I have owned this Quechua NH500 30L Backpack for 1-2 years and I'm ready to share my opinion on this budget-friendly backpack from decathlon.
The Best Budget Backpack From Decathlon?
I've used this backpack on various camping trips, local hiking adventures, air travel, hitchhiking and multi-day backpacking trips.
I will also be comparing this Quechua backpack to another backpack I bought from Amazon, available at a similar price and features.
30L Capacity Backpacking Gear List
Let’s start off with the numbers.
Specifications (Quechua NH500)
Weight vs Materials vs Durability
A major plus side to the backpack is it comes with a 10-year warranty, I like how that provides you with a decent piece of mind that the materials are fairly long-lasting.
The material seems to be some kind of ripstop nylon which is very heavy duty and pretty strong.
Decathlon doesn't list the exact materials that they use for this pack, but in my opinion, the pack is fairly durable.
After 2 years of ownership, and walking hundreds of kilometres, I've only got one tear on the bottom of the pack, which is to be expected given that it was caught on a sharp thorn.
Most backpacks materials would have gotten damaged in a similar way.
I personally removed the branding and logos to help distinguish my backpack from other Quechua packs either at the train station or the airport.
There are straps and loops to attach your hiking trekking poles which is nice, and you have to water bottle pouches on either side, only one of them has a buckle strap, that you can undo. The other one is a fixed strap that you cannot unbuckle.
This model is classed as the NH, which stands for Nature Hiking, Decathlon has other models, such as Snow Hiking and Mountain Hiking, design for different types of situations.
I love the weight of this backpack, at only 950g, this is classified as an Ultralight backpack which helps bring the weight down of your overall gear loadout
Size and Capacity
When it comes to its size for standard air travel or if you're travelling by train, the size of the pack is perfect.
It fits into the luggage compartment on an aeroplane and easily fits on the overhead storage compartment on trains.
The pack’s exact dimensions fit most airline requirements for carry on size.
If you're travelling for or a week or a couple of weeks, the 30l capacity personally fits everything I need. Although that definitely depends on what you pack for a given week of travelling.
If you're looking for something in a larger capacity, decathlon also offers a 50L pack by Forclaz from the Trek series.
Alternatively, if you're looking for something smaller they also do 10-20L backpacks from Quechua, which they have hundreds of different sizes to choose from and hundreds of stores worldwide.
The maximum weight that I would recommend for this pack is 10kg, anything over starts to put too much strain on the shoulder straps.
When it comes to storage management this backpack does offer plenty of compartments.
The main compartment offers around 25L of space, and below that is a second compartment which you can unzip and store an extra 5L to 10L of space.
Both the bottom and the main compartment share the occupy the space, so if you fill the bottom compartment it will interfere with the main compartment, and vice versa.
You have two front compartments one opening from the top when placed on the ground and the other compartment in front of the front compartment opening from the side.
The front compartments of the pack can hold additional space for documents, spare batteries or narrow and long items.
This furthest front compartment is only accessible via a side zip that doesn't face upwards. I would have preferred having the zip facing the top on the front of the pack, rather than opening the compartment from the side. This might be up to personal preference.
In case you're wondering, the dimensions of this backpack fits a 15.6-inch laptop, and it even has a separate sleeve compartment for storage management.
Comfort Needs Improvement
If you're using the backpack for multiple nights of backpacking it will get the job done for the money.
However the two shoulder straps on this pack don't have a lot of padding on them so if you load the backpack with heavy loads over 10 kg, the backpack will start to become very uncomfortable.
Another strange quirk is the handle strap is built into the shoulder straps so when you wear this backpack for around 1 or 2 hours you'll start to feel the handle of this pack will dig into the back of your neck.
The waste trap doesn't provide any decent weight distribution it's only used if you were running with the backpack to keep it attached to your body more securely.
But honestly, I find the strap is too narrow, and it's not wide enough to distribute weight evenly on to your waist and hips. You could remove it if you want to save on some weight because you don't really need it.
The sternum strap does the job, and the padding on the back of this pack is fairly well ventilated, decently padded and isn't uncomfortable in my opinion.
Requires Design Improvements
I'm not a fan of the colour scheme. I do like the black fabric on the outside of the backpack, but when you open the backpack you're presented with all this brown fabric lining. I'm not sure why but personally it doesn't look very pleasing to me design-wise.
I feel that grey, white, red or even a light black colour would have suited the design better for this backpack. That being said I have seen far worse than this and it isn't awful I just find it very un-creative and not a pleasant minimalist colour.
I also do miss not having any bungee cords to attach items of clothing or anything that doesn't fit inside the pack.
If you find yourself on a budget then I can highly recommend this 30L pack.
I have noticed that other companies providing backpacks in a very similar price range over on Amazon, for example, the 40L pack from MountainTop, most of the design improvements I have mentioned have been addressed by other companies.
They offer similar backpacks at a very similar price and they offer a wider range of colours.
What I have noticed is that most products on Amazon don't have decent long term warranties and that is one of the plus sides of Decathlon.
Almost all of their products come with long-term warranties and if you have an issue you can always visit one of their local stores which you probably live nearby.
The price of this Quechua backpack is dropping each year since its release.
When I bought the backpack it cost around €35 since then I think it's dropped to €29, and as they release a newer version to innovate on the past design of the NH500. This price will drop even further especially if you're looking under the second-hand market.
You could spend the extra $50 on another backpack that might be 200 grams lighter and might have a few more features for storage but overall I think if you want something that gets the job done, this Quechua is surprisingly not bad for the money and has held up quite well over the years.
The biggest improvement would be on the shoulders straps as they are not that well-padded and the handle of the backpack is built into the shoulder strap, over time I noticed how the handle digs into the back of your neck while hiking if you are wearing the backpack for a short time for example during air travel its fine, but if you hiking many days with this pack you notice this design flaw.
Personally, I don't use this backpack very often anymore because I have purchased a backpack from MountainTop the 40L pack (full review over on YouTube). I prefer the colour of the MountainTop pack, and it comes with more features and possibly better materials.
I have kept the Quechua NH500 30L backpack as a spare backpack for when friends need to borrow a backpack for a week of hiking or less.
I would definitely have a look at the other options that decathlon offer if you are looking for something specific. If you just want a simple basic budget-friendly backpack with a warranty I would recommend this pack. If you want more colour options different features have a look at the ones from Amazon or Alibaba.
I have reviewed many other products over on The One Good Road, so definitely have a look at my other reviews and for any further questions send me an email or leave a comment and I can try to give some assistance.