When you’re tiptoeing along a knife-edge ridge, balance matters above all. “The Trion Light provided rock-solid stability for dicey moves on sketchy ledges,” says a tester who toted the pack from New Hampshire’s Frankenstein Cliffs to the French Alps. “It hugs your back like a second skin, no matter what move you’re making.” The butterfly-shaped frame and light, dimpled-foam hipbelt handled over 20 pounds but, like most climbing packs, the Trion’s design emphasizes efficient gear storage, freedom of movement, and low weight over big-load comfort. “The ski and ice axe loops held my gear securely, but when I needed something, I could easily manipulate the straps with a single, gloved hand,” says our tester, who also used the reinforced daisy chains to lash on his crampon pouch.
Despite the bulk and heft of his load, the narrow packbag didn’t impede arm swing, and rode firmly on his hips without interfering with high steps or awkward reaches. In the end, five testers voted for this pack as the most alpine-worthy in the category—noting the clutter-free design, convenient hipbelt gear loops, and removable lid that allowed them to shave four ounces when they didn’t need the extra space. The extended 8-inch snow collar, with its secure roll-top closure, let them overstuff the bag. And, after nearly three weeks of hiking and climbing around Chamonix, our tester cast aside his fear that the lightweight nylon pack cloth would rip. It handled sharp rock with the abrasion resistance of a hard-shelled tortoise. Tradeoff: It’s pricey for the capacity. $230; 2 lbs. 6 oz.; 28 liters; 3 sizes; multiple volumes available; mammut.ch