I love this pack, I use it for just about everything because it’s a genuinely good pack for all mountain activities, at least the ones I take part in anyway!
I use it for multipitch climbing, ski touring, alpine and scrambling. It’s large enough for day ski tours and multipitch climbing. With some careful packing I think it’ll be fine for hut to hut tours too. It has a good narrow shape allowing your arms to move back without it getting in the way. The shoulder straps sit easily on the shoulders and don’t restrict reaching. Although the lid isn’t removable the straps at the back of the lid extend so if you’ve got lots of bits in the lid pockets it will sit on the front of the pack and won’t add to the height. Having said that the back frame does still get in the way when looking up when wearing a helmet so it’s not ideal for climbing when completely full, but then when would you ever climb with a completely full pack?
The Alpine Back System fits well and is comfortable all day long even when the pack is full and heavy - ideal for big mountain days where climbing gear and a rope is taken but not always used. The ski straps on the side are tough and the ice axe attachments are easy to use and very secure – I think they’re better than the typical axe loop as they hold axes much tighter so you’re less likely to catch them on objects around you.
The only points I would make about it are that it is missing a strap to secure a rope under the lid. This isn’t a big deal but I have found a rope can slip out if it’s not placed evenly across the top. It does lack internal compartments – there’s just one document pocket in the back -mostly this I don’t find this an issue, however when I pack it for ski touring I do sometimes wish there was a shovel and probe compartment as you do have to be careful that your shovel isn’t digging into your spine, though I’d rather this than it was a load heavier. Also, a true removable floating lid would bring it more in line with other light weight alpine packs, though personally this doesn’t bother me at all.
All this and it weighs in at just over a kilo – most packs as comfortable and well featured as this are considerably heavier. To be honest I’m not sure how Deuter have done this other than make sure it’s not adorned with pockets as the materials used are not super thin and lightweight. Apart from a bit of dirt mine is still as good as new after 2-3 years of use.
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Throughout the week the staff at Facewest are constantly coming across all the stuff that’s on our website. As a result we often discover handy little features or particularly innovative or well designed aspects on many of the products we stock. Each week throughout the winter season there’ll be a short blog post from one of the staff at Facewest on a product they happen to have come across which really stands out, for whatever reason, as a great bit of kit.