Disclaimer: Guerrilla Packs graciously sent me a backpack (Samurai 50L) for me to field test. They simply asked me to blog about it, either positively or negatively. What follows is my honest review of the backpack.
Over the years, I’ve gotten some great gear. This time wasn’t any different. Looking at the specs, I knew I wasn’t getting an ultralight backpack.
I decided I was going to take it on a day hike, since I wouldn’t be able to go on any overnight trips anytime soon. I headed up to Fox Mountain in the northern end of Santa Barbara County. After fitting the pack to my body, which took about a minute, I stuffed the pack with a shell and a down jacket, added a full 3 liter bladder, put enough food for the two hikes I would be doing, added my first aid kit and my essentials and headed out.
On their website, Guerrilla Packs list the Samurai 50L as having a weight of 4.15 lbs. It’s heavier than my current go-to backpack, but it’s about 250% less expensive. As of this writing, it’s $79 on their website. That’s pretty affordable.
When I received the Samurai 50L, the first thing I noticed was how rugged it felt. The pockets and straps were in all the usual places. The belt and shoulder straps were a nice combination of padding and firmness. The zippers were solid. I didn’t feel like I would ever be able to accidentally damage this pack.
Now there are going to be some small criticisms of the pack, but this is likely due to the fact that I go hiking A LOT. I develop a rhythm and order to my process, and if anything strays from my ability to do something a certain way, I see it as a flaw. For instance, I like to wear two Mountainsmith Cyber camera cases on my belt straps. That way, I have quick access to my now super old Canon G11, as well as my GoPro Hero2. The belt could accommodate the cases, but placed them too close the the buckle, causing my upper legs to push against them as I hiked. Small problem, but something that gets in the way of my normal hiking process. If I had been hiking with my Canon T3i, it would have been a real problem.
One major problem with the pack that I could see right away was when I was inserting my 3 liter bladder. There was no way that the nozzle was going to fit through the designated hole. I really have to cram it through my other pack, but this was going to be impossible. I don’t think that any of my bladders’ nozzles would fit through that hole. I rerouted the tube outside the pack and it worked just fine. It would have been nicer and cleaner if the hole was a little bigger.
As I climbed up the steep ridge line, I forgot that I wasn’t wearing my typical day hiking backpack, which is a good sign. The backpack didn’t feel too heavy and the padding in the shoulders and waist was just right. This wasn’t an overnight trip, so the pack wasn’t full, but it felt nice. And the tough material didn’t have me worried as I squeezed through some tight chaparral, which scraped on everything. My other overnight pack would have had me wondering if I was going to tear it. The Samurai 50L is capable of enduring a lot more than that.
Another nice part of the pack is that the main compartment is a built-in waterproof bag. The top Velcros shut and folds down, clipping onto itself like many waterproof bags I have used in the past. This would have come in handy on my trip to Chicken Spring Lake, when it rained for hours. I wasn’t able to close it completely, due to the bladder issue above, but I really didn’t need to, as it was a clear day with no rain in sight.
Bottom Line: Overall the pack worked very well, and you can’t beat the price for a comfortable bomb-proof, well thought-out pack.
- Extremely rugged material and buckles
- Plenty of pockets
- Plenty of tie ons
- Comfortable straps and belt
- Built-in waterproof main compartment
- Did I mention it was rugged?
Room for improvement:
- Larger bladder nozzle hole
- Better side water bottle access
- Place to mount items on the belt
- Whistle on sternum strap (not even worth mentioning, I know…)
- A little heavy for the capacity (but it’s so darn rugged and affordable!)
I am looking forward to using it on an overnight trip and see how my gear fits in it and how it feels with a heavier load.
For more information and pics, you can go to the Guerrilla Packs site for the Samurai 50L. You can also get the Samurai 50L on Amazon (Prime!) for slightly higher than the current price at the manufacturer, but with free shipping.
Below is a video I found from Guerrilla Packs: