Chris Townsend reviews an ultralight pack for lightweight loads with a very unusual design.
This review is part of our mid-size packs gear guide, and was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Great Outdoors.
The Trion Light is an unusual pack. It looks smaller than it is. This is because of the squat design. It’s not as tall as many packs but it is much deeper. I wondered if this would mean it pulled away from my body, but I found that as long as I didn’t pack heavy items far away from my back this wasn’t so. The wire frame gives the back top-to-bottom rigidity but allows it to twist from side to side, which is good for stability. The hipbelt is quite narrow and not very padded so although the frame transfers the weight to it quite well it starts to slip and distort with loads much above 7–8kg. There’s only one (non-adjustable) back length. This just fits me but would be too short for anyone with a longer back.
The pack is made from a light Cordura that feels quite durable. The design is again unusual. There are no side or front pockets at all. Instead there are two vertical compartments. The main one closes with a roll top. The outer one has a drawcord closure. A detachable lid with a roomy pocket covers both of them. Mammut say the front compartment is so that safety equipment is always available on a ski tour. The pack has stiff ski slots on the sidestoo.Taking the hint, I took the pack ski touring in the Cairngorms, carrying snow shovel, climbing skins, ski waxes, goggles, spare hats and gloves, and windshell in the front compartment. The pack proved stable and quite comfortable. Running out of snow on the way down I carried the skis too; that’s when I found the limits of the hipbelt.
As a winter daypack the Trion Light 50 is fine and it is very lightweight. It would be okay for short backpacking trips with light loads too. As with other ultralight packs a more substantial hipbelt would greatly increase the load it could carry comfortably.