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I recently made a short (one night) hiking trip with my daughter to the Repovesi National Park. I ended up having the ACT Lite 50+10 fully overpacked and immediately after getting back home, started looking at children’s backpacks so that my daughter could carry her own equipment.
My criteria for selecting the children’s backpack:
- Have to fit at least sleeping bag and air mattress, clothes and plate + cup
- Have to be as light weight as possible
- Have to be somewhat sturdy
- Have to have quality shoulder straps and belt
- Color had to be something girly
- Reasonable price was a plus
I was a bit surprised that criterion 2. ruled out a lot of the candidates like the Deuter Fox 30 that was a lot heavier than my Osprey Talon 33 liter bag.
It almost started to look like I could not find a backpack matching the criteria, until I ran into the Bergans Nordkapp Jr. At 18l, it had just enough space to enable my daughter to grow into it for a few years, but still keep it lightweight enough (525g, a little over 1 pound) for her to carry at age 7.
The hot pink color was approved by the girls and the price was very reasonable, so I ordered it without hesitation. Today was the first fitting and I’m happy to report that the backpack matches the rest of the criteria.
The size is excellent. It can be tightened with straps so it doesn’t sag if it’s not packed full. It can be adjusted into fitting reasonably well for a 7 year old, with adjustment room available many years to come. It’s sturdy enough, build quality is good if not great. And it’s still priced reasonably.
There are not too many bells and whistles, but I consider that a good thing. A mesh pocket on either side will allow her to carry a water bottle and something else that needs quick access. Otherwise the design is very clean. Extraneous straps won’t get tied into anything.
Now my daughter is a happy camper and so will be I when I get to offload a sleeping bag, mattress and Light My Fire plate and utensils into her own backpack for our next trip.