This is an exceptional backpack – a tall, thin, Alpine-style pack as you’d expect from a company best known for its climbing accessories. It’s the fit, however, that really sold it to me. This is mainly because it has the best hipbelt here – it sits perfectly on my hips and takes most of the weight, while allowing the pack to move freely with my body. Plus there’s very little resistance when walking or lifting your arms. If I were scrambling or climbing, this is the pack I’d want. In fact, it is the one I’d buy regardless of my chosen activity. The main opening is a huge zip (similar to the Lowe Alpine pack reviewed here), so you can get to the stuff at the bottom. The back is a mesh-covered foam grid that allows some ventilation and which is reinforced inside with an aluminium frame so it doesn’t bubble out. I like the fleece-lined zip pocket at the top (there’s also another zipped pocket at the front), and the hydration pack sleeve is accessed externally. Minor niggles: the hipbelt pocket isn’t big enough for my phone when strapped on, I couldn’t get the chest strap as tight as I’d like because of a piece of elastic (that I’m going to remove) and the front pocket is too tight for anything other than a map. It just pips the Lowe Alpine for the Best Buy for the back and the hipbelt fitting.
First published: Aug 2014