Berghaus Vulcan Rucksack Review Cyclops II 2017/11/25
The trouble of hiking with a rucksack, especially a large one, is
that when it’s fully loaded the weight inside distorts the shape and
structure of the pack. Often resulting in a very uncomfortable walk.
The ghastly lump sagging behind you, feeling separate to your body and
throwing you off balance. This is a full review and field test of
the Berghaus Vulcan.
Modern packs tend to skimp on the frame, with some not even having one
at all! If you are lucky you will get a half assed effort consisting of
a thin tensile wire that runs around the back exterior of the pack. They
may be better than nothing at all. However the fact they are referred to
by the manufacturer is very misleading. As they
twist easily with stress and do not offer the user adequate support.
Manufacturers then claim that this flexing of the frame is a benefit,
suggesting that the weight "moves with you”. This is nonsense in my
The Berghaus Vulcan is different, it’s solid and feels very strong. It
passes this feeling of strength onto the user who feels it when hiking.
This is overwhelmingly due to the frame that is used in the pack, which
is called Cyclops II. Even when fully loaded the frame holds the shape
of the rucksack and maintains structural integrity. The surprising bit
is that even though the Vulcan is heavier than some of my other packs it
'feels' lighter when worn as the frame keeps your posture in a positive
position, so you don't hunch over with the weight. The result is that
you spend less energy keeping your back straight and can focus that
instead on actually hiking and moving forward.
My first time using the Berghaus Vulcan was not out on the hill, it was
actually moving a bunch of bushcraft teaching supplies. The pack was
very heavy and full of random objects, like axes, cooking pots and even
some arrows! All of that added to the seriousness of this initial test
as if the pack could cope with a very uneven load then it could cope
well with a methodical pack that one does before setting out hiking. The
Vulcan performed superbly and carried the weight exceptionally well, the
load was around 25kg. The Vulcan is a military pack but don't let that
distract you. Above all it's very well made without being over the top
on additional features. A route that many military packs can go down,
for example with super heavy buckles.The Berghaus Vulcan has durability
where you need it and crucially shows restraint on superfluous features
that just add unnecessary bulk and weight. It’s these unnecessary
features that are sadly so common in most modern products so it’s
refreshing to see the Vulcan give all of what you need and nothing added
just for the sake of it.
The Berghaus Vulcan consists of a main rucksack of 80 litre capacity.
This can be paired with it’s two side pockets of 10 litres each. This
brings the total carrying potential to be 100 litres. Certainly putting
the Vulcan in the pigeon hole of expedition rucksacks. However one can
leave the side pockets at home and compress the main pack which allows
the user to utilise the pack on much shorter trips and increase the
overall adaptability of the Berghaus Vulcan.
Attaching the side pockets is not the quickest of tasks but it is
simple, it just takes a couple of minutes to thread the webbing through
and do the zips up on each side. The side pockets have a lovely feature
by providing a place to attach skis. This rucksack is an all season
workhorse. Certainly you are able to venture into the backcountry in
full on winter conditions where skis or snowshoes with this rucksack.
Other gear attachment points can be used for ice axes or walking poles.
The webbing and closure design is made of strong webbing and a hard
plastic buckle so they are held in place securely. The lid has one large
pocket which is good for those items we need to access quickly such as a
head torch. I would have liked to see another internal pocket but this
is something you could stitch on at a later date if you wanted. I would
also have liked to see an internal sleeve to hold a hydration kit, this
is sadly missing.
There is a sleeping bag compartment at the base of the pack with a
fabric divider. This separates that section out from the main internal
space. A very handy feature to have when your pack is stowed in the
vestibule of your tent and makes unpacking and repacking the pack a lot
easier. Wearing the Vulcan is a pleasure. The foam on the hip harness
and back system is strong and firm and transfers the weight well through
your hips. The Vulcan makes the most of the excellent frame system. The
buckle design around the hips is fantastic. It's very strong, simple and
practical with a very slick quick release feature.
The Vulcan user can take advantage of load adjustment points. These
bring the weight even closer to you, these can be found above the
shoulders and behind the hips. These small features really add to the
usability of the pack and increase the overall comfort. With everything
tightened the pack becomes a dream to hike with. Overall the Berghaus
Vulcan is an excellent rucksack. It’s a fair price and you get one
superbly designed and constructed piece of expedition and hill walking
equipment. I really enjoy using it and it will be accompanying me on
many trips to come.
The Berghaus Vulcan comes in 4
different back lengths so finding your correct size should be easy.