Helikon-Tex backpack without omnipresent MOLLE webbing and with an outdoor profile? Meet the Helikon-Tex Summit backpack.
Helikon-Tex Summit backpack is made out of shadow grey Cordura 500. It is also available in green (olive and adaptive), brown, black and blue. The backpack weighs 1200g and its volume equals 40l.
All of the zippers come from YKK and work well. The buckles are a lightweigh model from WooJin.
The backpack has a rolltop design, which means that the contents can be accessed using an opening that is closed with a velcro, rolled and then fastened with a buckle.
Alternatively, on the front of the backpack the manufacturer has placed a reversed YKK zipper, which provides a quick and easy acess to all the belongings inside the Summit.
Helikon-Tex Summit also features a beaver tail made of elastic mesh, which makes it possible conveniently carry around gear, eg. some jacket, during trips and excursions. At the same time, the beaver tail also reduces the risk of your belongings falling out due to the accidental opening of the front zipper. At the centre of the Summit’s beaver tail, the manufacturer jas placed a patch of Cordura that provides some reinforcements and a space for some webbing cells, which can be used to eg. mount some reflective markers.
Side of the Helikon-Tex Summit backpack feature big and convenient pockets made out of the same elastic mesh.
Slightly higher, on each side there are two rows of ‘MOLLE Light’ cells, which make it possible to attach additional pouches and etc, while being lighter than the typical MOLLE/PALS panels.
On the sides of Helikon-Tex Summit backpack there is also a set of compression straps, that make it possible to adjust the beaver tail, as well as to attach some gear, like eg. camping mat.
On top of the backpack there is a nice handle made out of some tightly sewn webbing, underneath which there is a small exit for hydration system tubes.
Slightly higher, the manufacturer has placed a zipped pocket, which is perfect for storing some smaller items you would want to keep accessible at all times (eg. torch, wallet, etc).
The back of Helikon-Tex Summit backpack resembles the CVS back ventilation system known from the Direct Action backpacks (eg. DA Dragon Egg). It is made out of evenly pierced foam panels covered in fine mesh – a solution which works well even on warmer days, thanks to considerbaly decreased contact surface. The back is also additionally stiffened with a dense foam panel, which can be removed to further reduce weight.
Shoulder straps cna be adjusted both at the top and at the bottom. They are made out of foam covered in soft mesh (inside) and Cordura (outside). On their surface there is a sternum strap, with a light buckle and mounted on an elastic tape, which doesn’t restrict your comfort of movement.
The hip belt is wide and well paded (in the same way as shoulder straps). On the outside it features two zipped pockets made of elastic mesh, which are perfect for storing some smaller items on the go.
The first thing you notice about the Helikon-Tex Summit Backpack is the quality of workmanship and the overall idea for this model. Helikon-Tex decided to make a lightweight backpack designed specifically for the general outdoor activities, and they made sure to follow this direction. Helikon-Tex Summit doesn’t have its whole surface covered in a MOLLE webbing or a quick release system. Howver, the manufacturer has included such solutions like a beaver tail or pockets on the hip belt, which greatly improve the user experience. Taking into account the outdoor profile of this backpack and the attention to detail (eg. the finishing touches, velcros that reduce amount of loose straps, etc) it’s just a shame that the buckle on the sternum strap features no whistle, which could be a small but useful addition.
Roll-top opening works well, especially given that there is also the front-access zipper, which makes anything inside easy to grab. One thing to keep in mind is not to try lifting a packed backpack using the closed roll-top buckle, instead of using the handle. The opening isn’t weak, but it also wasn’t made to withstand weights and could open if you tried using it to lift a heavy backpack. This note is especially important when travelling (or any sorts of transportation), where you backpack might be handled by other people while you’re not around.
I also have some concerns about the front-access zipper. Even though it is convenient, there is unfortunately no way to lock or secure it (eg. using a ziptie) against undesirable opening. This isn’t really an issue outdoors, but in all sorts of public transportation or crowded areas (especially in less safer countries) the front-access zipper like the one in HTX Summit creates a risk that you’ll get pickpocketed.
Helikon-Tex Summit is a well designed backpack, which is also made of high quality materials. Even though it might not be perfect for every journey, it should still be a great companion for many adventures.
Many thanks to e-militaria.pl for giving us a chance to test the backpack!