/ Black Ice vs Alpine Attack vs AK47 Help me choose
Minimum 45 litre capacity
Minimal weight without having to remove features/waistbelts/straps/accessories/lids to get the thing down to weight.
Stowable hipbelt = comfortable approach and easy access to harness on climb
Bomber technical (tiny hammer) ice axe and ski pole attachments
Comfortable all day
Please share your thoughts. Thanks all.
Pod Thin Ice?
I've used the Crux AK47 for a couple of years, in the Alps and Scottish mixed climbing. It's comfortable and bombproof.
> I've used the Crux AK47 for a couple of years, in the Alps and Scottish mixed climbing. It's comfortable and bombproof.
Second that plus AK4747x is light without having to strip things.
But, you may have problems keeping tech axe with small hammer in the standard ice axe loops. I have Quarks and need to make sure the hammer is tensioned so it doesn't slip out. Alternativley put axe in side straps.
Black Ice - utterly dependable.Comfortable and very robust. Removable lid (has basic straps so it can be used as bumbag. Surprisingly useful for either stripping the bag further or just as a 'summit' bag for essentials). Hipbelt is totally removable with a basic webbing one hidden to replace it. Again useful for shedding weight depending on use. I believe the AK47 is similarly functional.
That said for Winter use, 45litres is a reasonable size. You can certainly get away with smaller sacs but for longer walk-ins, a bigger sac tends to carry the weight better. The ones you have shortlisted are all decent sacs but none of the 3 stands out as being markedly better or worse than the other.
There are literally dozens of options on the market so you are pretty much spoiled for choice, but don't expect there to be any real consensus on here about which one to go for.
I replaced an old Black Ice with an Alpine 50 and I wouldn't go back, although the Alpine 50 is probably not as utterly indestructible and has a stupidly expensive SRP (I bought mine fairly cheap 2nd hand).
I'd probably look at the Osprey Mutant 38 (42litres in long back length) and BD Speed 40. I'd also be fairly keen to have a closer look at the Blue Ice Warthog 38 if I was focused on minimal weight. Finally, as a budget option there is the Berghuas Arete 45.
And that is without mentioning Macpac, Aiguille, Deuter, Arc'teryx, Grivel, Mammut ...
As I said, don't expect any real consensus.
Apart from the fact that mine is falling apart (and not from very heavy use I might add). Plus the floating lid on mine (I have the X version) doesn't sit very well and is, well, bloody annoying actually.
I had the previous version of the Black Ice which, though on the heavy side, was the dogs. Not sure how the new version stacks up.
I have a BD Speed 30 which, whilst the movable strap system is good, has fidly buckles and the lid is too small to be much use.
AK47 lid is terrible. If you do buy one, get the X version. I also used to find the shoulder strap webbing was too narrow for the buckles and so they slipped and slackened. Although, this may have been sorted in newer versions.
Alpine Attack - main buckle is very difficult to use when the webbing is frozen (ie during winter climbing), I wont bore you with the technical detail as to why, but it was essentially a major pain in the neck.
Not used a Black Ice, I gather they're good.
Also consider Black Diamond's packs - which are very good.
Aiguille Alpine Zenith (carry axes shoved down the side straps).
Aiguille Alpine Ice Fall would be an alternative, but it is too heavy for me (and I suspect for you too judging by what you said).
For alpine rock routes I actually switched back last summer to my OMM Villain from some little Vaude 25-something lightweight thing. The Villain is slightly heavier, but I find a long, narrow weight distributed along my back disturbs me less than the same weight in a more compact bundle.
I use it for summer by stipping and pulling the straps in so its not at its full size (plus remove the lid).
Mines used for absolutley everything and have been contemplating getting a bag for wild camping but can't justify it because the Black Ice is the bollocks!
I'm leaning towards the Lowe Alpine Attack on the basis of current contributions. It has more advanced features (I love new features) than the POD, much less weight (I'm a 9st weakling trapped in a 12st body) and only one grumble has surfaced after a dayfull of comments. The POD scores on rugged longevity but this actually isn't a major criterion for me. I like to change my gear fairly regularly so don't mind a bit of wear (within reason).
Anyone else want to deter or disrail me before I take the plunge?
Not particularly, although the design doesn't really inspire me and the colour is rather boring. The only negative thing that stands out is that I'd don't like single buckle extendable lids. Also, I'm now a big fan of the roll-top closure on other sacs like the POD Alpine 40/50.
On the plus side, I did look at them in Tiso last year and my first impressions were all good especially in terms of value for money.
The material does look a bit flimsy and i'll see how well it gets on compared to my Ballistic 35l but everything i've heard about the durability of them is good.
You'll not go far wrong with one anyway mate.
Is this because the straps on the floating lid keep slipping? I had this problem and Crux suggested putting seam grip on the straps to increase the friction. This works well for me.
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