Sierra Designs Revival 65 Backpack – Time To Get Organized
Between trade shows and local outdoor retailers, I’ve looked at and tried on a lot of backpacks this year. One of those that caught my eye was the Revival 65 from Sierra Designs. With its single aluminum stay, it’s quite different from anything I’ve worn so far. The Revival 65 is also pretty rich when it comes to features, especially those that help you stay organized. Although it has the usual assortment of water bottle and hydration bladder pockets, compression straps, and various external attachment points, it’s the hip belt pockets and large front pocket that appealed most to myself and the rest of our writers, as we’re constantly accessing gadgets and cameras while on the trail.
- Top loading
- Hydration ready
- Super-Size-Me Front Pocket
- BPA-Free water bottle pockets
- Security pocket withkey clip
- SSPD (Stylie Screen Print Detailing)
- Hip belt snap-or-snack pockets
- Side compression straps
- Load compresion strap
- Storm collar
- Trekking pole loops
- Lash tabs
- Integrated bottle opener
- Haul handle
- Radio/GPS attachment points
- Fulcrum Suspension
- Die-cut foam shoulder straps with mesh panels
- Thermo-molded, pre-curved waist belt
- Ventilation Conduit
- Ventilation detailing on lumbar pad
- Load-lifter/stabilizer straps
- Sternum strap
- Hip belt stabilizers
- Forward-pull waist belt adjustment
- Single DAC Aluminum Stay
- CURV Frame Sheet
Loading up the pack with our usual kit was pretty straightforward. The only changes made to our standard procedure was packing some items so they could be easily accessed through the panel in that big front pocket, where we would usually store them in the top, or have to dig down to get to them. It really allows you to utilize the space more efficiently, as you can squeeze in more gear without worrying about emptying half the pack to find it later. The pocket itself was handy for maps, sunblock, snacks, and even a light windbreaker. We would have liked to see a bit more room in the hip belt pockets, as a compact camera or GPS fits in one, but that doesn’t leave much room for something like a Clif bar. So they’re handy, but not as spacious as they could be. While we found the loop for a two-way radio useful, the bottle opener left us a bit perplexed – that’s just not something we expect to use on a hike.
The assortment of straps made is easy to dial in the fit of the M/L sample for our reviewers, all of whom fall into the 5’10” to 6’2″, 160-220 range. Once adjusted, it does a good job of distributing the weight for longer hikes. Although the fulcrum suspension provided plenty of comfort, opinions of the hip belt padding were somewhat divided, with some of us finding the firm pads positioned in just the right (or wrong) spot to become a minor annoyance. A continuous pad, rather than sections, might have been a better design choice. Gauging the effectiveness of the ventilation conduit was a bit difficult in our cold weather, but a quick search of the internet reveals that it provides some relief in hotter climates. As fans of the Geigerrig pressurized hydration engines, we were glad to see that it’s easy enough to plumb the water and pressurization lines in the Revival, but the internal stay made things a bit snug.
Overall, the Revival gets high marks for both construction quality and design. The hip belt pockets and large front pocket add a measure of convenience for those that are obsessive about organization. To be fair, if you need more room and organization than this pack provides, maybe you need a pack mule. We’d just advise anyone interested in this pack to try it on in-store, with some weight in it, to make sure the belt doesn’t cause any discomfort.