Some items just don’t belong inside a packbag, which is why the Black Ice has 24 external attachment points. “It was a cinch to lash the gear we needed instant access to on the outside,” says tester who strapped on a machete, tripod, and water bottles.
“We paddled the Amazon in relentless rain, and the Black Ice sat in a puddle at the bottom of the boat, but the roll-top pack’s contents stayed bone dry,” says our tester. It didn’t leak even when it fell off the boat during a seven-day jungle trip. He loved the equally waterproof front pocket for easy map access.
“The packbag shrugged off rocks, mud, thorns, and sharp cutting tools,” says our tester. The burly, 420-denier ripstop nylon is reinforced with a TPU laminate, and the male end of the hipbelt buckle is metal.
Lightweight padding on the shoulder straps, a dense and stiff cross-linked polyethylene foam board, and a simple webbing hipbelt kept loads up to 25 pounds manageable.