Given the billing on the Victory Cross Country, I was really excited to give this pack a try and have it replace  my 80L bag as my week long bag as I continuously try and reduce weight: “Durable fabrics, 60L size, 1.45 pounds, etc”.  These were all things that were right in line with what I was looking for in a week to week pack.

Upon first opening of the pack it has distinctive bright colorings and the 600D nylon sticks out as very sturdy. It has an open square aluminum support that is covered by mesh to create a small air gap between your back and the pack for breath-ability, a large floating lid, and a crescent shaped bottom opening to allow access to bottom of pack items without taking everything out.  The hip belt also possesses 2 cavernous pockets that are great for keeping quick access items handy.  There is also a hydration sleeve with a clearly marked hose port.

I loaded the Cross Country with about 25 pounds of gear (not including water or food) for a multi-day trip to see how it would wear.  After a few miles, the first thing I noticed was how well the aluminum support frame transferred weight to the nicely padded hip belt (with those big pockets) which made for very easy load carrying.

The shoulder straps are well padded and were very comfortable.  With the sheer thickness of the fabric, durability was not a concern and there were almost no brush marks after about 35 trail miles and a couple of night stops.

What didn’t work for me were any of the draw straps.  The hip belt needed to be constantly tightened which rendered that excellent weight transfer somewhat meaningless.  The side compression straps were equally poor at holding to the set tension and needed to be re-drawn every half mile or so which is quite the pace killer.

My other concerns with the Victory pack are mostly in the design as it pertains to the type of backpacking I do and the way that I tend to utilize my packs.  For instance, the pack is not waterproof and to protect against a wet sleeping bag or clothing, I tend to pack those in a dry bag that will be placed at the bottom of the pack.  This makes that bottom pocket almost useless and the zipper just adds weight.

There is also a hard plastic sleeve over the nylon carry strap that doesn’t aid in carrying comfort and also just increases the non-essential weight.  Lastly, is the external storage.  There are two mess pockets on either side that are barely big enough to get a 1 liter ‘platy’ bag into or maybe an extra pair of wool socks and the big floating lid (that is not removable) has no zipper or pocket which leaves it again as just extra weight.

There was also a discrepancy with the manufacturer over the actual weight of the product vs. what was originally billed.  It clocks in over closer to 3.5 lbs rather than the initial claim of 1.45.  My understanding is that this was due to overseas manufacturing and the conversion of metric to English weights.

As much as I wanted this sturdy pack to live up to my expectations, outside of the weight transfer and durability, I was left looking for better performance in most areas.

Manufacturer: Victory Outdoors

Date available: Not listed

Manufacturer’s Website: Victory Outdoors

MSRP: US$ Not listed

Listed Weight: Was listed for a while on website as 1.45 lbs.  Has since been corrected to 3.7

Actual Weight: 3.4 lbs

Materials:  600D Nylon

Dimensions: 60L

Size/Model tested: Cross Country 60L

Warranty info: None

Colors Available: N/A

 

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