The Acapulka Vidda is a backpack with a large array of integrated features ready to be used on many different winter adventures. Most importantly, the pack comes with solid D-rings that can serve to pull a pulk with it. There are those in favor and those in doubt about using a backpack while skiing, but I am one of those in favor and I had a Vidda with me on the trip through Norway to have snacks, water and an extra jacket easy at hand. I quickly became a big fan of this backpack which can be used on a wide variety of trips.
- Narrow design
- Access to main room via a solid winter zipper on the side of the bag
- Can be used with a drinking system
- 3 pockets in top cover, 2 exterior and one inside. All have zip pockets
- Drawstring collar to close main compartment
- Flat bottom that makes the bag stand by itself
- Ski and ice ax fastening
- YKK zippers
- Material: Robust 500D Cordura
- Thermomould HDPE back plate
- Volume: 38L
- Weight: 1650g
2. Comfort & Features
At first when we got the backpack I was afraid it wouldn’t fit me. The hipbelt is very wide and long while the shoulder straps are bulky. I gave it to PJ, thinking I would use the harness instead, but it was too short for him so I ended up with it anyhow. For tall men it might be wise to buy the larger version which holds 43l. Once I started hauling the pulk with it I understood why the hip belt and shoulder straps are so wide. The pack becomes a harness, and the extra wide and extra padded straps add a lot of comfort and prevent bruises and abrasion around the shoulders and hips while pulling a heavy sled. The hip belt is designed to distribute the weight from the sled evenly over the body and I found it did a great job at that. One minor downside is that the straps on the hipbelt are a bit time-consuming to adjust and seem to slide ever so little into becoming longer and longer, so they need to be adjusted again at regular intervals.
The bag has a lot of features that make it fit to follow virtually any winter adventure. It has straps to attach an ice axe, skis and ski poles. Other climbing hardware can be attached to horizontal straps in front of the pack, which also serve to adjust its width. A top strap can secure a rope or a jacket that needs to be close at hand. There is a zipper on one side for easy access into the main compartment. I have long been a fan of single compartment constructions, finding it cumbersome to work with smaller compartments, especially in smaller backpacks. In my opinion a single compartment pack is a simpler solution: no fiddling and easier to organize. In multicompartment packs I often find I lose space as there is always some corner that is hard to fill in. The main compartment does have a sleeve which can fit a laptop or can be used to safely store sensitive items such as wallets, passports etc. The top cover is quite large but divided in three segments with three zippers. I also found this very practical, keeping mittens or an extra buff in the larger compartment while storing small items such as a compass in the lesser ones.
The D rings are solid and firmly attached to the hipbelt with extra webbing. The hip belt can be taken off and changed for the Acapulka expedition harness if preferred. Those who don’t like using a pack while skitouring mostly argue that a pack makes you really sweaty while moving and as a consequence really cold when you stop. I didn’t have any issues with this and was not under the impression that I sweated more than my companions. Overall I found that the pack ventilated well, even on warm days when temperatures approached positive degrees. I still find it very convenient to have snacks and water close at hand, rather than having to go into the sled every time you need something.
Overall, Vidda is a very comfortable pack to wear. The backpanel provides extra contouring which again gives extra comfort while pulling a sled with it. The pack feels really snug and I thought it divided the weight of the sled better than the expedition harness which put more strain on the hips.
4. Waterproofness and Durability
Constructed with 500D cordura fabric the pack can take both a lot of water and a lot of wear and tear. It held up well against the snow, even when it was blowing against it horizontally or when it was rather warm and wet. I always had a down jacket in it which I never took out damp. Now the 500D cordura has its limits and if I would be using it on a rainy day I would put my things in a drybag inside. In my experience this fabric also loses its water resistance over time, as wear and tear from use through bush or from being dragged over rocks abrades the fabric and takes the protection away.
That said, it takes a lot of wear and tear to take this fabric down. 500D is the same fabric used on our Aarn Peak Aspiration and Guiding Light packs, which have both been through their fair share of Norwegian mountain scrambling and they’ve each survived a long distance trail. It’s not easy to get holes or damage on it, which makes that this pack will live for a very long time. In addition, all the straps and loops are sewn on reinforced webbing, making it very unlikely for them to fail. Snow and ice are abrasive substances too and dragging a pack through it is hard. The Vidda doesn’t show much signs of that, though, and I think I will have it with me on many trips to come.
The one disadvantage of 500D cordura is that it’s heavy. Towards the future the fabric could perhaps be changed for one that is used in ultralight products, which would take the weight of the pack down dramatically. At 1600g it is quite heavy for its size.
The Acapulka Vidda is a robust, well-built and versatile backpack that can be used for a wide array of winter activities. It is designed to be comfortable to wear while hauling a sled and does an excellent job at this. The pack has many smart features and can withhold a lot of bad weather. It’s only downside is its weight, which is rather high for its size. Besides of that it is a comfortable and reliable pack for venturing out into the white mountains.