Alpkit 30ltr 'Stealthy' Gourdon review.

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Nagual

Native
Jun 5, 2007
1,963
0
Argyll
Hi there,

The other week I bought a Hunka bivi bag and a 30ltr Stealthy Gourdon day bag from Alpkit. This is the first time I've bought kit from them, but have looked at their site with greedy eyes and empty pockets for a long time. As many of you may know, Alpkit has got a good reputation based on quality, price and service. With this in mind and my impending weekend course I took the plunge and got some kit that I wanted - the PipeDream 600 is still on the list... :D.

The links
The 'Stealthy' Gourdon can be found here and the non stealthy ones, and more product information here and other customer reviews can be found here

The review
I ordered from the the Hunka on the Tuesday night, but on the Wednesday morning added the Gourdon too, gave them a quick phone to see if they could send them together (saving them postage too) The lady I spoke to on the phone was very friendly and helpful, promising me that wouldn't be a problem. On Thursday morning the postie arrived with my parcel, signed for it and rushed back into the house to rip it open.

Opened it up and everything was there as promised! Great service there. Had a quick play with the Hunka and then set about the Gourdon. I tried it on for size, examined the materials, messed about with the top / closure system etc. Then decided to see what I could fit into it. I decided to pack my Gelert sleeping bag, 3/4 length inflating mat, a massive towel and some clothes - the sort of thing you'd take for a day or two up in the hills.

First in was the sleeping bag - a tight fit. Had to 'squish' it down as it was very neat touching the sides of the bag. Hmm, my plan was to put the mat in deflated but flat and curled around the insides with the rest inc sleeping bag inside that. However if it was that tight with only the sleeping bag then would I be able to get the mat in too? Out comes the bag and in goes the mat. Tried to get the bag in now. not a chance. Damn it! Oh well, so now I add all the other gubbings. I found that I just couldn't get in what I had wanted or expected. I was a tad disappointed.

I left it there for a while while I played with the bivi bag and lay there in it mulling things over. After a while I get out and have a good look at the Gourdon, closely examining the build quality and the general feel of it. There are a few comments on the Alpkit site where customers have not liked the waist straps or back straps. So I thought I'd check these out. I reached down to pick up the bag, and as I was more awake now ( yeah postie woke me up :rolleyes:) I noticed something wrong. They had sent me a 25ltr bag by mistake. I double checked my order - wouldn't put it past me to have clicked on the wrong one myself, but no it should have been the 30ltr. "Humph", "pfft" and other noises escaped my lips. So I went onto their site and using their feedback option, told them of the error. I had hoped to be away that weekend using the bag, but never mind errors happen from time to time. Very quickly I got a reply via email, saying they were most sorry for the mistake - the bags are next to each other on the shelf and the wrong one got picked for my order. Since I had hoped to use the bag that weekend (I had mentioned this in the message I sent) they were sending me out a replacement immediately- not even waiting for the wrong one to be sent back! A free post address was also given for the return of the bag. Now that is service!

Next morning the postie arrives with my new bag and yes it is a 30ltr one! Although this time the postie didn't ask for a signature even though he should have. I dropped Alpkit a note saying I'd got it and mentioned the lack of signing - wouldn't like to see them lose out on something due to the Royal Mail , there are a few dishonourable folk out there you know ;)

So I got back to testing the bag. In goes the mat, in goes the bag and yes! it fits nicely. The mat comes up perhaps 3/4 of the Gourdon. Doing this means it keeps a uniform shape and is very comfortable to have on no matter what oddly shaped things are inside. I also put in several bits in bobs, as mentioned earlier. I got in a fair amount, with careful packing I reckon I could get a bit more in. I got all of the following in: sleeping bag, roll mat, waterproof trousers, jumper, long sleeved top, t-shirt, two massive bath sheets, first aid kit and KFS. The towels were included to make up bulk - I really couldn't be bothered with finding 'real' stuff to add. The bag was tightly filled and was, while not hard to close, certainly a little bit fiddly. It closes using the standard 'dry-bag' method of rolling the top and locking into place with the clips, but has the addition of two small dongles that stop the bag from unrolling if you pack your bag full to the brim as I did. Wearing the Gourdon was surprisingly comfortable. I didn't notice the straps digging in at all. The chest and waist straps are definitely thin but not uncomfortable either. Perhaps on a long hike they may cut in a bit as they are not padded.

The bag as a small section where you can put a hydration sack into, however from what I can tell this may not be practical, especially if you have a full pack like mine. There isn't much room at all for one, even after removing the er.. removable sit mat that's inside it. The 'sit' mat is there to give the bag some shape if it's mostly empty, but can be used to sit on. It's not big but will keep your backside off the ground.

The pictures these are thumbnails, either click on them or right click and open them in a new tab or window to see the full size - I've got a poor mans broadband and can't afford the bandwidth of all these big fancy pics.. :lmao:

The front, back and close up of the wee straps



The Alpkit logo. You see it quite clearly here due to the flash, however it is actually very low key! The logo is black too, just a shinier material which shows up in the flash.



Here is the bag half full ( or is it half empty? :D ) and totally full and closed. You can clearly see the roll top and the toggles used to stop it unrolling.



The bag completely full, standing up all by itself.



All the kit I had in it.



The summary
  • A very good bag.
  • It's light and can pack a load of stuff in.
  • I found it comfortable.
  • Pretty cheap - £22.50 inc postage and next day delivery (although not guaranteed).
  • It's made to a high quality and appears to be very strong, only time and continued use will prove this however.
  • Easy to close and open.
  • Definitely waterproof.
  • Great service
I hope this is of some use to someone out there. I know I look forward to getting a PipeDream 600 from them now..One day it will be mine.. oh yes.. one day.. :D

Edit: Forgot to mention you also get several repair patches that are ironed onto the bag if you are unlucky enough to get a hole. The patches are roughly one and a half inches in diameter and you get six of them.

Nag.
 

Chainsaw

Native
Jul 23, 2007
1,310
77
53
Central Scotland
cool review, was looking for a lightweight sack to go skiing with and this may fit the bill just fine, mat will stop my butt getting cold, can use it for canoeing trips too... hmm where's my christmas list...

Cheers,

Alan
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,260
17
44
Yorkshire
Nice review Nag

One question for you, how do think it would stand up to thorns etc and getting dragged through a woodland environment on a regular basis. Would it better suited to open areas such as hill walking etc ?
 

Nagual

Native
Jun 5, 2007
1,963
0
Argyll
bogs dollox? ;)
I must be innocent.. I assumed that be be Best Deal.. ;) :p

Nice review Nag

One question for you, how do think it would stand up to thorns etc and getting dragged through a woodland environment on a regular basis. Would it better suited to open areas such as hill walking etc ?
A damn good question,Shewie! One that warranted me testing that just before replying. Rather than risk the bag itself, I took one of the repair patches( which I now realise I forgot to mention in the review, will fix that in a moment :eek:) and went out into the garden and at first gently scraped it against some bramble thorns. That went well, so I pressed harder and harder still. I ended up rubbing the patch over several different brambles old and young and none of the thorns punctured it. More over, hardly a visible mark on the patch. So with that experiment I'd done I took that bag itself out to the thorns and did the same. It has returned the same way it went out.

I think it's fair to point out that although there were not rips or scratches that doesn't mean it won't puncture, but what material is puncture proof, and that light and waterproof? The bag wasn't designed as a back pack really, for use up in the hills, it was more of a bag that you could use in everyday outtings etc. With that said though, from my small experiment I'd say it would certainly do well on the average bimble through the woods, just look after it as you would any other part of your kit.


Nag
 

Kerne

Maker
Dec 16, 2007
1,756
18
Gloucestershire
I've got quite a bit of Alpkit stuff - mat, down jacket, sleeping bag, poles, and I find it is all good stuff at very reasonable prices. I think there have been some quality control issues in the past but I've been satisfied with it all. This rucksack seems a bargain at this price.