A couple of years ago, I tried out and reviewed the Wisport Sparrow (20 litre) rucksack. It has endured a lot of use on day trips fishing and camping around the coast and woodlands around Cornwall, and it is still going strong with virtually no visible wear and tear. For this reason, I wanted to try out some more gear from Polish brand Wisport, of which I was definately becoming a fan.

Throughout my own use of the the Sparrow Wisport v1, I found the pack to be extremely well made and durable, with a well thought out design for use in any outdoor pursuits, and could easily be used for “lifestyle” too. Nevertheless, Wisport decided to spend some more time to perfect the Sparrow even further, and taking on some of the feedback from users, the new and improved Wisport Sparrow v2 was born…

In conjunction with Military 1st, I have been fortunate enough to be able to try out the Sparrow v2 in the ATACS-IX pattern, and bring you this updated review including all the new features…(more below) ….

Click on images to ENLARGE ….

Materials

The Sparrow v2 pack (and also the Sparrow v1) is made of Cordura 500D® nylon, a very rubust material which although not specifically waterproof, will keep a lot of moisture out. Cordura is quite thick but very durable, therefore the weight of the pack is 1.3kg, probably double the weight of ripstop nylon but in my experience, much more hard wearing and a material I would trust in most situations.

Wisport have also used the SAS PLUS AIR NET system to cover the inside of the straps and back of the rucksack. The material is improved from the Sparrow v1 being much denser, hard wearing and more resistant to dirt, pine needles, sand etc. The mesh allows much better ventialtion and comfort, especially when carrying the pack for longer periods in warmer conditions.

The Wisport zips are really well made, Wisport use their own zippers (not YKK, as with many other manufacturers). I have never had so much as a single stuck zipper on a Wisport product, I never cleaned or lubricated them, and they come with handy little paracord pulls too… I cannot fault this at all.

As with any tactical pack, the Sparrow v2 has an abundance of nylon compression straps and buckles – these are all made from high quality nylon or hard wearing plastic. Wisport develop their products in collaboration with Polish Military Forces and are built to last.

On the Outside

The new Wisport Sparrow v2 pack has a rectangular shape measuring around 48x35x22 cm. At 30 litres the size is perfect for day drips and occasional over-nighters (if you travel fairly light). The front, sides and bottom of the pack are covered with MOLLE webbing allowing the attachment of addtional pouches or other items. In addition, the backpack has a system of compression straps which are very useful for expanding the carry volume of the pack. There are two compression straps on each side panel (one top and one bottom), two compression straps on the front of the pack (again, one top and one bottom), and two straps on the bottom of the pack too. Wisport are generous with their nylon straps, giving plenty of slack for strapping down bulky items. A sleeping bag or blanket can easily be carried across the bottom with plenty of space for tools (saw, axe, folding spade etc) on the sides of the pack…. Ideal for a number of scenarios.

On the top of the bag is a good strong grab handle, one of the improvements on the Sparrow v2 was to reposition the handle for better balance and strength. The handle is made from nylon strap that has been double stitched into the Cordura body of the bag. The new position definately worls better, gives better access to the two compartment openings, (although I had no real complaints with the handle on the Sparrow v1). Behind the grab handle is the outlet for the hydration system, the small Cordura flap covers the outlet gap and helps holds the drinking tube in place.

The pack includes Wisport’s own SAS (Semi Adjustment System) Plus load bearing system. this includes the two padded sections and a strengthened back section with Velcro secured internal slot for optional aluminum frame. The frame is not included, but the pack is very sturdy (even when full) keeping its structure well and allowing comfortable transportation. I would likely only use the addtional frame if I was overloading the pack on the outside with compression straps. This is a definately a good feature and although has a simple design works really well.

The shoulder straps on the Sparrow 2 are really comfortable. Comparing them to the shoulder straps of all my bags, the Wisport design is probably my favourite. They are really well padded and lined on the inside with the Air Mesh. The ergonomic S shape of the straps is contoured better to the shape of your shoulders and therefore spreads the load better. There is an adjustable sternum/chest strap with a small buckle, and quick release buckles to allow the pack to be detached and dropped quickly. Across the shoulder straps, Wisport have added plenty of nylon webbing and also drinking tube clips (one on each side). Unfortunately I managed to break the drinking tube clips on my Sparrow v1 but these are replaceable if needed.

Sparrow v2 includes a removable waist belt. The waist support is made from 50mm nylon strap with a much larger and stronger plastic buckle to attach. The height/size of the bag (although only 30 lires), works well with a waist strap and the height sits perfectly on my hips to take a majority of the load. The belt can be removed if it is not needed, but I prefer to keep it attached and tend to use it even with a light load on longer hikes, it makes a huge difference to the balance of the pack and it prevents my shoulders from aching.

On the Inside

As I mentioned, I am a fan of Wisport’s pack designs, and even the Sparrow v1 (20L) I found to have a good layout of pockets and compartments. The Sparrow v2 has some improvements to the organisers and internal pockets, but keeps the clam-shell design which I really love. Thanks to the full length zipper, which reaches almost to the very bottom of backpack, the pack can be opened right up (like a suitcase) allowing me to access the contents of the pack without having to pull it all out. This design has its disadvantages (risk of water penetration through longer zip tracks), but the merits of keeping a well balanced/loaded pack on a long hike outweigh the disadvantages. Wisport have included Cordura storm flaps to cover all zips, including now the front pocket which previously had an exposed zip track.

The main compartment of the bag will hold a suprisingly large amount of gear. There is a full height mesh pocket on the inside of the flap which Wisport have now divided into two sections (each with an individual zip). This is much better for organising and accessing my gear. On the back of the main compartment is a pouch for a hydration bladder, and some handy attachment points for securing gear. The Sparrow v2 is fully compatible with Camel Bak hydration systems.

At the front of the pack there is a smaller second compartment. This is not obstructed by the main compartment (even when full), so the organizer can be used and accessed easily. There are two internal partitions (one at full height, and another pocket 2/3 height). The organiser includes a flat mesh pocket with zipper (approx 12 x 10cm), some small slip pockets (to hold pens, batteries, torch etc), some elastic webbing and two straps – one with carabiner (good for securing keys) and another with D-ring. Inside there is also a bit of free space, enough to stow a folded tarp or some clothing. In this compartment I store my leatherman, torch, power bank, a bit of food, and some firelighting supplies.

On the front of the Sparrow v2 there is a a deep, flat, pocket with a zipper. This was present on the v1 but now has the added protection of a double storm flap. This pocket is good for holding maps, a folded outer shell jacket and smaller items for quick access. The size of the pocket covers the entire front flap, but it can be a little tricky to get into the bottom with a fully loaded main compartment.

In my expereince with this bag, and comparing to the Sparrow v1, the changes to the compartments, zips and organisers definately make better use of the space. Another great bag from Wisport!

Sparrow 30 v2 – New Features

  • Covered zippers of the front compartment and front pocket – prevents water seeping through zip tracks.
  • Airmesh on the carry system (shoulders and back) resistant to sticking dirt, needles, grass, etc.
  • An extended organiser allowing better storage of smaller items for quick access.
  • Inner mesh pockets in main compartment are divided into two parts with separate zips
  • Inside the main compartment, there are frames for mounting additional equipment
  • Backpack’s top grab handle repositioned to the upper part of the bag
  • The zipper on the front chamber extended to the bottom allowing clam-shell opening
  • A room for fibreglass or aluminium frame (frame is not included)

ATACS-IX Camo

The Sparrow v2 is avaiable from Military 1st in 12 different colour/camo patterns. I selected the new ATACS-iX pattern. This was designed for transitional environments with a hybrid mixture of intermediate greens and desert tans, the new A-TACS iX (Intermediate Xtreme) is a combination of classic A-TACS FG and A-TACS AU camouflage patterns. A-TACS iX camo offers improved depth and definition with enhanced edge detail in the transitional areas between light and shadow for even better concealment properties. Perfect for fall or woodland type areas, the A-TACS iX camo seamlessly blends with existing equipment and offers an additional option for tactical concealment. Available at the UK based Military 1st online store is a wide range of combat clothing and tactical accessories in this characteristic pattern, including tactical vests, combat uniforms, and army headwear as well as webbing, packs and backpacks.

Out in the field, I found that the ATACS-iX camo blended really well, especially in the Pine / evergreen areas of the forest, better than the ATACS-FG in my opinion, which I think is better in deciduous woodland.

Out In The Field

I class the Wisport v2 as a 48 hour pack with enough space to hold gear for an overnight or two day drip. At 30 litres it’s not huge, but the abundance of well postioned compression straps and MOLLE webbing makes the Sparrow 30L a bit of a Tardis and almost as much can be carried on the outside as the on the inside. On a humid day hiking through an overgrown forest, comfort and durability are important, the Sparrow v2 has a very comfortable and well balanced load bearing system that I found to be very stable and spreading the load well across my back and hips (when using the wasit strap too).

The Cordura materials are very well stitched and hard wearing, tearing through brambles and thorns didnt cause any damage to the bag or the air mesh (which I orogianlly feared might get ripped). I found that the pack held most of the things I needed in the main compartments, apart from my walking poles which I strapped to the side using compression straps.

As wth the Sparrow v1 the clam-shell opening makes the world of difference when packing loads (correctly balanced), and accessing gear while out in the field. The new and improved design of the v2 (giving a full clam-shell opening in the 2nd compartment aswell as the main compartment) makes it so easy to just drop the pack and quickly grab any gear without compketely disrupting everything in the pack… great for hiking when conditions quickly change.

Verdict:

A lot of miles have been walked with the Sparrow v2 and I am very happy with the design, materials and layout of the pack. It holds everything I need and I dont often need to strap very much on the outside, but its good to know the Sparrow could handle it if I needed it to. This bag is avaible for £89.95 which I think is a great price for a well designed Cordura pack which will literally last years and years.

It’s hard to find very much on the Sparrow v2 that needs any improvement, the changes that were made in this version were taken from user feedback and are are all postiives making the Sparrow v2 yet more practical and convenient to use.

Negatives:

One thing that bugged my slightly (but not a deal breaker) is that the compression straps are quite long and the spare strap hangs down in quite a few places – If Wisport added some vecro strap-tidies this would help keep the straps from getting tangled. But like I say, not a deal breaker by any means as the use of longer compression straps for stowing gear is far more important to the use of this pack.

Specifications:

  • Capacity: 30 litres
  • Loop panel on the front
  • Two independent compartments
  • Main compartment with two-way clamshell zip opening, two internal zipped mesh pockets, hydration sleeve and four attachments points for optional straps
  • Front admin compartment with two-way clamshell zip opening, multiple sleeve pockets and elastic loops, zipped mesh pocket, D-Ring and carabiner
  • Front zipped pocket with zipper track cover
  • Passage to the main compartment for a hydration tube
  • Fully CAMEL BAK compatible
  • SAS PLUS AIR NET semi adjustable military system
  • Quick detach carrying system
  • Redesigned dirt resistant padding on back and shoulder straps
  • Adjustable shoulder straps with loops, elastic bands and hydration hose mounting brackets
  • Chest strap with quick release buckle
  • Strengthened back section with Velcro secured internal slot for optional aluminum frame
  • Wide and removable hip belt with oversized quick release buckle
  • Multiple MOLLE compatible attachments points
  • Side, front and bottom compression straps
  • Durable Wisport zippers with protective cover flaps
  • Durable quick release buckles
  • Comfortable Nylon carrying handle on top
  • Paracord zipper pulls
  • Material: 500d Cordura Nylon
  • Dimensions: approx. 18.9″x13.8″x8.7″ (48x35x22cm)
  • Weight: 1390g
  • Manufacturer: Wisport
  • Made in Poland
  • Five years Manufacturer’s warranty
  • Price – £89.95

A Big Thanks to:

A big thanks to the guys at Military 1st for the opportunity to try out the Wisport Sparrow 30 V2 pack!