Finding a new pack is always a bit of a nightmare. Everyone has their own preferences – lots of pockets/no pockets, hardwearing or lightweight, streamlined or endless features? It’s a bit of a minefield, especially if you’re looking for a do-it-all pack to cover all your mountain adventures. That was exactly what I wanted – something that was perfect to use for Alpine climbing but would handle summer cragging, long multipitch days or ski touring just as well. Tough enough to stand up to some abuse, but without the weight of the really hardwearing packs. The Mammut Trion Light seemed like a pretty good bet and I’ve been using (and abusing) it for the past month. Admittedly it hasn’t seen any snowy couloirs or Alpine summits yet, but it’s proving itself to be an impressive all-rounder that I wouldn’t hesitate to take on a mammoth mission.
Whilst being a fairly lightweight pack, and the lighest of Mammut’s Trion range, the Trion Light still maintains a supportive back system and hip belt for lugging heavy loads around. The 40 litre version I’ve been using weighs in at 1040g all-in, but this can be stripped down to a tiny 740g with the easy removal of the lid, hip belt padding (a useful webbing strap remains) and back system – ideal for superlight trips or summit pushes.
The first thing that struck me about the Trion Light is just how easy to use it is. There’s no faffing with excess straps, fiddly drawcords or multiple buckles. The main compartment is sealed using a roll-top system, similar to a dry bag. At first I thought this would annoy me, but it is so easy to roll up and clip shut that it’s actually quicker and easier to use than a drawcord system, particularly a double drawcord as used on many Alpine packs. The stiffness of the roll-top makes loading awkward items such as a climbing rack simple. Of course, this also means a much more weather-proof seal than a drawcord, whether used with or without the lid.
Despite this, I think I’d regret ever taking the lid off as it’s just so well designed! Lids really are the decider for me on most packs as I’m a big fan of cramming them full of pretty much everything and avoiding opening the main compartment if at all possible. The upper lid pocket is huge and will easily swallow a day’s worth of useful junk whilst being easy to open without it all spilling out again. An inner lid pocket is often omitted from lighter packs so it’s inclusion on the Trion Light was very welcome, providing safer storage for smaller or valuable items that you can’t risk losing whilst rummaging in the top pocket, yet don’t want buried at the bottom of your sack. For those who don’t love lids as much as I do, it’s super simple to remove with just 3 clips – also a bonus when using it as carry-on on the plane! Be aware that although the lid is extendable, the roll-top closure won’t do up if it’s extended to these amounts.
Many Alpine packs seem to not compress down too well so I was impressed at the Trion Light’s ability to cinch down small. It isn’t unstable when mostly empty and the side compression straps bring the excess fabric in well. The only downside is the extremely long strap coming off the front buckle, which seems huge when the pack’s not full – this is due to the need for a longer strap when the pack is used without the lid. Also too long are the hip and shoulder strap adjustment straps which I have had to trim loads off, but this is more due to being a size 10 girl rather than a XXL bloke! It certainly adjusts down to suit my size just fine. I’ve also bent the back system slightly to suit the shape of my back – again, this is easy to do with a bit of force and it retains its new shape.
So far, the lighter weight fabric has worn very well, looking virtually unused after some serious abuse in nasty offwidths! For those who tend to break their gear easily, the Mammut Trion Alpinist has tougher fabric together with a few more features. The pack proved remarkably stable and unobtrusive to climb with, especially with the hip belt removed (although it does have gear loops for those who prefer). I initially found the back system somewhat restrictive to looking up with a helmet on, but this was easily fixed by bending the Butterfly frame system slightly away from my back to provide extra clearance.
The Trion Light is available in 28, 40 and 55 litre versions. I’ve been using the versatile 40 litre for rock climbing and cragging and intend to use it for mountaineering and ski touring as the winter progresses – stay tuned for a more winter focused review later in the year! The 28 litre version would be ideal for light Alpine missions where there’s no need for overnight kit or loads of extras, whilst the 55 litre would be an ideal expedition pack and will cinch down small enough to not require a second pack for the summit pushes.
A truly versatile pack that manages to strike the right balance between features, weight and usability. Little details such as the ski straps and tuck-away axe loops really make it stand out from the crowd and it’s a great investment for anyone wanting a do-it-all lightweight rucksack.