We check out the smaller end of Montane's new range of 'wearable packs'.
When Montane launched its first pack collection this spring, we were very impressed by the Medusa 32 and its mix of sleek lines, light weight, interesting design touches and sheer versatility. And now we have a test Anaconda 18 to take a look at. It's built along similar lines to the Medusa, but with zipped, panel-opening access to the main comparment and no lid.
Obviously, it's also smaller than the Medusa, with its 18 litres of carrying capacity making it more of a summer day pack, where big brother can handle winter loads too, but the basic principles are the same. That means light but tough Raptor fabrics in two weights, a neat moulded foam back system with non-abrasive fabric on the shoulder straps to minimise abrasion on lightweight fabrics and neat, sculted lines with a sort of gentle hourglass figure...
There's no lid, so there's no lid pocket, but there is a small, internal, zipped security pocket for those easy-to-lose valuable and flibbety bits. There's also a central gear loop if you're looking for somewhere to clip the odd bunch of rocks.
As with the Medusa, we really like the little detail touches like clothes-style zipper garages, a moulded plastic clip to hold a hydration tube in place, unusual, single-handed, pull to release chest strap buckle and a single, shock-corded ice-ax come trekking pole holder. There are also handly stretch side stash pockets, which look ideal for rapid stowage of gloves, hats, water bottles, bars and so on.
Weight on our scales is a very reasonable 670 grammes and there are conventional compression straps on both sides to keep the contents under control.
It's not quite as stand out as the Medusa, but has a similar light, but sturdy feel to it, and an experimental load up and carry around suggests it sits stable, comfortable and secure with the contoured back pad nestling into the curves of your back.
As with the Medusa, the lack of a really stiff frame means it may be less comfortable with heavier loads, but then again, who carries heavy loads in an 18-litre day pack? Overall it looks like a neat, light and well thought out all-round summer day pack with rapid access to the main compartment via that big zip and colours that'll blend nicely with your Montane clothing ensemble.
Looks and feels good, can't wait to use it. Retail price is £60 with more information at www.montane.co.uk.