Vaude's Prokyon 30 is a good-sized backpack for day hikes where you need to carry a bit more kit, whether it be camera gear, mountaineering equipment or a few extra sandwiches.
With a long and slender silhouette this is a pack that's also suitable for a bit of light mountaineering as it won't interfere with your arms too much if you're scrambling.
However, this shape of pack can be a right pain for getting to all your gear as it all ends up being stacked up like an extra tall gear sandwich that needs to be completely removed to get to the bits at the bottom. We were pleasantly surprised by Vaude's simple solution though, which is a zip down one side of the front of the pack, running from the very top to the bottom.
The zip is two-way which gives you easy access to any part of the pack without exposing everything else. There's a popper fastening pulling the two sides of the zip fabric together (which could otherwise be a weak point) this is the kind of attention to detail we like.
There's a decent sized zipped front pocket in place of the usual kangaroo style pocket as well as two stretch mesh side pockets which have easily swallow a jacket, big water bottle and a pair of folded trekking poles.
Other features on the front are a hiking pole/tool attachment point and side compression straps - this makes for a fuss free front to the bag and clean lines.
There's another pocket on the top flap with a mesh inner pocket and you can stuff a decent amount of kit in this. As we look at it now there's a lightweight jacket, headtorch and empty Katadyn BeFree bottle all squeezed inside.
The back panel has a 'not quite suspended' mesh design, similar to Osprey's AirSpeed a mesh overlay with contoured foam underneath that helps create air channels in the hottest areas of the back. This gives a little bit of flow but nothing like that of a full trampoline suspended mesh back panel found in other Vaude packs.
What it does give though, in combination with the plastic stay in the back panel is an excellent, stable carrying platform, especially considering that this is just a daypack. We found it easy to get a good fit, close to our back and to tweak the shoulder straps, load lifters and hipbelt to get the fully laden pack riding perfectly.
Comfort is excellent on long hot hikes in the mountains, perhaps the most challenging of environments for a backpack!
The hipbelt itself has wide, anatomically shaped wings with good cushioning and moisture management through mesh venting, and there's also a zipped stretch mesh pocket one side and a gear loop the other.
If you need to carry a fair amount of kit on your day hikes in the mountains then this larger capacity pack from Vaude hits the sweet spot between comfort, practicality and functionality.