Gear Review: Black Diamond Octane/Spark Backpack

With a snug fit and excellent compression system, this daypack handles up to 20 pounds and stuck like glue canyoning in southern Utah.


This daypack handles up to 20 pounds on a hardware-laden dayhike or summit attempt. But it also has a killer four-strap compression system that lets you shrink it for shorter jaunts. The frame is a standard plastic sheet surrounded by an aluminum skeleton that connects via a ball and socket to the hipbelt. This creates a fulcrum in the lumbar area that rotates in all directions, creating a very dynamic suspension that stuck like glue when I was stemming through slot canyons in southern Utah. Pros: snug fit, excellent load support. Cons: heavy for its size; Allen key required to adjust torso length.

Best For

Anyone looking for a versatile daypack with excellent weight transfer and a suspension that adjusts to fit a wide variety of torsos

Tester Data

> Kristin Hostetter

> Other Tester Shannon Davis

> Duration May to Nov.

> Locales/conditions Canyoneering, glacier hiking, peakbagging; UT, MA, the Alps, Longs Peak

> “Once you dial in the torso size, there’s some hip swivel that actually makes loads feel lighter.”

> $140

> 3 lbs. (w’s)

> 28 to 30 liters

> 2 men’s and 2 women’s sizes