The Lundhags Gneik 34 has been designed to tackle diverse outdoor adventures, from day hikes to weekend getaways. How does it fare when exposed to a variety of environments and weather conditions? Let’s find out…
Who It Suits
Most dayhikers, bushcrafters, mountaineers and outdoorsmen looking for a top-tier versatile sized-up daypack or weekender.
Who It Doesn’t
Technical climbers and true ultralight hikers. Also minimalists could find all the features a bit overwhelming.
I must say that I absolutely adore the slim look of the pack. That alpine look mixed with hiking features is both attractive and highly functional. I’m not a fan of egg-shaped rucksacks, which can shift my center of gravity way back and down when loaded with a lot of gear. The Lundhags Gneik 34 is exactly on the opposite side of the scale – it’s tall and handsome. And it’s one of very few packs of this kind, which comes in an olive-green color; a valid point if you’re on a bushcrafting outing and want to stay invisible in a forest.
It’s a classic top-loading pack with inner/hybrid frame support. The suspension is slightly separated from the pack for enhanced ventilation, and the shoulder straps and integrated waist strap are wide and well padded. Overall construction is rock solid, no doubt. All the stitching is perfectly executed and the craftsmanship is top-notch. I’ve been using this pack on multiple outings since April before this review, so it’s been really well tested for a solid couple of months in forest environment, on the coast, and also in the Tatra mountains in Central Europe (alpine kind of mountains) in summer weather but also in partly icy conditions. So I’ve checked it on many outdoor gear battlefields and I can say with full confidence that it’s a tough pack.
Materials and Hardware
It’s made of a tough Poly-cotton blend (which they call LPC ECO Ripstop 65% Polyester 35% Organic Cotton) so abrasion resistance is very good and I’m absolutely in love with that classic matte, almost vintage look of Lundhags material. I’ve always been a fan of technical materials on purely technical packs. However this one is oriented more towards traditionalists, people living in harmony with nature – so for a company with such a heritage and Scandinavian eco-friendly approach this material is a great choice. And as I said, it’s tough! In the last four months of frequent use I didn’t notice ANY tear, rip or even pronounced surface scratch. All the webbing is polyester and super tough too. Last but not least, almost all the buckles (including the central waist buckle) are made of aircraft grade aluminum for strength and low weight. To sum up, the Gneik 34 is entirely made of environmentally-friendly top-tier materials. Sound good? Yeah…and pricy too, but I’ll address that point at the end.
It’s a top-loading carry machine with a drawstring type closure and big floating lid. And with side access via a hidden long zipper. There are side compression straps, fixing straps, loops and attachments everywhere! The hidden daisy chains for bungee cord and carabiners are nice to have, so are the hidden trekking pole keepers. Thanks to all that I was able to carry my Gneik hiking poles, ice axe and crampons simultaneously.
The side bottle pockets can also be used to carry a fixed blade knife, folding saw or a small backpacking hatchet, must-have items for bushcrafters. There’s also a top strap under the lid for rope fixing, a handy feature for mountaineers. And just look at that oversized horizontal carry handle on the back…bold one! And it works like a dream for horizontally carrying the Gneik around. The pack is fully compatible with hydration systems and I use my Source Tactical with it. Additional attachment points on the shoulder strap allow for easy hydration tube leashing. Also I had zero problems fixing a small knife on my pack (TRC Speed Demon pictured on the shoulder strap). This pack is just packed with features…pun intended!
Space and Access
Despite bungee-net back suspension (which usually eats some space) the pack is really spacious and the 34L capacity is a very conservative measure based on my experience. I can easily use this pack for an extended weekend mountaineering trip. Or as a big daypack for hiking with two kids, which actually will be my main use for this pack for the rest of this summer. Over-stuffing couldn’t be easier – just use the top drawstring with extended collar and rope strap under the lid to keep stuff in place. And of course move the lid up as much as needed (there’s more than enough webbing for that). It’s a one-cavity pack, a logical choice for this volume.
Pockets and Organizing
I’m not a fan of multitudes of pockets so I’m glad there’s just a reasonable number of them on the Gneik. Of course there’s a big compartment on top of the lid, plus a hidden pocket under it (standard these days). Another hidden zipper pocket is inside the pack for a wallet or other small valuables. Plus side bottle pockets and very handy belt pockets sized ideally for a small compass, energy bars, Swiss army knife, headlamp etc. But of all the pockets I like that huge open pocket on the back the most! This almost endless well-pocket can be used for a jacket (wet or dry), laminated maps, an extra layer, or a tarp and hammock etc. and can be tied down via the top (rope) strap if desired. Very clever design!
If there’s one thing that springs to mind when I think of the Gneik, it’s comfort. Early spring or winter with heavy clothing on, or sunny summer in just a t-shirt – no matter what you’re wearing this pack is ultra comfortable. The suspension system firmly binds the pack to your body and allows for unbelievably good air circulation in the back area. This pack carries so well that there’s no way a dedicated climbing daypack can match…not even come close. Sure, there’s no free lunch so it comes with a slight weight penalty (pack weight is 1.5 kg) but carry comfort is easily worth that additional 200-300g versus a climbing pack of that size if technical climbing is not your goal on that day. For a full day hike in summer sun I’ll take that versus even the lightest climbing pack like the classic Patagonia Ascensionist 35, which is also in my pack drawer. Plus the distance between net and sack is kept to a minimum and well controlled, so the shift in the center of gravity is not bigger than one inch on average. All in all, the Gneik is a very comfortable pack, one of the most comfortable I’ve ever had on my back. If not the most comfortable one. Oh, it also comes in two sizes and for me (I’m 186cm tall) the longer one was the obvious choice.
The DWR finish can easily deal with occasional short summer rain. In a serious downpour I highly recommend a rain cover – the Gneik won’t soak through immediately but in the end it will let some damp in. So just get a rain cover, a generic one or perfectly fitted dedicated Lundhags one. Or you can use a waterproof bag inside the pack as an alternative, or even a big trash bag in an emergency – not the most durable and elegant solution but it’s saved my lower back more than once.
Alternatives to Consider
Fjällräven Kaipak 38 – a little bit bigger and heavier, much simpler and without advanced suspension, but still a solid Scandinavian ‘eco-friendly’ option.
Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 35 – a direct response to the Gneik 34 (or vice versa) but with slightly less attachment options and no daisy chains.
Osprey Stratos 34 – a different approach to a 34L dayhiking pack but with similar suspension and comfort. A little bit less robust material and all plastic hardware.
Deuter Futura 34 EL – direct competition with the same general principles but a purely mountaineering pack, not so much dedicated for bushcraft / forest activities.
Excellent carry comfort
Robust construction and materials
Very good design and user experience
Multi-role and multi-environment nature
Multiple attachment points
Not So Good
Not fully watertight, so a rain cover would be recommended.
It’s one of those packs that you don’t want to part with. And personally, I won’t! It’s an extraordinarily comfortable multi-mission pack with some ‘bushcraft-friendly’ features and tough enough for forest use. I really enjoyed using it and you’ll see a lot of pics of me using it this summer and autumn on my IG (@piotr_ma). It’s not a cheap pack, but the 250 EUR price would be money well spent on an excellent eco-friendly pack with timeless design and a lot of useful features. It’ll serve you well for many years if you decide to invest in the Gneik 34 as your hiking pack.