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Best backpack for overnight Cascade highpoints


Original Post
MN B · · Tacoma WA · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0

I'm looking to be more efficient with my mountaineering pack and upgrade from my 65l Gregory pack.

I was looking at something like the Osprey Mutant 52 or the Black Diamond Speed 50.

Any other suggestions for a good Rainier/Baker/Shuksan overnight kind of bag. I prefer one with easy ice tool attachments.

ClimbingOn · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 405

Pack advice online is all but useless. Packs are like shoes, some brands/models fit some individuals great, and others not not at all. You know how folks tend to have either a 5.10 foot or a Sportiva foot? The same goes for packs.

I fit Gregory packs great, and Osprey packs not at all. Go to a big store like REI that has a large selection. Get measured for the correct frame size. Then put weight in the packs (a good store will have sand bags) and backpack around the store. See what works.

For an overnight trip, a 40l pack will work. For up to 3-4 days with climbing gear, 55l should be fine. Look at the weight of the packs. The Gregory Baltoro packs are great but they weigh more than can be rationalized. 

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

Any of those popular packs will be fine if they fit you well. Did you already look ​here?​​​

If you want an excellent pack made in the USA: Cold Cold World, Alpine Luddites, Cilo Gear. The latter is local to you.

I need a 50L for overnights in cold weather personally. To each their own. Also every manufacturer seems to measure differently which can be frustrating. 

Alex Fletcher · · Anaheim, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 249

I did the north ridge of Mt Baker with a bivy with this pack.
I did a 4 (or 5...?) night trip on baker with AAI with this pack
I did a 6 day trip to the pickets to climb East Ridge of Inspiration Peak and the West Ridge of West McMullin with this pack for the hike and the first one inside for a summit pack.

Just get you a ultralight 30
a slim and good for climbing 45
and a heavy load hualing 65+
and you can do anything in washington.

Aaron Nash · · North Bend, WA · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 212

Cold Cold World Chernobyl is what you want for all of those objectives. If you want something a little smaller, the CCW Valdez is the ticket. I have both and use the valdez more in the summer and the chernobyl more in the winter. If deciding between the two, get the chernobyl and compress it when you need to. They both climb technical routes very very well.

If you go with CCW, call them to place your order. Give them you're back measurement and you'll get a bag sized to you. They'll do some light custom work too, either for free or a very small fee depending on what you want. For example I didn't want a ski carry or daisy chains on my valdez. No probs.  

Best value in packs that fit out there imo.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662

Arcteryx Alpha FL45 is great.  I also like the Patagonia Ascentionist 40.  The Patagonia pack seems like the most cost-effective alpine climbing pack to me.

AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

Mutant 52, you can always strip it down should you need to save a little weight; you can't add capacity.  I guess it all depends on how much gear you'll be humping around - sleeping bag, belay jacket, food, stove, tent, etc.  Be honest with yourself.  "Fast & Light" isn't for everyone in every scenario, but being conscious about what you pack & how much it weighs will get you pretty far.  ClimbingOn nailed it - Packs are like boots, everyone likes a pack for different reasons & not all are made the same.

Landon Lim · · Damascus, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 31

I've had the Patagonia Ascentionist 40 for a little over a year now.  It did not hold up for me.  The ice tool attachment points both broke along with the main closing strap.  I wasn't crazy rough on the pack either.   I got it fixed but now the ice tools fall out when there's lots of shaking.  Go for a Cilogear or something along those lines.  The Patagucci 40 is light but will absolutely not hold up.

Chris R · · Portland, OR · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 20

Check out the Mountain Equipment Tupilak packs. I just got a Tupilak 37 and really like it. The 45 might be what you’re looking for. Comparable to the FL45 (but more accurately 45L). I like the tool attachments, the simple pocket accessible from inside or outside the pack and the roll top + top flap. Materials and construction are solid. 

jaredj · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 165

Are you talking about Liberty Ridge, Baker's North Ridge, North Face of Shuksan (e.g. carry-overs with some technical 2-tool climbing)?   If so, then yeah a purpose-built alpine pack makes sense.  

 If you're talking about the Emmons Route on Rainier, Coleman-Easton on Baker, or Sulphide / Fisher Chimneys on Shuksan, then any old backpacking pack is fine.

My "old man yells at cloud" thing on all of this is that many people buy these kinds of packs and accept the tradeoffs even though they don't need the "on-route" performance characteristics. .   You're not doing a bunch of "swinging tools over your head on summit day" type stuff on the second set of routes I listed.   If you want to cut weight that's fine, but just recognize that you're giving up comfort on the approach.  Is that the right tradeoff for you?  Only you can answer.   The answer depends on your athleticism, your willingness / ability to carry more of the load on the approach on your shoulders rather than your hips, etc.  

You need to be rolling modern on the rest of your kit for this size pack to be workable.  30 degree lightweight down bag, light puffy, canister stove, single-wall mountaineering tent, etc if you want to fit everything.   The other old man wisdom of "take all your shit to REI and see if you can actually stuff it into a smaller pack" sounds lame in the modern era of internet shopping but there's wisdom to it as well.

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

I've had A LOT of packs over the past few years.  A couple years ago it became a small obsession to me...haha

My top 1-3 day cascade pack is the Arc'teryx FL45.  It is extremely light and the 45L goes a much longer way than you'd think.  It is really light on features, but I think it is worth the weight savings.  Say, compared to the HMG Ice Pack 3400, I believe the FL45 is a much more effective use of weight and overall much easier to use. I put a lot of milage on the Mammut Trion Pro 50 as well, but I think it is just too heavy.  You can stretch all of these packs to make them work for longer climbs as well, but they get less practical.

When going to the longer more expeditionary style climbs, my favorite pack has been the Mountain Hardwear South Col 70L.  It is very feature rich, waterproof, has plenty of space for blue bags- all for a reasonably light package.  I've had the HMG Ice Pack 4400, which is about 1lb lighter, but really sacrifices on features that I miss on these longer style climbs. (Notably, I need a place to keep my blue backs outside of the main compartment of my pack.)  The Gregory Denali 75 has been a favorite to many (which I also have) but is just way too heavy.

I've also made a handful of smaller packs work, for example the FL30 and the Mammut Trion Light 38 for overnight climbs.  However, the weight savings is too insignificant to justify.

Ryan Hill · · Oakland, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 30
MN B wrote: I'm looking to be more efficient with my mountaineering pack and upgrade from my 65l Gregory pack.

I was looking at something like the Osprey Mutant 52 or the Black Diamond Speed 50.

Any other suggestions for a good Rainier/Baker/Shuksan overnight kind of bag. I prefer one with easy ice tool attachments.

Seems like a downgrade in packs, or at least a down-sizing.

I personally disliked the BD Speed 50.  Suspension was poor, it was uncomfortable to wear, and for as bulky as it was it packed poorly and had very few features.  My experience with Osprey is that they make comfortable packs, but can go overkill on the features and are tough to pack/strip down.  I haven't tried the Mutant specifically.  

CiloGear 30:30 has been my go to since August 2017.  I've used it for everything, including 8 day backpacking trips, multi-day ski tours, overnight Sierra climbs, and in-a-day trail runs/peak bagging.  Light weight and versatile, but requires more attention when packing to get it comfortable and filled out.  FWIW, easy tool attachments.  

Highly recommend.  
Red Label · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 22 days ago · Points: 0

I really dig my Mutant 38 so far. I plan to pull the trigger on the Mutant 52 soon (maybe even today).

Being an Arc'teryx fan boy (I've got Alpha FL/SV jackets, theta SV/beta SL  pants, Alpha FL gloves, down mitts, etc) I want to try the Alpha FL 45. But until I find the right deal on it, I'm content to wait.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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