Tough, lightweight, internal frame, ski carry, etc
For the most part, I've been very happy with my OMM Jirishanca but for some things it just isn't big enough. Its a bit of a squeeze for a winter overnight camp and much too small for a multi-nighter. Its done the job nicely as a ski mountaineering daysack but if I'm having to take all the bells and whistles there's just no free space.
I was considering getting one of the new OMM Villains, but I've been having second thoughts. They're quite expensive, and I think I'd like the option of an internal frame for a larger bag which might be used to carry heavier loads from time to time. When I'm not carrying heavier loads, I don't want to be hauling around a big heavy rucksack, so I'd like it to be relatively light weight. Ski and iceaxe carry points are essential. Lastly, I don't want super-ultra-light but super-delicate fabrics, as I'd expect this bag to take some punishment from time to time.
Does anyone have any other suggestions or advice? It is safe for you to assume that I understand about checking fit
After much head scratching I finally ordered one of these yesterday...
Very Lightweight with some good features and reviews. I wanted it for multi-purposes...Climbing in summer and winter/backpacking/overnighters etc.
Seems to fit the bill.
Kelvin wrote (see)
Oops - see you mention it already BUT the hip belt is fair decent. It's removable for when you're actually climbing, so it's been designed as a load carrying hip belt and not a 'let's avoid the harness' one.
Ooh, that's interesting news. Of course, the Blue Ice is by far the least convenient one for me to go see in the flesh, but it certainly seems to be ticking all the boxes.
Crux AK47 is superbly comfy with weight in it. For me, at least.
Love my Jiri, but couldn't just get along with my Villain. Odd, innit.
These are being pretty well received, too.
I've used a few different climbing packs around that 40-50 litre capacity for both backpacking and ski touring. If the ski-touring is a significant usage then I'd ideally consider packs with a dedicated/external shovel and probe pocket - sure you can stash those things inside the main body of any pack of this capacity, but if you ever need to use them for real then you want them very quickly accessible. (And pockets like that can find uses for backpacking kit too.)
My current ski touring pack of choice is the Lowe Alpine Attack MX 42+10. I'm not sure if it's in the current range, but Lowe had certainly nailed a great set of well-thought-out winter features covering all the hardwear carry options, gloved usage, snow-shedding back panel etc. Even if that model's gone I expect a lot of those design elements live on. It'll carry a load well too, great low-profile hipbelt. Biggest downside is the slightly hefty weight, 1.7kg.
I've considered using my LA Zepton 50 for ski touring, but it lacks the shovel pocket and I reckon the mesh back panel could be a snow trap, but otherwise it'd work pretty well and it only weights about 1100g. I've carried over 15kg in it at times for backpacking.
Before that pair, I've used a POD Black Ice, and despite appearances the hipbelt and carry are very comfortable. On a 10 day backpack with all food at the start it lugged 23kg! I've also slung skis on it. giving a 20kg load, and walked several km. Tough as old boots too (it, not me ).
In contrast I tried one of the original Crux packs, a 45 litre one called the AK50 (which a year or so later Crux morphed pretty much unchanged into the AK47x). A great, simple pack in many ways but imo let down by the hipbelt - nice for a while with maybe 12kg in it but towards the end of a week my hips ached from trying to take the load on the belt and my shoulders had to do more of the work. I'm glad I never had to add my skis to the load!
Finally, on the trip I've just returned from, one very experienced guy was using an Osprey Variant 52, and was very happy with it. His only complaint was the zip on the inner lid pocket being in the wrong place so things could fall out when you opened it!
they are pretty old versions - between 15 and 20 yo - but i regularly use the Berghaus Extrem Guide (50+10) and a POD Cragsac (50ish...) for backpacking trips and find neither particularly uncomfortable despite them definately being climbing/ mountaineering sacs, rather than a walking sac.
the Berghaus is the more comfortable of the two on a four day trek, the POD the rougher, more expandable, possibly more durable - but both have had plenty of abuse, been full of crap and lobbed down rocks, used as seats, matts in bivvys etc... and show little wear, and certainly no damage.
i'm not saying that either of these sacs or their modern equivilents, fully loaded with water, food, fuel, bivvy kit, climbing kit etc are going to be as confortable as a modern, gucci walking sac - especially if you're only wearing a T-shirt - but they are perfectly able to do the job, have never left bruises marks on me or caused pain or discomfort, and you get used to them very quickly. they also, as you can see have provided enormous value for money - both have given 15-20 years climbing, mountaineering and treking service in very harsh conditions with no care given to them, been ludicrously over-loaded, as well as festooned with sharp, jagged and equally carelessly kept ice /snow tools that managed, somhow, to do them no damage.
The Variant is looking good... some happy owners, and the handy compression sheet/pocket thing on the back (I found the MSC on my Jirishanca super useful) and not too heavy if the framesheet is taken out. Also, my local shop appears to stock them, so it will be dead easy to go have a proper look.
The Alpine Attack MX has been discontinued, but the current gen Alpine Attack 45:55 looks to be its direct successor and is on the shortlist... I think there might be some places selling it in London so it shouldn't be too difficult to take a look at next time I'm in the neighbourhood. I'm still not entirely sold on the notion of skinny waist belt packs for climbers being comfortable in the longer term, and it isn't entirely convenient to borrow a bag, stuff it full and hike 60 miles to see how it feels.
Some unhelpful Americans in the spirit of 'look at all the cool stuff we have that you lot don't get' suggested the Cilo gear 45 or the Cold Cold World Chernobyl. In both cases, they're primarily climbers bags biased towards carrying weight on the shoulders. This is starting to feel a lot like a repeat of my previous softshell salopettes and hooded fleece searches
TP, no, mines a red job (they were also available in light grey and yellow if i recall correctly...) with a kind of 'spiders web' woven into the material, ski tabs, crampon elastics on the front, rope strap and a massive pocket on the lid that you could fill with rubbish even when the sac was bulging.
i think the frame is the same as yours though...
i used to move house with mine - certainly its had a Hi-Fi and 'Video' player in it (for the young people, 'video' is what we had before 'DVD's - and if you don't know what a 'DVD' is, just p1ss off and get a hair cut..)
chris grace wrote (see)
Check the sizes of any rucksack physically.There is a great variation in the size of a litre between manufacturers.I have a 38 litre osprey kestrel that holds more kit than my 51 litre Golite Jam,go figure.
Interestingly, I was doing a comparison of manufacturer listed external dimensions (where they bothered to list em, which doesn't happen often) and noticed that the 52l Osprey Variant (33" x 14" x 14") are significantly larger than the Arcteryx Axios 50 (25.75” x 11.5” x 10.5”). Course, that doesn't give a very good indication of actual storage volume, but it does suggest that either the Axios is very efficient and cubic, or the difference in capacity between them is a bit more than 2l.
I wonder what the biggest volume of decent rucksack is that can still easily meet airline carry-on requirements (with the exclusion of mockeries like Ryanair, naturally). 50l seems to big, 30l seems fine. Not sure whether it is a compromise worth making, mind you.
Easyjet and BA both have hand luggage dimension limits of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. This comes to a maximum 63 litres! In reality it will be the 56cm dimension that is most limiting. I have found no problems with a 35 litre sack but my 45 litre sack (Lowe Alpine) exceeds the 56cm significantly.
Might take a tapemeasure next time I visit my local outdoorsy toy shop and see what some of these bags look like in the flesh. Removable lids would go a long way to dealing with the height issue, possibly compression straps should deal with the rest if the bag is sensibly loaded.
After all, if I'm doing anything even remotely interesting I'm going to have to check some luggage... tent pegs are every bit as dangerous a weapon as an iceaxe, as we all know.
Rewrite - I think mine is the Extrem Alpine sack which seems to be similar. It has small wand pockets at the side but nothing for skis. It is in a cordura type of fabric on high wear areas (base, lid, front and back) but at the sides it is in a lighter (yellow coloured too) fabric. It has a huge lid with an internal zipped security pocket inside the lid. Gear loops on the hipbelt too. I think in is about 15 to 20 years old and 50+10litre capacity. IT certainly can swallow up a lot.
I also remember VHS (and betamax too). Also remember our old B&W TV. Indeed I had my own 12" B&W TV which got me through my A-level revision (GCE). I suspect I am not as young as I could be. Although I really curious as to what this blue ray thing people talk about an where do they put all that glass tube and screen in modern TVs??
Back to sacks, I think Berghaus still do some nice backpacking . climbing sacks about 35/45litres. Heavier than others here.
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