With the sun (finally) peeking its head out of the clouds in the UK, I am already anticipating long summer days spent hiking around national parks and weekends exploring cities. To help me make the most of my explorations, Gregory packs recently let me test their new SULA 18L women’s rucksack, which offers added lumbar support and ventilation – ideal for intensely sunny days. Luckily the weekend’s sunny forecast meant I didn’t have to wait long to put Gregory’s SULA daypack to the test.
The main feature of the Gregory SULA 18L daypack is its ventilation system, which aims to provide adequate ventilation without compromising on pack space. Admittedly in the past I have deterred from using packs with ventilation features, as the space between the ventilation frame and the rest of the bag was so great it gave me shoulder strain, which isn’t ideal particularly when you’re doing a long hard slog uphill. However the Gregory SULA daypack offers a small pocket of ventilation space that is large enough to provide breathability to the back, while the structured, sturdy frame transfers the weight of the load to your lower back and eliminates any shoulder strain.
The size, 18L, is a good amount of space for a daypack, and is able to comfortably carry all your layers and snacks and accessories. Compared to other ventilation daypacks on the market the Sula features a minimalist design, which for people like myself that like their gear streamlined and simple, is great. Gear junkies on the other hand might want more technical features on the bag.
There are several technical features of the Gregory SULA 18L. The two mesh side pockets that could comfortably hold my 2 1-litre Sigg bottles, and a soft front pocket that was just the right size to hold my keys, purse and sunglasses. The bag’s side and bottom compression straps were handy with stopping my layers bouncing around inside my bag as I ran downhill. The safety light lash point on the bag is particularly helpful for navigating, or ensuring people notice you on a bike in the evening. Personally I don’t use hydration systems that often, but the SULA’s internal hydration sleeve offered a good amount of space and secured it well.
The Gregory SULA 18L comes in two colours: dove grey and bright green. The dove grey is ideal for those wanting an inconspicuous bag for low-key commutes around town or to work each day, while the bright green will definitely get you noticed on the hills.