- Buyer's Guide
"So, Bergans, did they choose that name to look like Berghaus?" my hiking buddy asks. It's the second day of our winter hike, we have some 30 kilometers behind us and the usual "How's work, how's the gf" stuff has been checked off. Although I didn't really have an answer to the question at that time (other than "Err...I don't think so"), it turns out that Bergans of Norway started out some 50 years before Berghaus. So much for "trying to look like Berghaus".
Our winter hike was never really a winter hike, because mid-December day temperatures in The Netherlands were still above 10 degrees Celsius. But walking 45 kilometers with some 15 kilograms on my back at least was a good way to test the Bergans Trollhetta 75 backpack.
- Name: Trollhetta 75
- Brand: Bergans
- Format: Trekking backpack
- Measurement: 71 - 84 (h) x 36 (w) x 30 (d) cm
- Capacity: 75L
- Weight: 2660 grams
- Zippers: YKK
- Material: 210D Velocity Nylon, 420D Velocity Nylon, 840D Ballistic Nylon
Who It Suits
The Trollhetta 75 is an all-round pack great for multi-day trekking and backpacking vacations. Compared to similar packs, the pockets on the hip belt, the full-zip opening and other features enhance its usability.
Who It Doesn't
For die-hard 100-mile treks, one might consider an even sturdier or more weatherproof pack. For superlight lovers, try something with less features.
"The Trollhetta 75 is an all-round pack great for multi-day trekking and backpacking vacations."
Trekking backpacks are seldom the epitome of design - they're built to do the work - but the Trollhetta deserves some credit for color choice, materials used and design details. The pack is high and slim rather than short and chubby which, for me, balances the load more evenly and makes it easier to move around. And it looks better.
Almost everything has been updated from the previous Trollhetta series. The men's version of the Trollhetta 75 comes in midnight blue/lime and the women's version comes in either charcoal or red.
"The pack is high and slim rather than short and chubby which, for me, balances the load more evenly and makes it easier to move around."
The pack is built with 210D Velocity Nylon, 420D Velocity Nylon and 840D Ballistic Nylon, to balance weight and durability/abrasion resistance. There are elastic mesh pockets on the outside and there's a mesh pocket on the inside.
For its purpose the pack is well built with strong materials where they need to be and light materials where they can. We obviously haven't had the chance to test it over the years but we expect it to hold its own. Sure enough, Bergans has done some work making sure the components are strong enough: just days after receiving our review sample, they followed up by sending a metal adjustment bar, because they had used a plastic one on previous test models and felt they needed to improve it.
"For its purpose the pack is well built with strong materials where they need to be and light materials where they can."
The zippers are YKK, the buckles are Duraflex. There's a full-zip opening in the front, which uses a YKK “RC” type (as opposed to the normal “C” type) which is actually a more rugged version - specifically developed by YKK for backpacks and luggage and less prone to wear. Also check out the funky buckle below, it's called a Gatekeeper.
The Trollhetta 75 has a few extras that distinguish it from comparable packs.
First: the Trollhetta sports the Spine® adjustable carrying system, which we covered with Bergans' Johannes Flem here and here. While 75 liters is bulky for any bag, the Spine® system offers support and flexibility. We'll get to that in the "Comfort" section.
Separate hip pack/daypack
Bergans thought out a nifty solution for a problem every backpacker faces: you don't want to bring your huge backpack everywhere, you don't want to bring an extra daypack for volume and weight reasons and you do want to take your valuables wherever you go.
Bergans solved this by making the top lid detachable, so it can be used as either a hip pack or, with some fumbling, a makeshift daypack (see pics). Let's explore this for a bit. To solve the problem as described, you can:
1. Buy a backpack with a detachable daypack. It will be a more functional daypack, but it'll add weight, it will make your backpack bulkier horizontally and you still won't be the cool kid out on the town. The previous Trollhetta 75 model actually had a detachable backpack, but Bergans chose differently for the new model.
2. Bring a superlight, stuffable backpack (like Osprey's Ultralight Stuff Pack). You'll be slightly cooler, it doesn't add weight or volume when stuffed, but you probably have to repack every time you go somewhere, moving things from your backpack to your daypack.
3. Use Bergans' solution. Place your valuables in the top lid and take it off when you go somewhere. You might not be the coolest kid on the block, but at least it's fast and it doesn't take up extra space.
There's a case to be made for Bergans' solution. It's not ideal, but neither is a separate or detachable daypack. The extra weight added is limited and it helps with keeping your small stuff organized.
"...the top lid [is] detachable, so it can be used as either a hip pack or, with some fumbling, a makeshift daypack..."
Hip belt pockets
Just a small thing but I found it to be hugely convenient: the hip belt for the pack houses some extra pockets, which are perfect for storing stuff you need on the fly: a camera, a pocket knife, a flashlight.
I found the pack to be wonderfully comfortable, with the weight on my hips instead of on my shoulders. The Spine® system gives reasonable flexibility. Straps on top of the pack control if the pack is further away from or nearer to your back/shoulders. The sternum strap can be adjusted in height. The carrying system can be adjusted in height by removing a Velcro-attached cushion on the back panel and placing an aluminium adjustment bar through the right strap (1 to 7). I'm 6'1"/1.85m and I used size 6, but it depends on personal preferences. My waist size is 32" and I found the hip belt to be a bit long, as I could almost completely pull the straps on each side of the belt and had to shove the excess strap length somewhere.
"...the hip belt for the pack houses some extra pockets, which are perfect for storing stuff you need on the fly: a camera, a pocket knife, a flashlight."
After two days of walking my hips got a little sore from the pressure of the hip belt, but the pack was brand new - the soreness came from the belt not having been worn in.
"The carrying system can be adjusted in height by removing a Velcro-attached cushion on the back panel and placing an aluminium adjustment bar through the right strap (1 to 7)."
Space and Access
A huge plus is the full-zip opening, which makes for great accessibility. On top there's also a large opening, which can be tied with a cord (it helps to either store more stuff inside or reduce volume if you bring less stuff).
In the main compartment there's a large mesh pocket and a sleeve. On the outside there are elastic mesh pockets to the side and on the front, which are great for storing bottles, sweaters, rain jackets or whatever you need easy access to. There are no separate zippered side or bottom pockets, which I think is for the better, because it reduces possible weak points and pockets tend to get in each other's way while packing. The top lid has several pockets that can be used depending on if you bring the top lid separately as a backpack or hip pack. As mentioned before, the pockets on the hip belt are very convenient.
"A huge plus is the full-zip opening, which makes for great accessibility."
The pack doesn't come with a raincover, but I felt comfortable walking in light rain. There's a coating on the material on the inside of the nylon and the top lid covers the top completely. If you expect heavy rain, maybe bring a separate raincover. Bergans replied to my question about this that their research has shown that many customers aren't interested in a raincover or would be happy to buy a separate one. For me, I tend to bring waterproof pouches on longer hikes anyway, because any moisture gets compartmentalized.
"My waist size is 32" and I found the hip belt to be a bit long, as I could almost completely pull the straps on each side of the belt and had to shove the excess strap length somewhere."
Others to Consider
There are lots of competitors to Bergans in this range.
I would consider Osprey's Aether or Xenith series or The North Face's Fovero 70 as comparable. Eagle Creek's Deviate comes to mind, if you're "just" backpacking. And of course there's Thule, Berghaus, Arc'teryx, Bach. And then there's Bergans' own Glittertind 70. There must be a lot of people hauling 75 liters on their backs...
The Bergans Trollhetta 75 is a good all-round pack for backpacking and trekking/hiking. It has some extra features that will distinguish it from comparable packs. Within its range we'd seriously consider it as an option when buying. For sure, it made me, as they say, a happy camper.
[Editor's Note: The bag utilised for this road test was supplied by Bergans of Norway]
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
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