Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60L

Unfortunately my Lightwave Ultrahike 60 has come to the end of its life. The waterproof coating on the inside of the pack has gone all sticky and is coming off. I was tempted to get another one, but there are very few around and none my size, so I looked around for alternatives. The two that were on my radar were the Atom Packs Mo 60 and the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60L.

While I was tempted to get the Mo 60, I already have a Mo 50. They aren’t that readily available and quite expensive, so I plumped for the Flex Capacitor, which arrived yesterday. It’s a totally different pack to the Mo. Apart from the price, I was attracted to the idea of being able to expand and contract the pack.

Fully expanded

There are plenty of other reviews elsewhere so I’ll be brief. It is very well made with no flaws that I can see. I bought the M/L with the S/M hip belt and it seems to fit me well. The hip belt is quite stiff and nicely contoured so it should be comfortable. I stuffed it with a couple of sleeping bags and it seemed to carry well, but I’ll only know when I take it out with a decent load. The shoulder padding feels a bit weird, but I’m sure it will be fine when I’m used to it.

Shock cord on top

Of course I’ve added a few tweaks. I’ve put a V of shock cord on the top do I can store a jacket or sit pad on top of the pack. I’ve made it adjustable with a cord lock. It can also be unthreaded easily if I don’t want it. It doesn’t interfere with opening the top pocket or the main body of the pack as it can be easily flipped to either side.

I didn’t like the zip pulls so I replaced those. Someone mentioned the zip pulls for the top pocket and main opening can be confused so I different colours, yellow for the top pocket and red for the two zips for the main compartment. They look more stylish than the original yellow cord ones. Mine have plastic toggles which are easier to pull. I used black ones for the hip belt pockets.

New zip pulls

I like to carry a length of thin closed cell foam mat to put under my air mattress so I used a short length of elastic attached to the internal pack back seams with safety pins to secure the foam mattress inside the pack. The photo below is not very good, but you get the idea.

Overall it seems a good pack, although very different to what I’ve been used to with no large stretch pocket on the outside, so I’ll have to get used to packing in a very different way. Weight is 1.3kg, slightly higher than the advertised 1.2kg, but not a disaster.

5 thoughts on “Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60L”

  1. I have the lightwave 60 – been my only pack for any wild camping trips for 5+ years now. still in good nick and not yet having the ‘sticky’ problem you refer to!

    I do miss not having hipbelt pockets and the front ‘stretchy’ pocket though – my next pack will def hav these features!

  2. I also have an Ultrahike 60 which is 12 years old and the inner PU is just starting to get sticky. Trying some talcum powder as a stop gap until the coating starts to peel off, then its time for a new pack.

    I also use the Exped Flash pocket on my ultrahike and also one Aiguille Alpine hip belt pocket (with mods) to fit on the hip belt.

    Considering the Flex Capacitor 40-60 for my next pack, or perhaps a Granite Gear Blaze. Hopefully the ultrahike will last another year or so. A very comfortable pack.

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