The first thing you notice about the voyager is its incredible weight, or lack of it. Coming in at an impressive 462 grams, this bag really is lightweight, but does that compromise practicality? I decided to put it to the test...
The streets or Rio are not the most extreme testing ground, but the climbs around the Sugarloaf, with their dense forest and sharp rocks certainly made the voyager work for its money. It handled the creepers and vines well and scraped it's away over the rocks showing little sign of damage. The shoulder straps are fine to bear a reasonable weight, but I would prefer a wider waist belt to control anything heavier. We fought to the summit in darkness, bashing through dense undergrowth, before enjoying the views over copacabana and beyond.
Two weeks of hard trekking an climbing followed in the Aguilles Negras and Tres Picos National Parks. Again the voyager worked well, although the chest strap did have a habit of pinging off its clip. It slid back on ok, but I did find it irritating at times. What was apparent were the signs of wear appearing on the bag. I had been pushing through some very dense jungle, wildcamping and scrambling over razor sharp granite continuously. There was a little fraying to the sides and a couple of small tears where thorns had bit, but the ripstop material had done its job well. My observations on the wear are by no means a criticism. You are buying this bag for it's lightness and that comes at a cost. I've many thick and heavy bags, which have survived years of expeditions, but of course, they weigh a great deal more.
I then climbed Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Here the voyager did extremely well, rammed with lightweight kit and covered in crampons. The open terrain suited the bag and it performed well, particularly on the higher sections of the peak, although for load hauling I found the shoulder straps a little thin with heavier weights on board.
Back at home in Derbyshire, it took the voyager out over the wet summer of 2012, before finding it's ideal purpose - ski mountaineering...
Early in 2013 I was I'm Scotland for a few days climbing, but the avalanche risk was to high to risk a route. Instead I ski toured around the Cairngorms and found the voyager a wonderful piece of gear. It held what I needed, was right on my back and weighed nothing. It's technical attributes allow ice axe and crampons to be fitted and the outside net panel allows easy acces to maps etc. it was simple, efficient and practical. What more of outdoor gear can we ask?
~ Nigel Vardy, British record breaking mountaineer, author and inspirational speaker.