Courier backpacks seem to be in vogue right now… packs that will take all your gear, plus those everyday essentials such as a laptop – and keep them dry, too. The Xeron Courier is a 25L pack made of robust polyester with a water-repellent DWR coating on the outside and a PU coating on the inside. dry bagI packed my bag full of gear, including my 15″ laptop, and found it to be extremely stable and comfortable, thanks to the integrated back panel and anatomically shaped, soft padded shoulder straps. This backpack combines some excellent features. Starting at the front, there is a good-sized Velcro closure pocket, inside of which is a zipped compartment, handy for cell phone, notebook and pen, passport, etc, plus a key ring. Loosen the two straps which clamp down the rolltop closure and a cavernous main compartment is revealed. A narrow mesh-lined zipper pocket lines the back. Running over the top of the back panel is the zippered entry to the laptop compartment, which is generously padded. The neat thing here is that you can gain easy access to your tablet without having to rummage via the main compartment, £75.00, www.mammut.ch


Calling all commuters, kayakers and lovers of canyoneering, for this one is for you. This fully-featured waterproof backpack features a zip out, full-size waterproof internal pocket, which conveniently allows wet and dry things (or dirty and clean things, come to that) to be stowed safely in the same bag. The internal pocket is in a dayglow lime green, so you are not going to lose it easily. This zip-out compartment also contains a roll-seal clear view pocket. Also included are two external mesh pockets, which will each hold a 2L water bottle or other item of equipment. dry bagThe bag is constructed of a TPU-coated fabric with taped seams. Another clever thing I like about this bag is that the internal pocket can be used for a hydration bladder. All you need do is add in a bladder and clip the hose to the carabiner supplied, and you can stay hydrated on the trail. The back incorporates breathable mesh straps, which are both lightweight and comfortable, plus sternum and waist straps. You can always remove the waist strap if you do not need it. The 25 Litre carry capacity is easily enough to carry a 17″ laptop, a change of clothes and snacks. Aquapac has been a leading light in the waterproof bag world for over 30 years, and this is one of the brand’s premium-specification packs. £75.00, www.aquapac.net

Reviewer: Michael Cowton