Articles - Gear Review: The Freeflow Pro from Berghaus
Jamie Maddison - Posted on 03 Feb 2010
Although it should be mentioned right off the bat that the rucksack range is not specifically designed for climbing with, due to the central inclusion of an aluminium frame. That being said, what it lacks in hardcore climber appeal, it certainly makes up for in all round excellence, and is a good choice for those wanting a backpack to ferry their equipment to and from the base of crags in the best comfort available.
So firstly, why include a frame? Well, the presence of an aluminum frame, which in itself is quite lightweight, is designed to push the main bulk of the rucksack away from the wearer's back. This creates a defined gap through which air can flow, removing heat and reducing the carrier's sweaty uncomfortableness. Unlike other Airflow rucksacks, the Freeflow Pro has successfully managed to strike a correct balance between having a defined gap for airflow and yet still achieving a stable, evenly distributed pack.
The whole construction of the rucksack has been designed with an objective of reducing its weight as far as possible, whilst still maintaining a decent level of overall comfort. Looking over it, one would struggle to find a single unnecessary or needlessly heavy feature and I was impressed by how such seemingly thin straps could, at the same time, be as comfortable as the most heavily padded of its competitors.
“It's pivoting lightweight Revolve hipbelt further increases stability and gives greater freedom of movement, while the addition of EVABreathe foam technology in key areas such as the straps boosts comfort.”
The Pro is packed with a myriad of additional features, including; a raincover, wand pockets, walking pole or ice-axe attachment, and hydration system compatibility. That being said, the thought did occur during the review test (video featured below) that despite its ice-axe attachments, the pack is not really suited for winter conditions. This is namely because the design of the rucksack pushes the bulk of the weight away from the back and this protruding profile generated more drag in heavy winds, and I often found myself being literally blown sideways in strong gusts.
Apart from that, I didn't notice any other faults and was actually quite impressed with the punishment the sack could take; over a month of constant, nearly everyday use, hardly created a single wear or tear mark anywhere on the bag!
In conclusion, the Freeflow Pro is a cleverly designed and decent multipurpose rucksack, useful for any person wishing to carry heavy equipment (trad racks etc.) over long distances in the maximum of comfort. It's not ideal for winter conditions, nor for actually climbing in, but that, personally, is fine trade off to me as I reckon that the features designed to make my walks-in (which I do a lot) more comfortable are considerably more useful than a sack I may one day, in the vague distant future, take up the mountains.
The Pro sacs are available in a range of sizes from 20L to 50L, and include two women’s specific models, and prices range from £90 to £110.
To find out more about the full range of Berghaus clothing, footwear and equipment, visit www.berghaus.com.
Check out all of the Freeflow Pro rucksacks and make your purchase