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Gear Photos

High Peaks Alpamayo 55 Backpack

The Alpamayo 55 is a solid performer at a competitive price.

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For $120 you get a simple, top loading pack ideally suited to light (30 pounds or less) weekend loads. I tested this pack on a winter climb of 14,225-foot Mount Quandary in CO, through Snoqualmie Pass in WA’s Cascades, and over and around Sugarloaf in VA.

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The backpanel is a shaped, plastic framesheet with twin, bendable aluminum stays. Support and padding proved adequate–just barely–when I hauled 45 pounds of ski/hut gear. Six padded sections along your spine channel air; they were moderately effective.

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Although the fixed suspension is designed for average torsos I was told the pack would fit my 21.5-inch torso because of 2 adjustable load-lifter attachment points. But as I added weight, the load-lifters were ineffective & the pack hung off my shoulders.

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Pocket-wise, there’s a standard detachable top lid, a large shove-it pocket on the front (able to handle my puffy jacket), and twin bellows side pockets, which are just right for keeping snacks, gloves, or a shell handy.

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The comfy hipbelt foam is firm & dense and it’s precurved for a solid, consistent connection with your hips. The padding is rather short & didn’t extend far enough forward on my 32-inch hips. There’s a single energy bar-sized, right-hand hipbelt pocket.

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The ski loops are rugged thanks to an impenetrable plastic casing. I always found a use for them–lashing snowshoes, or holding a tent roll in conjunction with the quick-release compression straps. The front bungee came in handy to stash my shell.

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THE SPECS
*$120
*3 lbs. 15 oz.
*55 liters/ 3,350 cubic inches
* one size, fits 17″ to 20″ torsos
*highpeakusa.org
Courtesy Photo

Photos and text by Joel Nyquist.