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monoloco

55L pack reviews?

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I posted this in noob forum and someone (thanks) suggested putting it here. I know "which is the best yada yada" threads are stale. But if you recognize any of the items below and have either horrible or wonderful things to say about them, I'd be interested!

 

Shopping and so far considering:

 

CCW Chaos

Wild Things Andinista

Khazri 55

BD Quantum 55

MH South Col

 

Criteria are ability to carry spring/fall multiday gear (including rope etc), relatively light weight, comfort with harness on and ability to compact/strip for summit climbs. In other words a good alpine multi-day pack.

 

Can't fondle any of them locally. Have experience with CCW (all positive) and would consider using my Chernobyl, but worried that extra layers will stuff it beyond it's limits (comes in around 3000ci). I'm guessing I need 3500-4000ci.

 

Comments welcome... pleeeeze?

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It seems to me that it is difficult to find one pack that does everything well for every type of climbing...hence most of us have several in the quiver. For what you describe, I would think the Andinista, BD, or Chaos would suit your needs. I'm a big fan of Wild Things and BD, but there are many other brands out there that make good climbing packs. Another poster mentioned the Osprey Aether 60 (which I also have and like for weekend moderate alpine climbs) If you do harder alpine climbs, it may not be "technical" enough for you...being more of a backpacking pack that works for moderate climbs that doesn't really strip down. Good luck with your choice.

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I debated quite a bit about a new pack after getting rid of a Cilogear one (good ridence). I eventually purchased a BD Quantum 65. I went with the larger pack because I do take some week-long trips and wanted a pack for 3-10 day trips.

 

I'm very satisfied with the pack. It carries well and strips down for a lighter summit version easily. It's simple, relatively light, and designed well. I looked at the 55L but needed something with a bit more capacity. If you're ok with the 55L then I'd give the BD a thumbs up.

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Looked at similar packs about a year ago and settled on the Khazri. Mine's a size L, so is actually closer to 60L. It's performed well though I haven't tested it much - did fine for a three day summer trip. As Jim says, this size class may be a bit tight for your stated 3-season use.

 

I like the streamlined design of the Khazri - i.e. minimal straps and frills. Not super light, but weight comes from the sturdy suspension and reasonably durable fabric. The clincher was that I got a screaming deal at MEC ~$125. Good luck.

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Jim - What did you dislike about the Cilogear? Doing some research for my brother's girlfriend for around this capacity because she's difficult to fit (long torso, very narrow shoulders and hips). The separate waist strap fitting of the Cilogear would make fitting easier... Anyone finding any of these brands to fit long and lean?

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I purchased one on-line before Feathered Friends carried them - which I'll never do again for any pack. The top, removable part of the pack didn't cover the pack well and I was constantly getting spindrift in pack. The strapping system, which is supposedly made to offer flexibility in customizing the pack's carrying comfort, was a big cluster. Heaven forbid if you had to make adjustments to it with gloves on or in the dark. Instead of simple ice axe loops it had this bulky buckle item with a snap on the bottom - you have to thread the axe from the bottom and snap the buckle closed - it was not a tight fit and the ax would jingle around in the holster. For some reason there was no attachment point for the shaft of ice ax to the body of the pack - WTF! When I mentioned this to the manufacturer he said he would send me some add-on straps that never arrived. Flimsy stitching that started to come apart after 5 trips. ProMountain Sports didn't want to carry them. FF does, but when I was in there looking at packs a sales person said the packs are improving but they consided them a work in progress. It actually carried well but that was the only good thing. I would seriously look elsewhere. Be prepared for the manufacturer to jump in and tell us how much they have improved.

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One thing to note - take a digital hanging scale with you regarding pack weight. I found both the manufacturers stats to be off (a little) and some stores (a lot) - Marmot's listed weight for the pack I purchased was actually 1.5 lbs heavier than what it actually weighed, by both my scale and their own(?)

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Before you discount Cilogear based on one review, which has some valid complaints and some, well, interesting ones, talk to women who have used them. Cilogear makes a custom women's hipbelt which works quite well.

 

I've destroyed a lot of packs, including BD, Cilogear, Wild Things, and Lowe Alpine. Sometimes you just need to know not to use a superlight pack for everyday beater use or be prepared to use a lot duct tape.

 

One of the best packs I own is the old BD zippo, which is a bit heavy, but is pretty much indestrucable. My current favorite pack is a dyneema Cilogear 30L, which has seen a lot of abuse in the past 1.5 years, is still kicking strong, and is really well designed.

 

Out of the packs you mentioned I would consider the CCW and that's it. Stay away from the BD Quantum, the amount of side zipper failures and spindrift collar problems people have had with those is staggering!

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55L is a lot of pack. I'd carry less.

You've also listed a couple of climbing packs with some that aren't.

 

I own and use packs from all the manufactures you've listed except a BD model which I sold. Big fan of CCW packs but you have to wait and my Acteryx 35...which you can buy anywhere and walk out with.

 

I have several custom CCWs that were well worth the wait and the best packs I have ever seen/used. The quality reminds me of the older Wild Things gear. Makes sense since the owner of CCW used to sew the Wild Things packs. If you like your CCW call Randy up and have him make you exactly what you want.

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I like the arc teryx. It's basically just another big, strippable and simple bag with a sleeve to hold a frame/folded pad. But it has these two horizontal dealies fixed about level with the side compression straps. Seemingly gimmicks, I thought about cutting 'em out. I stalled, and am glad. Cause they're pretty cool. When you've got the pack way stripped down and packed lightly, the stays hold the pack flat to your back when it's compressed- effectively countering the "Andinista-tube" effect.

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I am still in love with my osprey ceres 50 (is feels bigger than that). it is an alpine pack through and through and compresses down to sub daypack size. they are discontinued so you might be able to find one on ebay or on super clearence somewhere!

 

happy hunting!! ;)

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Of the many packs I have used Cold Cold World packs are my favorite. I have used a Chernobyl for overnights and volcano climbs by strapping the tent and sleeping matt to the sides, but for longer trips or winter trips it is sometimes just a bit too small, so I recently picked up the Chaos and I like it very much. I find that anything with an internal frame restricts my movements when climbing and isn't really any more comfortable to carry than a well packed frameless pack that is tailored right. Instead of a frame the Chaos has a really good sized sleeping pad folded in thirds, big enough to combine with a 1/2 or 3/4 pad for winter comfort.

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The BD Quantum 55 will wear out prematurely, but the upside is BD will replace it at no charge. I know from experience . . .Great pack other than durability (mainly bottom, and lining behind hip belt).

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Glad for all the comments, which of course i realize are subjective evaluations. But that's what I want to hear ;-)

 

I owned a 1st gen Cilo. Great design, but it just didn't work for ME (note emphasis on "me"). YMMV

 

CCW's are hard not to like. Bomber, well thought out, and no BS features. My fear was that the Chaos might exceed the limits of the "class" and get too floppy/painful to carry.

 

I'm and alpine noob and am shopping for relatively non-technical use. Ice axe, rope, minimal rack. I won't be sending WI8 any time soon.

 

Carry less - understood. I'll also need to learn what I can do w/out, through personal experience. Right now, I'll err on side of caution and carry an extra layer or two, etc.

 

As someone above suggests, I'm also intrigued by possibility of adding some side pockets to Chernobyl. In general I dislike strapped-on stuff, but with another 500ci or so, I could go with what i know. OTOH, I already own 3 other CCW's, so I might as well own them all :-o

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...one last comment and a question:

 

At risk of getting mail-bombed by either mfg, I'll mention that the framesheet from a Cilo (60L??) fit's the Chernobyl quite well. I've used it to give the Chernobyl a little more "support". Not sure if long term it would cause wear issues on foam pad pocket. I just slip it between the folded foam halves.

 

... which brings me to my question: I really like the full foam pad on the CCW packs. In comparison, I own a MH "trance", which is in fact a nice pack, but which has a "U" shaped rod suspension with a skimpy foam pad to match. Yes it's removable, but worthless as a bivy pad. WHICH of these other packs have "real" removable foam backpads?

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The packs I know of that have real removable foam pads are CCW, Cilo Gear and Wild Things. Golite pads are tiny. You can stuff a folded pad in the back of any basic top loading alpine pack, especially if you get rid of any internal frame junk that gets in the way.

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