As you’d expect from a climbing brand, this is made from tough, durable materials. The textured fabric feels like it could be scraped over rocks without harm and the watertight zips are protected by thick vinyl fl aps. It should cope well with rough usage. The penalty is that it’s heavy – the equal heaviest of all the packs tested. The harness is substantial and the thick hipbelt very supportive – so it will handle heavier loads than most of those tested. The shoulder straps are linked across the bottom of the pack so when you lift one shoulder that strap lengthens while the other one shortens, an idea first introduced in Aarnpacks. Combined with the pivoting hipbelt this makes for a stable pack that moves with you when scrambling or climbing. The Mercury has big, roomy pockets and panel access to the main compartment. It would be good for tough trips on diffi cult terrain with heavy loads. I don’t think the weight and robustness is needed for most backpacking, though.
CAPACITY: 55-57 litres depending on size RECOMMENDED MAX.LOAD: ideal 20kg, max 23kg MATERIALS: 400d polyester twill/420D nylon twill CLOSURES: detachable lid with 2 buckles, front zipped panel COMPARTMENTS: 1 BACK: adjustable, internal frame, foam panel SIZES: men: M,L; women (Onyx 55) S, M HIPBELT: padded, stiff ened, pivoting POCKETS: 1 external lid, 1 internal lid, 1 front, 2 internal, hydration sleeve, 2 hipbelt FEATURES: side compression straps, lower straps, ice axe/trekking pole loop STATED WEIGHT: 2100g (M) TGO WEIGHT: 2220g (M) VOLUME-TO-WEIGHT RATIO: 13/500 PRICE: Ј159 WEBSITE: www.blackdiamondequipment.com