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Best Stowable Summit Pack for Backpack Approaches

Original Post
Kevin Townsley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

Hey All, 

I do a lot of climbing with backpacking approaches, where you camp at the base and climb usually the following day. I have a crushable Quechua pack that I have used for years but it is very worn out and honestly not the best solution (awkward when climbing, not as big as I'd like). Looking around there are plenty of "multipitch packs" that are awesome... if you didn't have to carry the framed pack outside your big backpacking pack. 

The issue is size- the REI flash is a great contender but it's not big enough for boots, puffy, etc. This is the main issue- as I look at bigger packs, they add a rigid frame that makes it non crushable.

Anyone experience this problem or have any suggestions?


Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25

Cold Cold World is the route I'm going for just this kind of pack.

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 218

You could remove the rigid plastic from summit pack and slide into back / frame portion of backpacking pack. 

dave custer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,070

Use this for the backpack and the climb...

Kevin Townsley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0


That's a novel solution! I looked for packs with removable frames for that very reason, thinking I could remove it, crush the pack, and keep the frame inside the bigger pack close to my back. Unfortunately, these days there are few rigid daypacks with the frames not sewn in- at least not that I could find.

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 218

The Black Diamond Speed series has removable back panel, I have the 30L version but they also make a smaller (20L?) version. 

I also have a BD Bullet pack that is great for climbing. It also has a removable foam back portion, that sucker rolls up small. It doesn't have any ice axe loops though :( 

Edit: 22L*

brianszero · · southampton, new jersey · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 5

I have a BD speed zip 24 that works great. Roll it up, stuff it, strap it to you back pack, whatever.. carries pretty well for what it is.

Aaron T · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5
Colin Dev · · Denver · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I am a huge fan of the REI Flash 18

Crunches down small in the backpack for the approach. 18L is enough for 2L of water and a few layers. I took some shock cord and wove it on the outside straps so I can quickly stash a layer on the outside if I need.

Steven Kovalenko · · Calgary · Joined May 2014 · Points: 25

North Face Verto 26 ticks a lot of these boxes if they're still making it.  It's light, has some ice axe holders, stuffs into itself.  It's also designed to function as a stuff sack, so you can stuff your sleeping bag in it.  I find it doesn't really work as a compression bag unless you have a bulky enough sleeping bag.  It does not compress that much, but it might work better for you or your gear!

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20

I like to bring a single pack that is fairly light and compressible.  I use a Mammut Ice 45, because that's what was on sale in 2009, but there are plenty of similar packs, and some are probably lighter.

David S · · Lewiston, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I use the First Ascent Bacon pack. I believe it's 30 liers and packs down inside a compartment in the brain. It's very light and after 3 years, still looks like new. I won it and have been totally please with it. 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

What sort of pack are you using for the hike in? Most people (myself included) tend to go for a pack that can work well for both the hike in and the climb, allowing for a bit of weight savings. 

The HMG pack above it really great for that, it was my go-to pack for a long time. It is a bit of a pain to open and close while climbing though. 

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 7,569

Petzl Bug

Mike wand · · San Marcos · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 25

I use the REI Flash 18. It works well as a stuff sack in my big backpack to hold my alpine rack, harness and climbing shoes in it. I then set up camp and use the Flash on the climb. This does not work when going car to car. For that I use a 30 liter pack. 

Andy Summers · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 50

Could be a little too big depending on how much larger than an REI Flash you're looking for, but the waist straps and "T-Frame" are removable, and without those installed, it's quite light at 590g. I'm not sure I would say it's "crushable" though--there's what feels like 1/8" or 1/4" foam in the back even if you remove the metal frame piece, but compresses down fairly flat, and you could probably flatten it an push it against the back of your other pack. (It's also kinda pricey if you can't find a killer deal like I did.) 

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington VT · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 165

Black diamond speed 22 is awesome. Just over a pound and and very compressible (has a removable foam back panel) but a beast for climbing and summits. Its got a rope strap, ice axe loops, removable lid, hydration port, compression straps etc. Compresses well but still enough for a full day of trad, ice or summits.

JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

How about Tufa? -- never tried one, but looks pretty good.  The maker posts on here and might even consider special requests/sizing:

Dylan Tran · · Austin, TX · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

I use a gregory alpinisto 50L (also has smaller sizes down to 20-30L i think), which lets you remove the brain, hip belt, and frame to convert into a summit pack. Pretty great pack, has loops for skis and ice axes/tools if you're doing that kinda thing. 

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 302

MH Scrambler
over a lb and a half, but 30L and a decent enough frame to handle more weight than a Flash. Older ones had removable framesheet , IIRC. Not sure on this new waterproof one. 

Racechinees . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Since you mentioned Quechua, quess you are European?

How about the Simond Cliff 20 II? Works well for me. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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