Lightwave Fastpack 30 Review

I used the Lightwave Fastpack 30 for a two day backpacking trip to the Lakes recently, I wanted a small capacity backpacking rucksack with a good hipbelt and a 'proper' lid – the Fastpack 30 did the job very well indeed.

There are a lot of 30 litre packs out there but the Fastpack stands out for a number of reasons, durability, virtually waterproof and a really good harness system. The harness is similar to the bigger Fastpack models but without the frame, but with a lightweight backpacking load upto 10kg this is perfectly acceptable. The foam on the backpanel provides stiffening and stops anything inside the pack digging into you. The important piece of harness – the hipbelt – has not been compromised – it's one of the best around, it’s on the large side with a cutout to fit round the hips and a decent amount of padding.

There are no hipbelt pockets, I generally miss these, but the side mesh pockets on the main compartment can be accessed quite easily on the move and I found these to be fine. You can always add some storage to the hipbelt or shoulder straps if you really wanted to.

Most of the seams on the Fastpack are welded and/or taped – this makes the whole pack virtually waterproof. It's not 100% because the main seams on the bag are not treated in this way, however it would take a comprehensive downpour over an extended period to get anything inside wet. I'm very confident of this and didn't pack my gear in drybags as I would with other packs, you still need a drybag for wet gear though – I took one for my tent, which was wet each morning.

A third mesh pocket on the outside of the pack would be an improvement, as it is you can tie bungee cord through the loops provided for fastening gear to the outside of the pack; but that's not as secure as a pocket. When packing up a wet tent the obvious place to stuff it is in a large external pocket – this means it's easy to access later in the day so you can dry it out, not an option with the Fastpack.

The Fastpack 30 has a conventional lid with a top pocket which was big enough to take all my food plus a few other items. There's a central exit port for a bladder tube and a really good clip on the right shoulder strap to keep the tube where you want it.

I was carrying about 20lbs (9kg) and found the pack very comfortable and stable. With backpacking gear you are likely to fill a 30 litre pack so the lack of a frame is less important – the stiffness provided by it being full of kit is enough to ensure some transfer of weight to the hipbelt.

Anecdotally the main compartment alone seems to be 30 Litres so I found I had adequate space, and the Fastpack seems bigger than many other 30 litre packs I’ve used. I liked not using drybags as soft items fill the space inside the pack better and you can get to what you want more easily, but I would go back to using them if the forecast was for rain.

Our Verdict

At 960g the Fastpack 30 is on the heavy side for a 30 litre rucksack, but you are buying a tough rucksack with a comfortable carry and a conventional lid with pocket. With loads up to 10kg the weight of the pack isn’t as critical, so 960g will be acceptable to most people. Buy this if you want a smaller version of a traditional rucksack rather than other small packs with creative designs around specific activities.