Gear poll: Backpacks


Original Post
TBrumme Brumme · · denver, co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 230

Moving soon and I need to simplify my gear pile. 

Poll Question: If you could only have 2 backpacks, what would you choose? 
Primary activities: 

  1. to/from rock climbing
  2. to/from alpine climbing
  3. on route rock/alpine climbing
  4. backcountry skiing
  5. backpacking

My current quiver (open to selling/buying):

  • Cilogear WorkSack 30
  • Osprey Variant 52
  • Gregory Baltoro 75
  • Osprey Atmos 50

(probably selling the Baltoro and the Atmos if anyone is interested)

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 137

I would make getting an airbag pack for your backcountry skiing number one priority. Pair that with an Arcteryx FL 45 for everything else and you're psyched. If you like carrying lots of stuff get a Cilogear 45L Worksack instead (much bigger despite the names)

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

Why would getting an airbag pack be a number one priority for backcountry skiing? 

I'd say keep your cilogear 30 for alpine ascents/skiing. Maybe get a lightweight 45-50L pack with climbing specific features such as the BD Speed 50. 

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 137

Because there is a very small chance it could save his life in a disastrous situation. Worth having a quiver of one for climbing IMO.

cassondra long · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 305

I love my Osprey Variant 52. It is the only comfortable backpack I have ever owned.

Sean H · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 120

Firstly, if you enjoy all of those activities, 2 backpacks seems like an arbitrary limit, and quite limiting indeed.

Nonetheless, since backpacking and alpine climbing (I'm assuming this means possibly with a hike in and overnight on the menu), I'd go with the Black Diamond Mission 75 as a base. This can double just fine as a single day cragging pack as well, allowing you to pack comfort items, rack, rope, food, a tiny chair, etc. Carries quite well, and cinches down ok. Crampon pouch is a boon for me when you have them. When I don't (which is more often the case), it fits a 1.5L nalgene, or one of these chairs (https://www.rei.com/product/877258/rei-co-op-flexlite-chair) nicely.

As for an "on route" pack, I don't own one, but I've heard good things from multiple people about the Patagonia 16L Linked Pack.

Personally, I own the Ascensionist 35L, and an old Marmot Kompressor (https://www.backcountry.com/marmot-kompressor-backpack-920cu-in) for wearing on route. The Ascensionist is nice in that it has a minimal frame, but it can be removed to pack down small in your bigger pack (and it climbs better that way anyway.) I think I bought the Kompressor for like 35 bucks, it gets super small, and does the trick for most multipitch where I want to pack a small puffy, extra sunblock, maybe toss my shoes in there, etc.

IF I really were only allowed 2 packs, it'd be the Mission 75 and the Ascensionist, since it can cinch down pretty small for climbing smaller routes.

As for ski touring, I really think this breaks the 2 pack limit, as packs designed for it are much nicer. However, a 30-40L minimal pack would work too. I really wouldn't want to use the Ascensionist for touring though, as it's definitely built light, and it'd get destroyed fast.

I really think that for touring, light is right x200, and some of the more ultra-running/vest inspired packs are where it's at to earn your turns. The Camp Skin pack is pretty amazing for this, but it works best if all of your gear fits this mold.

Finally, I really think the notion that an airbag is some sort of requirement for ski touring is wrong. Can it save you? Of course. Though this probably works much better in Euro terrain or open bowl skiing where you aren't just going to turn into a human pinball anyway. I'm of the mind that you should really, really practice avoiding stuff that's going to slide, and not rely on airbag confidence for making your BC decisions. Obviously this is very debatable. I'm not going to argue it to the grave as honestly there's people that have a lot more experience there than me, but then - I see a lot of those people not using airbags. To each their own.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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