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Built To Send X2 Rucksack Review

Overview

All too often, nowadays, big manufacturers which produce rucksacks on a large scale, seem to cut corners, on one or several aspects of their production process. The Built to Send rucksacks are all handmade in the UK, and quality checked before posted out. I love the fact these are made in the UK, as I am all for supporting local/UK companies. Besides the fact these are UK made, they are high quality, well designed, and almost indestructible rucksacks.

People On Mountain

Specifications

  • Capacity is 30L folded, and 42L in overload mode
  • Weight is 1.085Kg, and can be stripped to 0.950 Kg
  • Carrying capacity is unlimited (well, realistically everything has a limit, but I like a challenge)
  • Height of the bag when folded is 559 mm
  • Height of the bag when in overload mode is 749 mm
  • Circumference at the top is 934 mm
  • Circumference at the bottom is 880 mm

 

As an instructor, and obsessive mountaineer/climber, a bug bear of mine is buying kit/equipment that does not last.  When it comes to rucksacks, I have been through 5 of them in the last 4-5 years.  Mainly because these are designed with less than sufficient materials, to withstand the abuse these are designed for.  I am not professing to have experience with all brands of rucksacks out there.

 

So, I recently came across a new brand of rucksacks on the market from Built To Send.  And I was very intrigued by their engineering-led design.  They state that their rucksacks are “the strongest on planet earth” and “bombproof”.  So, of course I had to put this to the test.  Here we have reviewed the Built To Send X2 rucksack.

 

Robustness

Several things that immediately stand out on this rucksack, is the material used for the bag.  Made from an expedition grade composite VX42 X-Pac fabric.  This fabric is highly abrasive and tear resistant.  Making it the perfect partner when you are climbing with your rucksack, in summer or winter.  Especially in areas with more abrasive rock, like granite.

 

Another benefit of the X-Pac VX42 fabric used in the Built to Send X2 rucksack, is that it is waterproof.  Although the rucksack is not waterproof, as the seams are not taped.  You do have the option to seal the seams.  As one of the only rucksacks on the market, where the seams are hidden, which gives you the option of waterproofing them.  This would be a very costly process, and may make the rucksack out of people’s affordability.

 

In combination with the monoshell design and the V92 bonded polyester thread, these ensure the bags’ weather-proofness.  Making this an ideal rucksack for all weather conditions.  Just make sure you use waterproof storage bags when the forecast is horizontal rain.

 

The haul handle on the Built to Send rucksack is bigger than any rucksack I have ever encountered.  Making the moving and shifting around a lot easier, as you can fit your whole hand comfortably inside it.  It is also rated, and doubles up as a haul loop.  For those times when you absolutely do not want to climb with a rucksack on.  It can be used as a mini haul bag.  And because the bag is made of a very strong material, it will just put up with it.

 

Whether hillwalking walking in Northern Wales, winter climbing in Scotland, ice climbing in Cogne or the Rocky mountains, cragging at Bosigran, tackling North faces in the Alps or big walling in Yosemite.  The Built to Send X2 rucksack is the workhorse of rucksacks, that you will carry with pride and reassurance.

 

Design

The Built to Send rucksack is a mono shell design.  Meaning it is made from one piece of fabric.  Which results in fewer seams.  Fewer seams, means less to go wrong.  A thread of 16lbs breaking strength has been used, and they have triple stitched these.  To add to this, they have doubled up the fabric on the bottom of the rucksack.  All adding to the longevity and durability of the Built To Send rucksack.

 

The roll top design, gives easy access to the rucksacks content.  Which can save a vital few seconds, especially when you need quick access.  The way the roll top is tied down, is by using two straps with a buckle each and tied to the straps at the front (see picture).  This gives you the option to tie these on the rucksack, depending on how much you have filled it.  For example, on the approach the bag may be filled to the top.  Then when you set off to go climbing, most of the gear has been taken out.  You then can attach the buckles lower down on the rucksack, compacting it.  Which leaves less to get caught on a route.

 

 

 

Depending on how you travel, you have the option to add or take away some of the straps.  Whether you want to attach ice axes, skis, or crampons, it gives you the option.

 

 

Also, a funky thing is that you can have the option where you put the side straps.  Which is great. So, depending on what you choose to secure to the side of the rucksack, you can adjust the straps accordingly.

 

The buckles on the roll top, the side straps, and the front, are all made of aerospace grade aluminium.  Again, another feature adding to the longevity and durability of the rucksack.

 

I am used to having easy access to a flap on the top of a rucksack, but Built To Send have solved that problem by adding a small pouch with a zip on the inside of the rucksack.  Big enough to fill with essentials like headtorch, keys, valuables or anything else you can think of.  Its size is around 3l.

 

The lid has also got 4 loops, which means these can be clipped into the anchor system when climbing, for organising gear.  This is very useful on big alpine routes, winter routes and big walls.  Useful when organising kit on belay stances, using it as a rope bag, cleaning a pitch (of gear), or hauling.

 

The tab at the front of the rucksack, which holds the picks of the ice axes in place, is very robust, and can withstand lots of abuse.

 

Size, weight and capacity

As detailed in the specifications, here we have reviewed the Built To Send X2 rucksack.  The bag is 30L, and can be filled to 42L in overload mode.  They also have the following rucksacks available:

  • The X0 – 25L (35L overload) – does have a waist belt, but not padded to save weight
  • The X1 – 30L (42L overload) – does have a waist belt, but not padded to save weight
  • The X3 – 50L (65L overload) – has a padded waist belt, like X2

 

The Built To Send X2 rucksack weighs in at 950 grammes stripped to the bare minimum.  And 1.085Kg with all of the straps.  Giving you, the carrier, the option of really going bare minimum. The bags are available in both black and white.  Apart from the colour difference, the dyeing process adds 25 grammes to the rucksack.  That is how precise they are at Built To Send.

 

Built To Send advertise their rucksacks as having an unlimited carrying capacity.  My guess is everything has its limit.  But for what the bag is used for, I have carried a whole rack, with axes 2 ropes, 4 pairs of gloves, food, water, amongst a few other smaller bits.  The bag took it all in its stride, even with the added weight of wet ropes and kit.

 

The issue I have had with other brands, is that they do not put up with the heavy loads that the rucksacks are designed for.  And end up with multiple replacements, because the shoulder straps come away from the main bag.  So, thank you Built To Send for making something that can withstand some serious abuse.

 

 

Comfort

As mentioned before, even with the heavy loads we carry as instructors/climbers the bag feels very comfortable to carry.  Built To Send have used military grade foams, which are usually used in fighter jets, in the shoulder straps, the back panel, and the waist belt.  When carrying a heavy load, you immediately feel the benefit.  Especially at the end of a climbing day, when you are really tired from climbing, and the kit just gets dumped in the rucksack.

 

 

The foam used has energy absorbing properties, and high impact recovery.  In combination with slightly wider shoulder straps and waist belt, this spreads the load over a larger area.  And you do instantly feel the difference with some other rucksacks on the market.

 

Further comments

I initially was a bit wary of the rucksack, as it is so different from what I am used to.  The more I used it, the more I grew fond of it.  It does exactly what I want a rucksack to do in my profession, and as a climber.  It is hardwearing, it can carry heavy loads and it is versatile.

 

If I had to come up with negatives for this rucksack, it would be price.  Currently retailing at £299, it seems expensive.  But when I think that I have gone through 5 rucksacks in just as many years, I see this rucksack lasting a very long time.  Quality comes at a price, and this rucksack will outlast anything else on the market.

 

Also, I would like to see more colour choice, but understand the dyeing process adds weight.  Colour looks good in the mountains, and pictures.  I know, how vein…

 

I also found an extra use for the rucksack.  Like in the olden days, it can be used as a weatherproof layer for your legs to sit in, when bivvying out in the mountains on an alpine or winter adventure, in an emergency.

 

Pros

  • Weatherproof
  • Simple design
  • Able to take bits off
  • Abrasive and tear resistant
  • Monoshell
  • Big and rated haul handle
  • Comfy even with heavy loads
  • Hand-built in the UK (none of this Chinese crap)
  • Able to carry heavy loads
  • Versatile (the Built To Send rucksack can be used for winter climbing, hiking, alpine climbing and skiing, big walling, and for just going to the crag)

 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of colour range

 

 

Conclusion

Built To Send have used the highest quality materials to create rucksacks.  The X2 is a highly engineered robust workhorse of a rucksack, functional, hardwearing and no frilly bullshit.

 

If you are interested in purchasing one of the Built To Send rucksacks, buy them straight from Built To Send (link below).  They are currently selling at a discounted price (January 2020):

 

Built To Send