come on, at less than 30 GBP including a 2L bladder, either product is a bloody steal!  A comparable Salomon S-Lab Skin is over 75 GBP.

I am therefore a little bit cross that Agata vetoed my purchase, but she is right that the male version might flop around due to its poor fastening, whilst the female version has no front pockets on straps, so you can't put your phone anywhere.  How annoying!

Either rucksack are so close to being perfect.

Oh and also Marcus prefers a horizontal water bladder, but the industry never accepted this idea so practically speaking you have to go for Vertical bladder rucksacks these days.

SO, if you have a strict <= 50GBP budget for an ultra trail rucksack then go for your sex specific version and try to work around the limitations.

Decathlon Ultra 10L rucksack
Salomon S-Lab Skin
Camelbak Octane LR
Camelbak Baja LR