I love outdoor fortune telling as much as the next person, unless the next person likes going so far from the network that they could be dangerously far away from any sort of Wi-Fi or cellular signal. For those tough, fearless guys who chuckle at the thought of literally “getting lost” Jack Wolfskin makes the Kingston 30 Pack Recco. It is a sporty and well-equipped bag that has excellent, potentially life-saving characteristics. Partly drawn to its lava red color (more like dark orange in real life) and partly to the lure of adventure, I asked Jack Wolfskin to send me one to try it out. And now that I have it, it’s my new go-to bag for day trips, no matter how shy and hip they are.
Lots of pockets and straps
Of course, the only reason you bring a backpack is to carry stuff. So it’s nice to have useful places for all of this. I love the three elasticated mesh exterior pockets on this bag, as they’re great for stashing (and still seeing) water bottles and other items you want to keep close at hand. But it’s cool to see that the ones on the sides also feature adjustable straps to tighten these items in place when you’re on the go.
The small zipped compartment at the top of the bag is ideal for masks, sunglasses, keys, wallets and other small items. The lower zippered compartment could potentially hold a spare set of shoes. And inside the main compartment, there is a fitted pocket on the back to hold the bladder of a hydration system, for which it is also equipped with a tube duct and a clip. Other storage attachments include tie-down straps for trekking poles and side compression straps. Everything serves a function, without approaching excess pocket.
The comfort factor
Better than the fact that you can easily fit up to 30 liters of gear in this day pack, what makes it great is that it’s actually comfy no matter how full it is or for how long. you plan to hike. Much of this is due to the way it rests on your body, thanks to a stiff but flexible back on the inside and ventilated foam padding in the center on the outside. Also, a nice touch that I had never seen before is that the main straps can be adjusted not only at the bottom but also at the top. With the two sets of straps tightened to my liking, I was able to adapt the bag to my body. For the heavier loads it was also nice to have the chest and waist straps to help relieve some of the pressure from my back.
One of the coolest features of this bag is that it incorporates a Recco chip. Although this useful technology has been around for decades, I hadn’t heard of it. But it’s basically a little passive reflector that can be inserted into ski boots, jackets, bags, etc. The reflector itself contains no batteries, just a diode and an antenna. Its only job is to be pinged by the companion portable sensing device (used by professional search and rescue teams) which sends out a directional radar signal. Over the years, this ingenious two-part system has proven invaluable in finding otherwise undetectable needles (fearless adventurers) in very large haystacks (outdoors).
What is hidden
Another nice touch that falls into the category of safety is the whistle integrated into the chest strap buckle. Conveniently, a zipper in the lower compartment allows you to access stuff at the bottom of the bag so you don’t have to dig all the way through your stuff from the top. If you encounter inclement weather during your adventure, you can deploy the integrated protective yellow rain shield which is integrated into a zipped compartment hidden under the bag. And one final feature you might otherwise miss is at the top, just outside the large shoulder straps: this bag sports two small shoulder straps with hooks that hide in small pockets when not in use but are designed to fit. tie this day bag to your front when you wear it. Jack Wolfskin’s biggest Kalari bag on the back.
Should you buy the Jack Wolfskin Kingston 30 Pack Recco?
If you really think you’ll never get so far off the grid that you need the Recco feature, you can grab the standard Kingston 30 pack, which is only available in black. There is also a 22 liter version, which might be suitable for shorter day trips. But I’m a huge fan of the Kingston 30 Pack Recco’s versatility, considering it’s just as fit for far-off adventures as an everyday bag to throw over my shoulders.
Buy from Jack Wolfskin or Amazon for $ 109.95.
Newsweek may earn a commission from the links on this page, but we only recommend products that we support. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means that we may receive commissions on products chosen by the editorial staff and purchased through our links to retailer sites.