Terra Nova Laser 20L Pack Review

in Outdoors

Price: £49.99 online
Weight: 330g (on my scales)
Link: Product Page


  • 2 Bottle holders
  • 2 Hip belts
  • 2 Front Mesh Pockets
  • key loop
  • Hydration pocket
  • Compression Cords
  • Removable Chest Strap and whistle Full
  • Frontal Zip Change pocket

I have been using the Laser 20L for over 6 months now as my day pack and have intended to write up this review for ages. I think it best to start by saying my previous day pack was an Osprey Atmos 25L, which was a good pack but heavy and over engineered. The Atmos weighs 1139g and unfortunately I was talked into buying the Long back by an Assistant in Fishers. Anyway the Laser 20L has almost everything the Atmos has but is built with lighter materials. It probably wouldn't survive a nuclear war like the Atmos but neither would I.

How is the Laser 20L so lightweight, the majority of the bag is made from thin sil-nylon, I'd guess its about the same thickness as that used in the Trailstar maybe slightly thicker. You can read writing through it, this was cause for some concern when I first opened the package, not because I carry Top Secret documents, more due to a worry it would fall to bits. I'm pleased to say after 6 months of continuous use its still look almost like new cough. I actually put something threw the mesh pocket but can't remember what it was now.

Everything on this pack has been looked at and reduced to the lightest possible without it being too fragile. Terra Nova advertise this saying "Laser 20L and our Laser Photon tent have a combined minimun weight of only 1.09kg" yes this is true but you still need the rest of your stuff which it is possible to fit inside, see this packed with everything for an overnighter here. I wouldn't say its the most comfortable pack when stuffed to overflowing and a slightly larger pack would likely be more comfortable but I will test again soon with even lighter & smaller gear I'm acquiring for wildcamping.

I find the pack very comfortable for a full days use and totally forget its on my back, which is surprising considering the total lack of padding. The wide shoulder straps maybe help with this, again though there is zero padding in the straps. I must remind anyone reading this that I am a lightweight backpacker and don't carry anywhere near the amounts the average person on the hill in the UK does. Maybe I should do a post with what I carry on a day walk, hmmm... I digress.

The pack is designed for adventure races as well as walking and I have ran several miles with it. I'm not sure I'd want to carry too much and run because if tightened up it rides high on me. I prefer a pack quite loose on my back so this isn't usually a problem. I do sometimes find myself trying to pull the hipbelt lower after running or scrambling.

There are loops on the shoulder straps to attach things to, in my case a kuksa and my camera. There are also 2 bottle pockets which are set further forward than on any other bag I've tried; this gives easy access to water on the move. You are better with a small squat bottle than a tall thin one in my experience though. A water bottle has never fallen out while walking or running but a tall bottle has when the pack has been taken off.

There are 2 mesh pockets on the front (or is that the back) that can be great for stowing small clothing or a map. These have compression straps running over them which is useful to stop the contents falling out. There is also a small zipped pocket that I store my money, compass, knife and head torch in.

Things I like
Ever since the above mentioned Atmos, I doubt I could ever consider a pack without hipbelt pockets, just how did I manage before?
The ones on the Laser look quite small but I manage to cram a hat, buff & gloves into one pocket. A couple of snacks and an iPhone into the other, they are made of the same sil-nylon as the rest of the pack and keep the contents dry, which is one of the major things I like about the pack overall I've never had anything get wet inside.

The zip that runs the full length of the pack is excellent, when like me you find yourself hunting at the bottom of the pack for your sausage rolls its not a problem you can see everything in there.

You've gotta love how light this things is!!

Things I dislike
I've only had 2 problems, the first is the cord that tightens the top of the bottle holders. One end has a toggle and the other a small knot that is supposed to stop it being pulled through. Yet almost every time I tried to tighten it the knot would pull straight through, the stupid thing is that TN could of fixed this the same way I did by tying a knot around the loop. See pictures which explains this far better than words.

The other problem relates to the same cord, when the hip belt pockets are unzipped and you try to find the small cord on the zip to close the pockets the cord from the bottle pockets gets in the way and I regularly pull that by mistake. I then end up having to stop and find the zip cord.

Both of these are really minor problems, the only other problem is the colour, it can be seen from the moon in fluorescent yellow. I'm pleased to see that you can now get this in black (please can I have one).

I pick this up every time I leave the house for a day walk. It is so light you don't notice it's there and I find myself constantly wanting to use it for multi-days. If you are looking for a very lightweight day pack that wont break the bank unlike lighter cuben packs, you will be hard pushed to find something better. Then again I do like the 20L from OMM my dad has ;-)