Gear Guide 2012: Exped Torrent 50 Backpack

Take on wet conditions with this waterproof pack that offers welded seams and waterproof closures.


If you find yourself constantly battling wet conditions—whether you’re a Northwest backpacker, a spring skier, or a paddler—this waterproof pack will help you win the war. Made from nylon that’s laminated with TPU* and finished with welded seams and waterproof closures, it’s impervious to leaks, as one tester discovered after filling it with water to check for weak spots.

In a mega-snowstorm on Alaska’s Moose’s Tooth, the Torrent kept our tester’s gear bone dry. And the frameless suspension is up to snuff for backpacking with moderately heavy loads, reports another tester who loaded it with 30 pounds for the nine-mile round-trip to The Wife in the Oregon Cascades; the fully-padded backpanel has pods of foam to cushion the load. “I felt very balanced while scrambling the last quarter-mile up the steep, scree-covered arête,” he recounts.

The roll-top packbag with one cavernous main compartment favors a stuff-and-cram style of packing—but that also means no zippers that might fail. Initially, our testers mourned the absence of exterior pockets, but after bushwhacking through dense scrub and low branches, they saw one benefit—nothing gets hung up. Loads heavier than 35 pounds overwhelm the minimalist structure and padding. $159; 2 lbs. 3 oz.; 50 liters;

*TPU Thermoplastic polyurethane; a burly, flexible, waterproof fabric often used in dry bags and paddling gear