/ Female Friendly Climbing Packs!

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BCT on 04 Mar 2013
Hi

A big desperate plea to all the women out there about climbing packs. I have owned an Osprey Ariel 55 (designed for women)for hillwalking and it's brilliant if not a bit "strappy" but too clumpy for climbing and sits too high to wear a helmet and successfully look up at the same time with!
After some research I bought a Podsac alpine 40 in small and although the size is good the arm straps are far too chunky and thick and pretty much cover my whole shoulder leaving it difficult to stick both arms in the air....sort of needed for climbing. I have had to return it.
I am finding next to no provision for women climber packs. I found marmot Freya 35 but there are next to no reviews and it is a lot more weighty than others I have seen. I like the look of Osprey Mutant 38 but there are no women specific designs which I think I need.
Basically would love to hear from women a similar size and shape to me (5' 4", 58kg, typical pear shape, small waist), or even who aren't but can give me some advice (guys included!) who have found climbing packs that work for them.
If any product designers are reading this- GET MORE FEMALE CLIMBING PRODUCTS OUT THERE!!
Welsh Kate - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:
Hi Beth-Cath-T

I'm 3" taller than you and have a few more kilos, also pear shaped but with quite broad shoulders. I use the Mutant 38 in size small and find it pretty comfy provided I'm not carrying it heavily packed on a long walk (when it makes my sciatica play up). For me it works with both a harness and a helmet fine and I don't find the shoulder straps too broad given that it's a 'unisex' (aka 'male') bag.

But of course, every pack's different, and you'll need to give it a go yourself
Caralynh - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

I'm a woman, was involved with the gear testing of the Mutant, and use it in size small as a general pack for everything from summer trekking to winter climbing. I disagree with the need for women specific everything. After all, no products are man specific are they?
Mountain Llama - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Hi Beth

Try the Crux AK range, there v lite, come in different back lengths and have narrow shoulder straps but there not cheap.

HTH Davey
sarahjk - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Another vote for the Mutant, in small. I am 5'8 and tried small and medium, the guys at Cotswold said the small was a much better fit. I have a fairly short back for my height, so would recommend you try it.
peas65 - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

I have a vaude rucksack which is around 8 years old, totally bomb proof, it has been every where and is the most comfortable rucksack i have ever used. I am not the same shape as you but it has thin straps and a well shaped waist that sits in a good position swell as a height adjustable back which i think it key. The height adjustable back should prevent the strpas being too big in the wrong places.

Unfortunatly they dont make it any more but it is very similar to the Challenger 35.
BCT on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Caralynh:

You're right but everything I buy (that is specific to form like backpacks) that are NOT specific to women tend to be to long, wide etc. Back length is a huge issue for me. Let's face it, women do have a different shape. Our shoulders are narrower, we generally have hips...and breasts!. They may not be advertised as "men only" but I bet you anything they will be predominantly aimed at males therefore designed for their body shapes/needs.
BCT on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to sarahkeast:
Thank you! I think I will....this is probably the bag that stands out the most so far
BCT on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Mountain Llama:
I hadn't even heard about these, thanks for the heads up
BCT on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to peas65:
much appreciated
Sarah Stirling - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Hi Beth, maybe look at this one: http://www.deuter.com/en/DE/product/1-43/33563/Guide%2030%2B%20SL.html (30 litres) or this one: http://www.deuter.com/en/DE/product/1-42/33583/Guide%2040%2B%20SL.html (40 litres). The flower denotes a women-specific design at Deuter. I like the Deuter Guide range as they are hard wearing, well designed and sleek. They are a bit more heavy than the relative Mutant but you can strip some stuff out, like the back panel. I also think Osprey give the stripped weights of their packs; other brands give the weight with everything attached.

If you're still thinking about the Marmot Freya ... it's a bit heavy but then the frame sheet is removable ... I've not tried it but have a couple of previous Marmot women-specific rucksacks, the Diva 55 and Myrina 30. I have a lot of rucksacks but these are definitely amongst my favourites as they fit my small size (5'4"/size 8) well, and are also stripped back and simple. I reviewed the Myrina here and you can still buy it online but it might be a bit small for your needs. http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4225

Cheers, Sarah
SGD - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: My Better half (5'6", broad shoulders) has an Osprey Mutant 38 in small and she does find it very comfortable. She also finds that it is bigger than the 38 litre capacity stated (more like 42). But....she wasn't impressed with the fabrics which didn't stand up to wear and tear as well as expected but saying this it is a light weight sac. She had to return her 1st sac to Osprey when the top handle came off with very little weight in the bag. (Osprey were brilliant by the way in replacing the bag). She does still have and use this bag on occassions (usually for walking now) but she has changed to a POD cragsac (small) which she now swears by.
BCT on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Sarah Stirling - UKC/UKH: Some really good advice here cheers
BCT on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to SGD:
Thanks, it is looking like the mutant may win here!
The Ex-Engineer - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to SGD:
> My Better half ... has an Osprey Mutant 38 in small and she does find it very comfortable.

Ditto.

She spent ages in 2010/11 trying to find something short enough and the Mutant in small was the best fit of anything she tried.
butteredfrog - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Caralynh:
> (In reply to Beth-Cath-T)
>
After all, no products are man specific are they?

Y-fronts?













Gets coat!

Carolyn - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

I don't know what Macpac make at the moment (my bigger sacs are coming up 20 years old - eeek, at least they last....), but I found them good because the women's sacs had particularly narrow (and shaped) shoulder straps, and even the smaller unisex ones weren't too bad.
butteredfrog - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Have a look at Deuter packs, they pretty much duplicate their range.

Not the lightest but the build quality is excellent and they carry better than the Osprey sacs IMO. I have a Guide 35+ that I use for work, Its been fantastic so far.
JPSC - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Have a look on the AiguilleAlpine site, they seem to make a women's fit version of each sac as well as lengths

http://www.aiguillealpine.co.uk/shop/4/
Oujmik - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Interesting topic as my gf has the same issue. She is too short for the back length in most mens packs. If she gets the waist band in the right place, the shoulder straps are too high to sit on her shoulders and the chest strap is way too low (which is an issue in itself for women). Whe has a Deuter Guide which seems to fit but she never uses because it is fairly heavy and too big for light-weight days. She really wants a lightweight climbing pack so I'll look at the Mutant too.

Another which could be worth looking at is the Berghaus Arete (ladies obv) it has a good back system although it is let down by the height of the sack behinnd the head - it seems like they made it the same height as then mens just with shorter straps so it tends to hit shorter users in the back of the head.
gd303uk - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: after many months and a few arguments we finally found a sack that my wife liked, it was hard to find a rucksack that ticked all the boxes,
But the Deuter guide lite 28 sl was a good choice .
My wife is, 5'4 size 10 and likes using the bag, I like the fact she can know share the load on our way to a climb. Result. :)

http://www.climbers-shop.com/10718244/products/deuter_womens_guide_lite_28_sl.aspx
SCC - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Other half has a small POD cragsack in the small size - it was the only pack that we could find that fitted her.

I've got a size 2 cragsack and an Osprey Mutant - and whilst the Mutant is a bit lighter and arguably more comfortable when loaded (back on Cragsack is solid so it doens't matter how badly packed it is!) the Cragsack is far more robust.
The lid pocket is also much better on the POD.
I've also found that the cragsack sits better on my back when only partially loaded than the Mutant does and that the Mutant is a bit of a pain to shove stuff in - both due the the felxible back deforming lots.

I guess I could investigate a stiffer back sheet for the Mutant, which would help loads.

HTH

Si
BCT on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Oujmik:

The high behind the head is also a major issue! I'm a bit of a berghaus phobic for some reason. I never really took to the brand but will have a nosey nonetheless. I am avoiding deuter due to the weights but am templed by the guide 35 which people seem to be raving about. I hope your gf finds a suitable bag too!!
BCT on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to gd303uk:
I was looking at this but fear it will be too small. Unfortunately I think my partner would like the share the weight 50/50 :P
BCT on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Ok So it looks like I'm going to be going to try the Mutant 38 small, Deuter guide 35+ and Deuter Guide lite 28.

Cheers for all the help everyone! keep em coming if you have any new finds! :) I shall give an update with any successful purchases
BCT on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:
p.s I am having to see my Podsac Alpine 40 due to the sizing. It's brand spanking new (can't get refund as i took off and threw away the tags, doh) so am trying to see it for as close to what i got it for as poss. Please make sensible offers if you want this. Retail price 120
gd303uk - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: your partner might like this one for you,

https://www.deutergb.co.uk/alpine/guide-40-sl/


moneykat - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I really empathise. I struggle to find a really great fit in a sack too. I tried my other half's Mutant but couldn't get on with it...too big in the shoulders. I have my own Osprey variant which I now only take to the wall or short walk in crag as I couldn't get a good fit with that either and was often lashed in the face in windy weather by the far too many straps that usually adorn an Osprey! I have a Deuter guide 40 womens's specific sack for winter. It's a great fit but on the heavy side.
For summer I use a womens specific guidelite 28...it's practically perfect!
If only I could find a similar great sack for winter. Women obviously have smaller and narrower shoulders so whoever said we should just get on with it as they don't have "man-specific" gear is talking rubbish. Happy hunting!
Please post if you find a great womens sack!
butteredfrog - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Talking weights, 500g difference is sod all really if the fit is right. For many years I used a (old) Karrimor alpanist 45+10, it weighed a good kilo more than my lightweight sac, but I picked it up every time because it was comfier to carry loaded. A lightweight sac that skimps on padding and strap width etc (the weight savings have to come from somewere), is more tireing over a long day, than a heavier comfier bag IMO.
JimboWizbo - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I like this post
BCT on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to moneykat:

I'm glad you mentioned the variant because I was going to look at this too but was umming and ahhing about it not being women specific. I did hear about the straps! (which is a bit of a pain on my ariel 55) what about the guide 28 isn't suitable for winter? Material?
I heard that the back padding on deuters can potentially gather water/sweat and freeze in winter!! you know anything about that?
AndrewHuddart - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Sarah Stirling - UKC/UKH:

My girlfriend swears by her Deuter for everything outdoors and as her main travel bag.

http://www.deuter.com/en/DE/product/1-43/33563/Guide%2030%2B%20SL.html

moneykat - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: No not the material, simply just not big enough. I've not had any problems with the back padding freezing or holding water. Not sure if they still do, but the PYB instuctors used to use Deuter Guide packs. Cant be that bad! Just a bit heavy IMO.
cas smerdon - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Try the Osprey Talon 33L in the s/m size (it is actually 30l in the small size) The back is adjustable so you can have it longer to sit on your hips for the walk in and shorten to sit above harness for climbing.
cas smerdon - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Caralynh:
> (In reply to Beth-Cath-T)
>
I disagree with the need for women specific everything. After all, no products are man specific are they?

Actually most climbing/walking products are men specific and if they make a women's version it comes in pink or purple!!!

We don't need women specific everything but for packs and clothes they are desirable.

BCT on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to cas smerdon:

Bloody pink and purple eh. I have an amazing down jacket but could only find it in purple. luckily it's a deep purple but still!
I know what the adjustable back on the talon is like as i have the same with my ariel 55 and it's great! thanks for the heads up

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