One notoriously sadistic tester carried this pack on summer snow climbs in Colorado’s Indian Peaks and Eagle Cap Wildernesses and on winter ice climbs in Rocky Mountain National Park. “Thousand-foot glissades and crampon-ice screw-ice axe overloads were no match for this pack,” he says. “The pack material is literally unscathed—wish I could say the same about the two pairs of pants and jacket I ruined on those same trips.” The secret is a packbag made from Dyneema, a polyethylene fiber that, pound for pound, is up to 15 times stronger than steel.
Features are utilitarian—two compression straps, ice-axe loops, and removable top lid. Small fabric pockets at the base of each side of the pack keep pickets, trekking poles, or tent poles secure. A minimalist molded-foam hipbelt provides just enough padding to mitigate hip stingers with loads under 40 pounds. Testers liked the pack best for light-load weekends and big-load cragging—it’s simply too small for much more.
Winter bonus: All compression and lid straps are easy to use with gloves. Alpine testers were able to loosen and lock straps by pulling nylon webbing tabs attached to the hardware (instead of fidgeting with Fastex buckles). $220; 2 lbs. 12 oz.; 45 liters