Wisport Silverfox is an interesting backpack with a design rarely found on a market dominated by rectangular models with a zipper opening sewn around the main compartment. So, how does it perform when compared to the competition?
The main material of Silverfox is Cordura, light and durable nylon material. Polyurethane coating on the inner side of material provides some degree of water resistance, however, a large number of seams used for attaching the MOLLE/PALS compatible webbing reduces the protestion. The reviewed copy was made of graphite-coloured material, the model is also available in black, olive, RAL 7013 (green); camouflages (PenCott, Atacs, Multicam, Polish WZ. 93) and Coyote Brown are available in a more expensive “Special” version.
Silverfox is a backapck with a rather simple, single-compartment design. Main compartment with a capacity of 30 litres allows for convenient packing the equipment for both day-trips and weekend excursions. The compartment’s volume can be adjusted to the situation using a set of compression straps located on the sides and bottom of the pack.
Access to the contents of the backpack is possible in two ways, the first is the classic lid lucked using two buckles. On the outside it features a compact modular panel and a small pocket for storing smaller items. The lid itself is attached to pack using two poliamide straps that make it possible to fit its length to the amount of gear, and a sleeve adding extra protection. Interestingly, as it’s detachable, the lid can also be used as a small pouch.
Next to the lid a carrying handle and a hydration tube exit were placed.
Unfortunately, the drawback of a lid is that it allows access only to the stuff at the top of the backpack, and any attempt to draw something from the bottom would require a time-taking unpacking of whole equipment.
Open Back System
The solution comes in form of the Open Back load bearing system which provides easy access to the entire content of the Silverfox with a use of a single zipper (Wisport – branded), stretching around the comfort pad. In earlier versions of the Silverfox, the system was based on a splash-proof zipper, but as some of the users reported problems and requested repairs it was replaced with a normal one. The advantage of this solution is a smooth running of the mechanism, however, in the current configuration the Open Back lacks any protection against water. On the inner side of the system there is a small compartment for carrying a hydration bladder or documents.
Surface of the Open Back system was covered with a rather rough spacer mesh (the same as in the old Sparrow 30), which is covered in a set of “tunnels”. Their function is most aesthetical, as their influence on the airflow is negligible due to the fact that they are too shallow and closed on the sides. The last “segment” of the lining was additionally covered with a layer of Cordurą, so that it is protected against dirt and damage.
In Wisport Silverfox, shoulder straps were covered with the same tape of mesh as the back. In addition, they contain a set of straps for attaching additional gear, sternum strap and buckles of quick release system.
The backpack also features a simple detachable waist belt made of a 50mm tapel attached to a set of plastic elements.
In addition to the panels of a modular system, the sides of the Silverfox backpack feature a set of pocketsic with elastic edge, and two additional handles suitable for attaching skis.
After a 1.5-year-long use of the backpack I believe that Wisport Silverfox is one of my favorite models. The singular, large, compartment works perfectly for both longer and shorter trips, and the extra space provided by the additional nylon material gives and additional space. Open Back System turned out to be the perfect element that further enhances the design and provides the ease of access normally reserved for more rectangular models (such as Wisport Sparrow). At the same time, thanks to the presence of a lid there is no problem with closing an excessively filled backpack. Moreover, the zipper that allows for the opening of the “back” has proven to be extremely durable – despite wearing heavy and stuffed backpack there was no situation in which it would spontanously open.
On the other hand, the Open Back System should contain some type of rain protectionr, as the unprotected zipper is the weakest part of the pack in case of a rainfall. A possible solution could be an additional pocket for the rain cover, located at the Silverfox’s bottom. Initially I was also concernd by the lack of an organizer for the smaller stuff, but pretty soon I realised that it isn’t absolutely necessary (and if you really need one it can be replaced by an additional pouch, for example Maxpedition’s EDC Pocket Organizer).
I also noticed that during longer marches in warmer weather (while dressed in t-shirt) the pretty rough surface of mesh padding has a tendency to grease the users shoulders. Although this happens only with a fully packed, heavy, backpack, it isn’t a pleasant feature and I hope that Wisport will consider creating a “Silverfox II” featuring the same type of mesh as the new Sparrow and Zipperfoxes.
The quality of craft is at a good level, but the Cordura fabric has some blemishes. Fortunately, this issue doesn’t affect the functionality of the backpack, and even if it starts to cause problems the manufacturer provides a 5-year warranty (1 year on zippers).
After prolonged use of Wisport’s Silverfox I can that it is a light (weight < 1 kg), comfortable and spacious construction. Open Back System turned out to be an ideal addition to the classical lid allowing allowing comfortable access to all of the carried things. The problem of greasing of shoulders, which can occur in quite specific circumstances (warm weather forcing a hike in t-shirts, stuffed and heavy backpack), is a reason I would be happy to see Silverfox II with a different padding. Nevertheless, this issue isn’t as important that it should influence someone considering use of this model, but if something can be better why shouldn’t it be upgraded?
+ Open Back!
+ Well-made design with lid-opening
– Rough lining of the shoulder straps