I’ve never had so many compliments on a bag before. In fact, I don’t ever think I’ve had anyone compliment a backpack I’m using. A stranger on the train in London even asked me about the Ascensionist. And, I’ll be honest, I gushed about it. I love this bag. It’s half the weight of the next lightest, narrow, comfortable, and I’ve used it more than any others, by far. The closure is so satisfying I found myself just opening and closing it for the sake of it. You pull on the cord, and it drags the lid down with it, and then simply hook it to the webbing. It acts like a compression strap in itself. I’ve never seen a pack like this before. So why isn’t it Best Buy? Well when we’re looking at day packs for long hauls with heavy loads across the moors, it’s probably not right – I’d pick out something a bit sturdier. The hipbelt doesn’t support the weight like the Black Diamond one, but these are different beasts really. The back is only foam without any frame or stiffness. This 25-litre pack is for quick ascents and summer day walks, when you need something light and quick to pull out on the go. I also often visit places with a big bag, and just want to fold a smaller one in as well. This is perfect for that – and for nipping to the shops. There’s also a 35-litre version (£130) with a small aluminium frame and more substantial hipbelt, and a 45-litre version (£140) with a bigger hipbelt still.
First published: Aug 2014