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Opinions on MEC Alpinelite 85? Similar alternatives?
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Oct 7, 2012
Hi Friends,

I'm considering a MEC Alpinelite 85 purchase. I know the Alpinelite 30 is well regarded as a great value. I could use a larger pack that would be a general use pack - cragging, camping, winter multidays, etc. The MEC Alpinelite 85 seems like it could cover these bases well enough for only $110. I went camping the other weekend with camping gear, double rack, two ropes, food, 4L water, and beer, and really was wishing I had a larger, comfortable pack for it all. I'd want to be able to carry 50lbs comfortably. Here's how I currently see it:
Pros: inexpensive, lightweight, simple design, longitudinal access zipper
Cons: not super durable, suspension not great (?), minimalist design

I'd be very interested to hear the opinions of others who have used this pack or similar packs. For a fit reference, I'm a tall thin 6'3" and 175lbs. Maybe I should just get an Arc'teryx Bora 85 for camping/hiking and an MEC Alpinelite 60 for minimalist alpine style stuff?

From New England/ Baltimore
Joined Aug 22, 2011
4 points
Oct 7, 2012
Buy the Alpinelite, but make sure to get the tall size. I have had this pack (or a previous 90L version?) for a couple of years and love it, using it in the summer and winter. It is plenty durable and very functional. Its suspension is more than adequate for carrying 50 lbs comfortably for long distances. If you get into the 65-70 pound range the shoulder straps tend to dig into my shoulders a bit, because you have to extend the collar of the pack making it taller, but the waist belt is fine. It does work for heavier loads, though, and skis strap on to it very easily. The yellow powder collar extends high enough that you can use the pack as a bivy sack (it reaches my chest). I see no reason to get any other pack for the purposes you mentioned. The pack is well-made, it's ueber light, and the price is right. It compares very favorably in many respects to CiloGear packs which cost oh so much more. Buy the pack! Vaughn Fetzer
From Fairbanks, AK
Joined Apr 26, 2011
25 points
Oct 7, 2012
I like my alpenlite 30 lots but it starts to suck with a rope and rack and water and food. I wouldn't want to use a scaled up version for heavy loads and long distance. It's the old trade off of weight vs comfort. I am a big fan of Osprey for carrying really heavy loads comfortably. DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Joined Aug 27, 2010
113 points

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