Vaude's Asymetric backpack is designed for multi-day hiking and shorter treks. It can carry 52 litres of kit plus an extra 8 litres in an extending top if needed, but perhaps the limiting factor here is the load capacity of 12kg which would be pushing the 60 litre size, even with the most ultralight kit. It's best to consider the extra 8 litres as wiggle room in case you have a particularly bulky but not heavy sleeping bag or you simply can't be bothered to pack all your kit in with origami like neatness every time you take something out.
With a range of sensible storage and organisation options, the Asymetric is an easy bag to live with on a multi-day hike. Everything that Vaude have included has its place and works more or less exactly how you would hope it to, it's perhaps a little boring but it's damn good design.
The big main compartment is separated, by an internal zip, from the lower storage compartment which is perfect for sleeping bag or dirty clothes. This can be accessed from the outside so you don't have to disturb other kit. The main compartment also has a zipped external access so you can lay the bag down on the floor and open it right up. A cavernous front patch pocket offers more organisation possibilities and is ideal for dumping, and quickly accessing regular use items like a map and rain jacket.
Aside from that you have the usual pockets in the lid, stretch side pockets that hold a Nalgene bottle perfectly in place and two good size hipbelt pockets.
There are also the usual array of additional straps and loops, the most useful of which are the hiking pole/ice axe straps and sunglasses strap - after all, you've got to look on point, even when you're hiking.
With a load sitting bang in the middle of the quoted range we found the Asymetric stable and secure on the back. The adjusters work well, and the frame is effective in transferring weight down to the hips where the pack sits comfortably thanks to a wide and well-padded hipbelt. Chunky shoulder straps carry the rest of the load, these have padding in abundance and are pretty good with moisture.
Although the back panel isn't fully mesh lined in a trampoline style there is still room for air to flow, and generally if you're going to sweat with a massive load on your back nothing is going to save you anyway. We're fans of the simple adjustable torso length which works with a pull of the webbing strap to bring the harness up or down the aluminium rails, adjusting size all the way from small to XL.
As a load carrying option the Asymetric 52+8 does a lot of things well, it's comfortable and stable and has storage options in abundance. It isn't particularly light at 1600g and there's nothing much that's exotic or exciting about it, but for solid dependability we can heartily recommend it.
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