Forclaz Travel 100 Hiking Pack
Looking for a bigger backpack that’s light on your budget? Check out the Forclaz Travel 100 Hiking Pack from Decathlon! With a 50-litre capacity and weighing only 3 lbs, it’s perfect for outdoor adventures and camping trips. The pack is made of durable polyester and comes with a 100% polyurethane coating for extra protection. Its ingenious zipper system allows for easy loading and unloading, and there are plenty of outside storage spaces for all your camping essentials. The pack’s big, padded straps and adjustable sternum strap ensure comfortable wear, and the compression straps do a great job of cinching down bulk and taking stress off the zippers. At just $65, this pack is a great value for its quality design and solid warranty. So what are you waiting for? Grab yours today and start your next outdoor adventure!
Size and pockets are just right
10 Year Warranty!
Bottom is tight due to shape
Fit isn't perfect
There’s just something special about our backpacks. After all, our pack holds ALL our belongings when we are away from home. So it’s no wonder why one of our top posts on the blog is our review of the 5.11 Rush 24 backpack. It’s super durable and organized – but it’s also heavy and expensive. So today, let’s look at something bigger, lighter and a lot more budget-friendly. In comes the 50-litre Forclaz Travel 100 Hiking Pack from Decathlon!
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Intent of Use
First and foremost, we always (and highly) stress considering intent during a review. In other words, what will you use this pack for? Coming in at 50 litres, the Travel 100 is not a small pack. Its layout and features are designed to suit hiking. And its weight confirms that as it’s in a very sweet spot of 3 lbs.
When we are hiking, we are heading into the wilderness for either an adventure of some form or a camping trip. Now, just because something is labelled as “hiking” doesn’t mean that’s all it’s used for, as is the case here. A hiking pack needs to have a layout and features that suit outdoor activities and camping – but it needs to be light enough to haul a distance on foot. If hiking isn’t your thing, that’s fine. The pack still does what it’s supposed to, which is carry shelter, gear, food, water, clothing and so on. Except you are just lucky enough to shed the weight.
What the Travel 100 isn’t is a daily or EDC-type pack. For everyday carry, a pack should have a lot of organization and be smaller.
The Forclaz Travel 100 is made of polyester. Generally speaking, I really prefer nylon when it comes to any of my camping equipment, including the pack itself. But at $65, that’s an impossible ask since nylon is expensive.
We do have a little Coleman tent in our house that’s made of poly and it’s been through the ringer and back. We have never used a footprint yet the floor has no holes and always stays dry. The tent has also sustained some very high winds that should destroy the tent – yet it’s as good as new.
Yes, I know, we’re not reviewing a tent. But it’s impossible not to address materials in a product review, and there is a point here. While not glitzy or glamorous, modern polyester has come a very long way, and it’s capable of doing its job. And on a budget!
It should also be noted that the polyester used here is 600 denier. Denier is a unit of measure of the thickness of fabric, and backpacks typically range from 100 to 600 denier. 600 is quite standard and generally durable.
The pack has a 100% polyurethane coating. Decathlon doesn’t mention the purpose of the coating, but generally speaking, this is to protect the main fabric it’s attached to. It also helps with waterproofing, weight and softness.
Further, the backpack is advertised as “not waterproof” which is fine. Most packs are not waterproof. I have had all kinds of non-waterproof packs out in light rain or snow, and they have kept my things dry. They will however, eventually soak through with enough exposure to water, and there are a few ways to address that, so let’s look at that below.
It is generally good practice to keep anything you need dry in wet bags. Then place the wet bags into your pack. Another option for those rainy days is to pack a poncho rather than a raincoat. The poncho will go over you and your pack, protecting both of you in the process. Also allowing you mobility in the rain. Not to mention a good poncho doubles as a tarp for those times you don’t need to be on the move. And finally, Decathlon mentions pack covers which are sold separately. These lightweight covers stow away easily and are applied over the top of the pack when needed.
We put the soaker head attachment on the garden hose and hit the pack full blast for 20 seconds. We hit it with what would be a torrential downpour. Surprisingly, the fabric seems to bead water great, so it might just fare well in a light rain. But yes, it’s not waterproof. A small cup’s worth of water was in the bottom of the main compartment, and it probably came in through the zippers. Do follow our waterproofing steps above, and remember to fully open, hang and dry out the pack if it ever gets wet.
If you are a hiker, you are in for some good news! This pack is tall and slender, meaning the bulk of what you carry will spread vertically versus horizontally. If you have ever tried to pass through dense woods, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that it makes life a LOT easier out in the bush! You’ll be a lot less likely to snag on everything along the way. Let’s elaborate on how the pack is laid out.
In standard fashion, the main compartment is one giant storage space. That’s great, as there is ample room for bulkier items. It’s about 23″ tall on the inside.
Also, in standard fashion, we find a separator for the bottom portion of the pack. Some people like to use this area for wet clothes or shoes. Most people (myself included) will pack their blanket in it. Your blanket is the last item you’ll pull out, which is why leaving it at the bottom makes it so much easier to access other gear.
I find as you go up the pack vertically, the main compartment seems to widen until you reach the top. In typical hiking pack fashion, here you will find extra fabric, about 5″ of it, with a built-in drawstring to cinch and seal off the top. Which then gets covered again by the top flap. So far, so good!
My absolute favourite thing about this pack is its main compartment zippers. First of all, most hiking packs don’t have a zipper at all for the main compartment. You end up dealing with a big, giant hole that loads from the top – and the top only. It can be challenging to load if you are a neat freak and challenging to unload if you only need that 1 item that so happens to be at the bottom!
The Travel 100 has an ingenious zipper system, to be honest, which runs from the very top of the pack right down to the bottom. At the bottom, it forms a U shape and heads back up to the top again. If that’s not enough, it comes with three zipper tabs. This allows you to open the pack from the top down, providing unfettered access to the entire main compartment OR facilitating the two other zipper tabs, which can be moved anywhere along the zipper. In other words, a wide swath of the pack can be opened from the bottom up!!! I really, really like this system a lot, and it makes loading, organizing and unloading a breeze!
Main Compartment Pockets
Inside the main compartment are two pockets on the back of the pack. One is almost the full height of the pack. If you look carefully, you’ll notice a slit in the top side of the pack acting as a pass-through. That means it’s hydration bladder compatible.
There is also one small zippered pocket right on the outside of the hydration bladder pocket. That’s perfect for smaller items or items you may need to have more readily available without having to search.
Both sides of the pack each have their own pocket. By pocket, I mean 1 massive pocket that measures 17″ tall by 6″ wide. If you follow the blog, you’ll know I prefer a saw over an axe since it’s lighter and processes wood faster. These pockets easily swallow my Silky Big Boy folding saw with room to spare! That’s impressive as it can be closed back up without fear of losing my prized saw.
If you are the axe type, and/or use hiking poles or other long objects, each pocket also has some mesh on the outside and toward the bottom. Couple that bottom mesh with upper straps and buckles, and you can firmly secure just about anything to the sides of the pack. Of course, that same mesh will hold a water bottle or other frequently accessed items.
I think Decathlon is selling the pack short with their advertised three outer pockets. It’s more like 6 when you add the mesh – and mesh is an amazing fabric in the camping world.
Yes, we finally reach our last outside pocket, and it’s in the top flap. Here I would store items such as a flashlight or headlamp, navigation kit (map, compass, pen, notepad), fire kit (lighter, matches, ferro rod, tinder), snacks, basic first aid items and so on.
The other day I thought I lost my battery bank. It’s a big one at 20,000 mAh with a solar charger on the outside. It wasn’t lost. The top outer pocket is so big it was nestled into the back of it. That’s a good problem to have.
I despise when a pack has little or no outer pockets. I also hate when they have so little room in them that they have no real value. It means you need to stop and unpack everything just to get to items you frequently use – let alone find them. Looking back to my 5.11 pack, which has been my daily carry for years, 90% of the items I need and use frequently are in my outside pockets! With this Travel 100 pack, that won’t be a problem, as there is PLENTY of outside storage space.
Straps, Buckles, Cinching
The pack’s main straps are big, padded and surprisingly comfortable. I’m 6′ 2″ tall, and on arrival, the hip belt seemed to land around my stomach – not good! When carrying a pack, especially when hiking, it’s important to transfer a fair amount of weight to your hips. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself with sore shoulders. The adjustment was easy, thanks to the velcro and molle-style loops visible in the photo above. I moved it up as high as it would go (1 notch) and loosened the shoulder straps enough to allow the pack to hang at the right height. The opposite would be the reversal of what I did here.
The hip belt has a pocket on the right side which is great for small items. Generally, with my packs, I prefer when the hip belt is removable. It’s nice to get rid of the big bulky thing when you are not packing heavy. That is not an option here, as is the case with many a pack if not most. But we won’t make a big deal out of it since it’s a larger pack at 50 litres and meant to generally carry a lot.
Lastly, we have an adjustable sternum strap. All the straps come with little elastic keepers, which I like. It holds the unused parts of the straps in place, so it’s not so sloppy. Straps flopping around as you walk can quickly become a major pet peeve, not to mention getting snagged on everything along the way, so I’m happy to see these included.
All around the pack is comfortable and can be fitted fairly well to its wearer.
The sides have compression straps which we already covered. But so does the center, which holds the top flap in place. What we didn’t cover was that the compression straps do a great job of cinching down some of the pack’s bulk. And it provides an insurance policy, taking some stress off the zippers. The strapping is not excessive either, which can make it really difficult to get in and out of the pack. Whoever designed the pack knew what they were doing.
My big, stainless water bottle did want to slide out of the mesh pocket. It didn’t help that the inner bulk of the pack’s contents was pushing on it as well. The compression strap quickly solved that problem, and it’s a great example of how important these are. Not to mention you can use them to clip outer objects to the pack, such as the cordage pictured throughout the post.
At the very top of the pack, we have a bungee cord with a sliding keeper. It’s a great spot to tuck in a bed roll. Better yet, what I would do here is put a jacket in there so it’s always at the ready.
It’s common to put the bedroll on the bottom as well, and while the pack came with four clips on the underside, I can’t find the straps to go with it, and I wish it was there. Perhaps it’s an add-on.
Overall Fit and Finish
Other than a couple of loose threads on arrival (which are easily snipped off) and quite common even on expensive gear, I can’t find any quality issues. The pack is light, nice and soft. As a reviewer, I have to constantly remind myself that it’s a $65 pack!!! I would easily expect to pay $200 to $500 for a pack from one of the big camping brands. While those packs may have some fancy features or materials that this pack lacks, I have to admit it will certainly do its job. Frankly, I was expecting a lot less at this price point and am pleasantly surprised.
The Travel 100 is also backed by a 10-year warranty. So if we do the opposite and compare it to an off-brand or no-brand kind of pack, that level of warranty is unheard of. At this price, you would be lucky if the person is still around or answers the phone after shipping it to you. With Decathlon, you are backed by a real company that has real stores you can walk into for service. That’s a huge bonus in my mind.
What Goes in the Hiking Pack?
Now that we addressed the pack and its features – let’s load it up with gear for an overnight or 2-night camping trip and let’s see how it fits. Going into the pack is:
- 7.5′ x 7′ tarp
- rapid deploy ridgeline (to hang tarp) plus tent stakes
- poncho liner (lightweight blanket)
- inflatable sleeping pad
- compressible pillow
- Silky Big Boy folding saw
- fixed blade knife
- fire kit
- ferrocerium rod
- navigation kit
- waterproof notepad
- battery bank
- first aid kit
- stove, gas
- 2 MREs, several snacks
- water, single wall metal cup, water filter
- spare socks, pants, shirt
- jacket (worn or bungee to top)
- toothbrush, toothpaste
- small bottle of dish soap
These items easily fit the Travel 100. In fact, it’s a perfect fit.
Let’s very quickly discuss the issue of days before wrapping up. As you can see on the list above, once you add a sleep system, cooking method, baseline kit such as compass, first aid and so on, you can see litres getting eaten up quickly. It’s why the pack is good for 2-3 days.
But once we have our baseline kit covered, more litres just means more food! And days can be added easily. It becomes a matter of strapping, let’s say, a small food bag (5-10 litres) onto the pack instead of running out and buying a larger 65-litre pack. That small food bag can then be hung in a tree, a little ways away from your camp. You know, to help with the bear situation:) But separating food is the perfect compromise to add days if you need them.
Decathlon says the Forclaz Travel 100 is “designed for your first outdoor adventures”! I have to agree with that. When getting into the outdoors, things can get costly fast. I would rather save my budget for items like a really good knife – as your life can depend on one out in the bush.
One of Decathlon’s hallmarks is its pursuit of getting people into new activities and allowing them to do so from a financial standpoint. That and actually letting people try their products in store. That should sound familiar as our biggest hallmark is educating people HOW to.
While the pack is not glitzy or glamorous, without a doubt, it WILL do its job! The big question is whether or not the value is there for $65, and I am going with a yes. You just can’t expect much at this price, and I am pleasantly surprised at the quality, not to mention the level of good design that’s gone into this hiking pack. Back that up with a solid warranty, and the decision is pretty easy. So grab one, grab a loved one while you’re at it and just get out there already! Your next outdoor adventure is right at your fingertips, all you have to do is commit to making it happen!
Decathlon graciously provided the Forclaz Travel 100 for us to review. They did not provide payment for this post nor are we sponsored by Decathlon. The review is based on our unbiased opinion. Links to Decathlon and other products on our site do provide a small commission to BushLife at no cost to you. We appreciate you using our links and sharing on social media – it greatly helps the blog and allows us to keep great content coming to you.