Around camping season, Aldi unloads all manner of tents and camping supplies into the Special Buy section, from tents to cots to latrine shovels. Among the various outdoor wares are a foldable backpack and a foldable duffle bag.
We decided to take the backpack for a spin.
Not to be confused with the excellent Adventuridge Essentials Backpack for students, the Adventuridge Lightweight Foldable Backpack comes in an unassuming bag … that isn’t a bag at all, but actually the backpack itself. The backpack doesn’t come with anything resembling a manual, but, basically, you unzip the bag, pull the backpack out, and then push the bag down into the storage area of the backpack. To put the backpack away, you reverse the process.
It’s not too hard, but we recommend you pay close attention the first time you pull everything out. We noticed, for example, that when you first pull it out, the clips are fastened on one side of the bag, then are unclipped and clipped along the other side when you set it up for actual carrying. We were a little concerned about how difficult it might be to stuff everything back in the original bag position, but it folds up and packs back in without too much trouble.
When we first got our hands on the Adventuridge Foldable Backpack, we already had a tried-and-true backpack in the Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Backpack.
The Venture Pal is, at the time of this post, about twice as expensive as the Adventuridge, but it does come with a lifetime warranty, while the Adventuridge, unlike many Aldi products, doesn’t come with a warranty at all.
A couple of observations about the Adventuridge Backpack. First, while the it is pretty compact in storage, it’s also bigger when unpacked than we thought it would be. It is almost two feet tall and a foot wide: the total dimensions are 23.6″ x 11″ x 6.7″, larger than the Venture Pal. Made of nylon, the Aldi backpack clocks in at about two-thirds of a pound. It sports one major compartment. (The Venture Pal has three.)
The Adventuridge comes with only one zipper: the one that zips everything into the carry bag. The main backpack uses a drawstring secured by two clips (see picture above), with just a single storage space, although the zippered carry bag also doubles as a smaller space inside the main backpack for things like keys and other loose objects. The Adventuridge sports two mesh side pockets, which are large enough to hold the larger water bottles we like to bring on our hiking trips.
The Adventuridge has two adjustable cushioned shoulder straps. The Venture Pal does too, but it also has a chest clip that holds the shoulder straps more securely. I happen to like the chest clips, but my wife did not; as a woman, she did not like the way the clip cut across her chest. The Aldi backpack has no such chest clip, so if this sort of thing might bother you, it is something in the Aldi backpack’s favor. That also means that the Aldi backpack isn’t quite as strapped down — I’ve jumped across creeks with the Venture Pal and had it stay snug to my back — but the adjustable straps on the Adventuridge generally do the job, too.
Unfortunately, when we actually took the two into the wild, the differences became more apparent. The Adventuridge backpack is a serviceable enough backpack … when it’s full or mostly full. But when it’s mostly empty, such as when you just need a place for your wallet, keys, and water bottle on a summer day, it’s just not designed that well. The cover that clips over the drawstring bag bunches up, and the mesh side pockets become imbalanced. I’ve taken a sparsely packed Venture Pal hiking many times with a double-walled water bottle and it’s stayed firmly in place, but the Adventuridge — despite having a similarly sized mesh side pocket — ended up spitting out my bottle onto the gravel trail, where it cracked. I played around with some different ways of adjusting the Aldi bag, but nothing worked very well, and the bottle fell twice more during our two-mile hike across relatively flat terrain.
The Adventuridge Lightweight Foldable Backpack looks good on paper, but our experience with it hiking left us concerned about its design, especially when you only use it to stow a few things. In addition, while we haven’t spent enough time with it to evaluate durability, the absence of a warranty is a concern. We want to like this thing, but right now we can’t really recommend it over other options, not even for the $10 price tag.