Designed, say Salewa, for speed hiking (perhaps not a term we're all on board with), the Pedroc feels in some respects like a running pack; but the advantages of this lightweight, form-hugging, and superbly well-vented day pack should be obvious whatever pace you're travelling at.
There's a Pedroc 16, a women's Pedroc 20, and the Pedroc 22 with a men's fit. Since I find the 20-litre sort of capacity pretty much bang-on for moderately equipped summery days (for anything that doesn't require ropes and extra kit), it's the latter I'm looking at here.
Though officially a little smaller than the Deuter Speed Lite 25, a model with a similar remit that I reviewed last year, the Pedroc 22 seems if anything a bit roomier thanks to a plethora of external pockets, and I've comfortably carried all the usual hill gubbins plus a chunky SLR. It's lighter than its Deuter rival, but doesn't feel as tough, and costs more.
In many respects I think it's a really good pack, but it does have one or two niggles.
Pros: Lightweight, versatile, form-hugging, and very cool for summer use
Cons: Pricey for a day pack; one size won't fit all; no pockets accessible on the go; question mark over durability
Weight and build quality
Salewa's quoted 570g seems a bit optimistic, and on my usually-reliable digital scales the Pedroc Pro 22L comes out at 608g. That's lighter than most walker's packs, but not on a par with lightweight running vest/packs. Still I do think it seems really quite light for a rucksack of its size, especially given the fact that it has what counts - for a small day pack - as a supportive and comfy back system.
Build quality seems good overall, and the 70D ripstop nylon fabric ought to be reasonably durable for its low weight. However after only a few uses I have already managed to damage the point where the top drawstring runs through a fabric sleeve, and now that I've pulled out the eyelet that's supposed to protect it, the fabric is beginning to tear.
Because the drawstring functions as pack closure, compression, and a place to secure things like poles, it can be put under quite a bit of tension, and the lightweight material at the toggle just doesn't seem sufficient to cope with this. The toggle doesn't grip the drawcord all that securely, either. This part of the design seems like a weak point, and ought to have been better reinforced.
Fit and comfort
If you're taller than average then most small packs can be a bit short in the back length department, and the one-size Pedroc is no exception. At 1.83m tall and with a reasonably long back I find the hip belt sits too high to take any weight, though it does help stabilise things. When you're not needing the belt - and on packs this small I often don't bother - then it can be folded away into the side sleeves of the pack.
Sporting Salewa's distinctive split straps, the sculpted shoulder harness offers a close, body-hugging fit. Padding is firm and sensibly minimalist, reducing bulk, and the space in the middle of each strap helps allow for unrestricted arm movement. While it's not designed as a climbing pack it'd certainly be good for scrambling. It's all very open, too, which is great for warmer weather.
The airy feel continues on the back panel, where a raised foam pad with loads of holes offers good ventilation without putting too much space between the wearer and the load, something that I find can push the centre of gravity too far back on some walking packs. Inside, a slightly stiffened framesheet offers plenty of support for the sort of weight you'll be carrying in that 22L capacity, without making things too rigid.
Overall it's a comfy, breathable, and stable pack in use, and fits closely enough that I can even happily run with it. I love those split straps, too. It'd just be good if Salewa offered a version for taller people.
For a small pack, there's a fair amount going on. Access to the main compartment is via a roll-top, which is less faff than a conventional lid but a bit more so than a zip. You also get a secondary entry via a big zip on the side. I tend not to use these even on larger packs, so for me a side zip is most definitely redundant on a model this small, and just gives me an opening I might forget to do up and thus lose things out of. Other views are available, and some people do like extra zipped entries. A second zip on the front of the pack accesses a large sleeve where you could keep a map or a light waterproof for easy retrieval. Both these zips are water resistant, clearly a benefit for UK use.
Lower down are two stretchy zipped side pockets which, to a degree, wrap around the body in the manner of a running vest. These are supposed to be accessible on the go, but aren't really, since you have to remove the pack to get at them. However they are easily spacious enough for hats, gloves and snacks, making them a really useful addition to the pack's storage options.
Under these Salewa have also incorporated open pockets, which work well with the side compression cord to securely hold things like folding poles or even a camera tripod (rare you can effectively carry one of those on a 22L rucksack). Inside is a small zipped valuables pocket, with the essential key clip, and a sleeve for a water reservoir.
The features are pretty good so far as they go, but particularly given its running crossover potential I do find myself missing genuinely on-the-go hip pockets for quick snacking; a stretchy sleeve for a soft bottle would not have gone amiss on one of the shoulder straps, too.
Ethics and environment
This is a 'Salewa Committed' product, meaning that it meets the brand's own criteria for sustainability, including being made in a factory that's regularly audited for social standards. The fabric has a PFC-Free DWR treatment.
I really struggled to get into reading this review, when you started it by disparaging what the bag is intended to do. If you aren't going to review a product for its intended use, it makes your review seem rather moot. I wouldn't expect a high end bouldering shoe to be reviewed for its performance as an all day trad beginners shoe for example.
Perhaps I'm still in readership survey mode but I thought you deserved the feedback.
Other than this I did find most of the review helpful.
Sorry you feel that way. Can you define 'speed hiking' for me? I do find it hard to take seriously as a separate niche between walking and running.
I guess, and being related to the Sales Manager at Salewa and having sat through numerous sales presentations from the Italians, Speed Hiking, as a concept in the UK, doesn't exist as we are slightly more traditional in our approach to the hills. You're either running (and not being a runner I can only surmise this involves wearing minimal clothing and getting very sweaty) or walking (brown boots, gaiters, enormous rucksack) - A massive over-generalisation I know, tongue in cheek of course.
What the Italians consider "Speed Hiking" is fast and light, where the approach is minimalist kit, bare minimum etc. Admittedly many people now hike in the hills in less kit than we used to carry, trail shoes instead of boots, running packs or small 12ltr packs instead of larger bulkier packs with group shelters, first aid etc etc. As a swift disclaimer I'm not in any way condoning heading into the hills unequipped. You should always carry the correct equipment for conditions and terrain.
Now me, I don't do many things at speed but I do enjoy lightweight kit and this is where I think Salewa nailed it. As you observed Dan (slight toggle failure aside) the bag is lightweight, breaths well etc. If you should choose to sprint up a hill then walk the rest it will do everything perfectly.
I guess, and before I ramble on any further, to define speed hiking would be a personal choice. If say I head into the hills with my brother I consider his choice of uphill speed would be defined as speed hiking whereas mine most definitely is not! The products as a collection are "speed hiking" but if we are more observant and look at the trekking/hiking range from Salewa as a whole they would simply be the lightweight options instead of the more durable options.
Your Mountain Trainer would be Pedroc Air
Your Mountain Trainer 2 25l would be your Pedroc Pro 22l
I hope some of what I've written makes sense. In a nutshell The Salewa Speed Hiking collection is the lightweight options to the Hiking and Trekking collection.
Hi Dan, I would absolutely agree that it is incredibly niche, but would argue that gear is becoming more and more niche, as a generalisation. If you had started your review stating how niche it is I would've found no fault. Instead you started it with a mocking tone and now you appear to be asking me to define the thing that you chose to mock. I would hope that if you were taking on the review of a niche bit of gear you would be familiar with the niche it was designed to fill, whether you enjoy that niche or not.
How I define it seems irrelevant as I'm not commenting on it. I'm commenting on how I felt your comment undermined a review that I have already characterised as being helpful. Genuinely not seeking to be a pain, just offering my two pence. If my feedback is helpful, wonderful, if its just annoyingly pedantic then please ignore it.
Lovely scenery as ever in your photos
Thanks Dave, it was a helpful post as it encouraged me to tone down my opener somewhat. I did come across as unnecessarily disdainful. Not the intention, though I do think jargon ought to be weeded out.
Rest assured that I've walked slowly with this pack, I've walked fast, and I've run. So somewhere in that it must have had a decent 'speed hiking' test, even though it is not a concept I think adds any value.