MISSION WORKSHOP Rambler bag, £200, www.missionworkshop.com

The Rambler’s a mid-sized cargo backpack, with a number of great features. The main central compartment can be expanded — doubling the basic capacity to 44-litres — and, thanks to a set of compression straps and a highly supportive ‘framesheet’ built into the back system, loads are kept very stable in transit. I’ve carried hefty photography kit for long days, even a 5-litre paint tray, with no problem — even more impressive as the pack relies on just a sternum strap and wide padded shoulder straps rather than a waistbelt (available as an extra).

A rear roll-top compartment easily swallows a 15-inch laptop, plus there’s a large zippered front pocket that I’ve been using for books and A4 documents, and a small key/wallet stasher on the front panel. The Rambler is also PVC-free and uses fabrics coated with urethane, which not only makes it greener and tougher but also totally waterproof (likewise all zips) — trust me it got plenty of extreme deluge testing in August! 

Of course it’s double the price of the smaller Ortlieb pack we tested last issue, but it should be more fairly compared with professional-level (and equally pricey) messenger bags — hence the lifetime warranty. I was sceptical about the stability  issue, but the Rambler’s proved very comfortable. It’s highly visible too.

PROS bombproof, watertight  
CONS price