The Medusa 32 is a lightweight pack made from tough fabrics. The design is on the minimalist side – a modern take on the traditional alpine pack – so it’s best suited to those who don’t want lots of features. The ones there are work well and the pack is impressive for the attention to detail. The top pocket has an outward-facing zip, making it easy for a companion to open it. The zip is also long and curved so the whole of the pocket can be easily accessed. There’s a firm lip inside the pocket to stop small items falling out. The harness and back are covered with a soft fabric that doesn’t abrade clothing. There are air channels in the padded back but I still found my back quite sweaty after a climb. The back itself is an asymmetric hourglass shape. It’s quite soft and can buckle at the narrowest point if the pack isn’t loaded carefully. A stiffer back would prevent this. Once packed properly the Medusa is comfortable to carry. There’s only one back length. It fits me okay but would be too long for someone with a much shorter back.
The capacity is given as 32 litres but the Medusa easily held as much as the 35 litre packs tested. I can fit a winter load with crampons inside. The lid has stretch side panels and so will fit over an overstuffed pack. However the lower buckle attachment is quite high on the pack body so the lid can’t be cinched down tight when the pack is only partly full. The side pockets will just hold a 700ml bottle but are too tight for it to be replaced while wearing the pack. The dual ice axe/trekking pole loops can be hidden away when not in use and are easy to use.