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Help me decide which pack to buy

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Hi everyone,

I've been looking at buying a new dedicated alpine pack and have narrowed it down to the two in the poll. Please help me decide which you would buy and post any other suggestions that you think are better.


Which pack would you buy mostly for one day alpine climbing/mountaineering trips?

Mountain Equipment Tupilak 37+
35 votes | 0%
Arc'teryx AR 35
7 votes | 0%
Mountain Hardwear Alpine Light 35
1 vote | 0%
Build too Send X1
1 vote | 0%
Blue Ice warthog
9 votes | 0%
Arcteryx FL30 or 40
20 votes | 0%
The one that fits my back
15 votes | 0%
Aiguille Zephyr
2 votes | 0%
Mountain Equipment Ogre 33
3 votes | 0%
Fnck me, is this how people choose these days
16 votes | 0%
Ikea Bag (Blue)
10 votes | 0%
Mammut Trion Nordwand 38
1 vote | 0%
Team of native bearers old boy
6 votes | 0%
Deuter Guide 34+
4 votes | 0%
Crux AX
4 votes | 0%
Karrimor Totem
1 vote | 0%
Oh.. pressed the wrong button.
2 votes | 0%
montane fast alpine 40
1 vote | 0%
Just wanting to see what folk are voting for
6 votes | 0%
Osprey Mutant
3 votes | 0%
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 bouldery bits 15 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Lowe Alpine Uprise? 

In reply to bouldery bits:

Thanks I’ll check it out as I hadn’t looked at that model

In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Black Diamond Speed 40 is another decent pack to have a look at. Not too expensive either. The 40 in a small size back is 38L. Outside straps for crampons, tool attachment points, side straps for mats and rope strap. Decent review here: https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/climbing/mountaineering-backpack/black-diamond-speed-40

In reply to bouldery bits:

The uprise is a bit naff, I've used mine for a year and it's pretty worn out already.

 olddirtydoggy 16 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

The one that fits your back the most. I can't wear some of the Lowe Alpine models and the Black Diamond for me was totally out. Montane do the most comfortable back system for me. That said, all that was about 5 years back so I'd be trying them on my back again, with weight in them, in a shop.

In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

AR-35, mainly because I like the old school style pack lid.

I'd take a Arcteryx FL-30 over a Tupilak if going lidless though, but that's personal preference. 

 Mark Haward 16 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

I agree with olddirtydoggy ( not a phrase I ever expected to type! ) Which is most comfortable for you? I'd also add, what sort of routes are you intending to do over the next few years? This may affect pack size and features somewhat.

   For day routes and more technical climbing I tend to go as small or light as I can reasonably get away with. 

 galpinos 16 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

I have the Tupliak 37. I am am not going to recommend it over the others as I haven't used them! I can, however, tell you about it.

1. It's incredibly comfy, surprisingly so, far better than the Mutant 38 before it. The weird hip fins, though slightly faffy, make a big difference and the minimal back panel is surprisingly good at keeping the back shape and stopping you getting stabbed in the back (take note Patagonia, I had to mod my Ascentionist 25L as if I wasn't carefully packing it, I would feel every cam lobe....)

2. Perfect size, for me. I use it for everything from wild camping to Scottish winter. Packs down well and is easy to overstuff.

3. Surprisingly weatherproof. I have done away with dry bags, confident that the only time I got water in the sac was when it was sat in a deep puddle in the bottom of a boat for 2 hrs.

4. Very robust - Mine has no holes in it so far, both my Mutant and Ascensionist had holes in they with the same amount of use....

5. Lid - The lid is v.easy to use with the buckle with gloves, however I have a love hate with lid pocket (it is quite big so I can get all I need and more in it, but it can get in the way as it kind of flaps about inside) and it requires a bit of practice to get the rope carry right f you aren't a rope in the sac kinda person (I am)

6. Roll top internal - Undecided about this, I get the idea but it is weatherproof enough without it and can be a faff to deal with in hoolie with gloves on.

It is a far better sac than the Osprey Mutant it replaced (MkII) and the Ascentionist 25L. I also prefer it to the Arc'teryx Alpha FL I borrowed prior to buying it (better carry, the FL sizes were all over the show and the FL "pocket" was unusable) though they have updated the FL since then and got the sizes right.

Would buy another happily.

In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

IMHO anything bigger than 30L is unnecessarily large for Alpine climbing, unless you're bivying alot/multi day.

For an overnight bivy or hut stays 30L should be ample, if you need a bigger sack than that you're carrying too much stuff.

7
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Osprey Mutant 38. Love mine. Admittedly it's the 10 year old model that (personally) I think is better than the modern versions!

In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Are all of your options available? It seems that more and more outdoor brands are having problem getting stock to meet demand, like has been happening in the cycling industry. 

Various possibilities were reviewed here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/rucksacks/medium/mountain_packs_around_40_litres-12631 I still really like the Salewa that I reviewed https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/rucksacks/medium/mountain_packs_around_40_litres-12631#salewa_apex_guide_45 . It can be a big, supportive (and moderately heavy) full on all-round mountain pack, but can also be stripped down to and go lidless to make a slightly smaller and really light pack that feels very like the Exped 30 I reviewed more recently https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/rucksacks/medium/exped_black_ice_30_pack-14301 - also a very good pack but nowhere like as versatile as the Salewa. 

But like I said, check availability - not having the same choice of outdoor products, all part of wonderful world of Brexit! 

In reply to thegrowler1981:

The Black Diamond Speed 40 looks another good option - thanks for posting. I need to find a shop that stocks most brands so I can have a real look at which is best for me. 

In reply to LG-Mark:

> IMHO anything bigger than 30L is unnecessarily large for Alpine climbing, unless you're bivying alot/multi day.

> For an overnight bivy or hut stays 30L should be ample, if you need a bigger sack than that you're carrying too much stuff.

As wrong as this has always been.

5
In reply to LG-Mark:

I was skeptical on which size pack will serve me best and I was initially looking at 30L versions but didn’t know if I had chosen to opt for the middle size, I would be able to squash the pack down. Saying that I’ve recently been to Scotland winter mountaineering using a 35L and found there was to much space the majority of the time and if I got a pack where I can attach crampons to the outside that is another thing less inside the pack.

Post edited at 12:39
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

No problem. I have gone for a Blue Ice Dragonfly 25L (brilliant ‘cheap’ pack) for a summit pack and then the BD Speed 40 for longer climbs/multi-day/bivvy/hut alpine climbs. Not used them in anger yet but will do in May. 
 

1
In reply to Robert Durran:

> As wrong as this has always been.

I'm genuinely  interested to know why you think that, when a quick glance at 90% of the punters trundling around the Alpine peaks would suggest otherwise?

In reply to LG-Mark:

> I'm genuinely  interested to know why you think that, when a quick glance at 90% of the punters trundling around the Alpine peaks would suggest otherwise?

Maybe they are, but that doesn't mean that those who prefer a larger sack are carrying too much stuff.

2
In reply to LG-Mark:

> IMHO anything bigger than 30L is unnecessarily large for Alpine climbing, unless you're bivying alot/multi day.

> For an overnight bivy or hut stays 30L should be ample, if you need a bigger sack than that you're carrying too much stuff.

Very much depends on (the size of) the individual.

XXL clothes have roughly twice the amount of fabric as S clothes.

Size 14 shoes take up vastly more volume than say size 10.

(Yes, I'm an extreme example - and I don't do alpinism per-se other than a bit of via ferrata from time to time - but my day sack is a 50...)

Post edited at 16:43
 Rob Parsons 16 Mar 2022
In reply to LG-Mark:

> IMHO anything bigger than 30L is unnecessarily large for Alpine climbing, unless you're bivying alot/multi day.

> For an overnight bivy or hut stays 30L should be ample, if you need a bigger sack than that you're carrying too much stuff.

Each to his/her own of course - but your statement is just one-size-fits-all (pun intended) dogma.

What kinds of routes in the Alps have you done? What do you on a multi-day route when, for example, you need to change into rock boots and store your mountain boots in your pack? Do you have all sorts of things dangling off your pack (with the associated risk of losing them, and then being in big trouble)? The idea of fannying around with a too-small pack leaves me cold.

2
In reply to Rob Parsons:

If you had read my reply, i did qualify it with "unless you're bivying alot/multi day" Even for a rock route approach, you'd be wearing alot of the stuff in your bag and your boots will go inside.

I use a 28L warthog and never really struggled, sure; i'd use a larger bag if needed, but the go-to default is always smaller. 

I just don't get the approach that everything must go inside - the thought of an overlarge sack half-full leaves me cold...

9
In reply to LG-Mark:

So do you take back what you said about people with larger sacks carrying too much now?

6
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So do you take back what you said about people with larger sacks carrying too much now?

Not at all, why would I? For 1 day trips, overnight hut stays and one-night bivi's a 30L pack will work 99% of the time - if you need a bigger pack for that, then yes i'd say you were carrying too much stuff!

7
In reply to LG-Mark:

> Not at all, why would I?

Because, as explained, some of us prefer the versatility, convenience and comfort of a larger sack. Nothing to do with carrying too much stuff. 

> For 1 day trips, overnight hut stays and one-night bivi's a 30L pack will work 99% of the time

Sure, you might be able to cram everything into and on the outside of a small sack, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have obvious disadvantages or that people avoiding those disadvantages are to be preached to because they don't subscribe to fashionable small sack dogma.

8
 C Witter 16 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

This won't be a popular opinion, but I think the Tupilak is massively overrated:

1. It's that little bit too small, even compared to other sacks of the same size.

2. It cannot carry a rope unless it's stored in the sack inner, which is basically why it's too small.

3. It's really quite tricky to stuff things into/remove them without them seeming to get mysteriously stuck.

4. The top pocket has two zips which just makes it twice as likely for you to lose the contents.

5. It is not weatherproof, despite poster above's comments. It might resist a brief shower, but in any proper rain the contents do get wet and it takes a good while to dry.

It does sit well on your back to be fair, and is great whilst climbing. It doesn't force your head down when you look up or shift. But if you value a rope strap, or plan carrying a rope and full rack, donnae waste your money.

Post edited at 18:13
1
 bouldery bits 16 Mar 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

> The uprise is a bit naff, I've used mine for a year and it's pretty worn out already.

That's really interesting. I've got the Halcyon and it seems fairly bullet proof (and, I really like it!). A shame to hear that a Lowe pack isn't burly.

OP, sounds like it's worth taking my suggestion with a pinch of salt!

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Because, as explained, some of us prefer the versatility, convenience and comfort of a larger sack. Nothing to do with carrying too much stuff. 

Of course you're free to continue using your larger packs but by definition of the word the usage of  small packs cannot be dogma if it's practiced by 95% of the alpine climbing population. 

I'm sure all of us that do cram our stuff into our packs are perfectly happy that were not dragging a wobbling empty bag up our pitches! 

3
In reply to LG-Mark:

> Of course you're free to continue using your larger packs but by definition of the word the usage of  small packs cannot be dogma if it's practiced by 95% of the alpine climbing population. 

Why not? It seems to be a remarkably pervasive dogma. 

> I'm sure all of us that do cram our stuff into our packs are perfectly happy that were not dragging a wobbling empty bag up our pitches! 

Compression straps work very well. Presumably even your little sack is sometimes pretty empty when you are climbing.

Anyway, people can suit themselves. I just object to the bollocks that people need to use a small sack if they don't want to carry too much.

2
In reply to bouldery bits:

Rab are releasing a new pack to replace the top end Lowe alpine mountaineering bags later this year. Similar design to the uprise but made of spectra (dyneema) so might be a bit tougher.

Its a comfy bag, but the fabric just isn't robust enough, it's not weatherproof in the slightest and lots of bits have broken (clips etc...). My last haglofs bag (they don't make many at the moment unfortunately) lasted 8 years, the uprise has done one season.

 oceannash909 16 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

I have the Mountain equipment Tupliak 30 and I love it to bits, however there are quite a few problems:

Pros:

- Tough as hell, climb with it grazing across Cornish Granite as well as in winter storms in Scotland, hold up well.

-Comfy with good thick foam, removable hipbelt is brilliant and cannot really be found on other packs. 

- Good rope carrying system, never falls off

- Grappler closure system is easily the best around

- smartly located and genius top pocket that can be accessed from both inside and outside. The Arcteryx FL pack has an ok pocket that can only fit a phone and keys, the pocket for the Arcteryx alpha pack is the most stupid thing I have ever used.

- Very weather proof

-Looks like an excellent pack

-full range of motion for the head even with a helmet. I had a deuter pack before and I couldn't even look up at the route.

Cons:

- does not pack very well, because the fabric has no give at all, probably because its so burly, it can be hard to stuff gear and clothing into it without it looking deformed and having weight imbalances everywhere.

- adjustment straps too light weight, sort of ironic and a bit of a stupid design really, the pack is overkill burly, but with some magical voodoo it does not weigh too much, which is exactly what I like. However adjustment straps are really thin and there is already sign of wear and fraying along the edges. The straps will probably wear out before there is even a noticeable amount of wear on the main fabric, perhaps this could be fixed by Mountain Equipment for a small fee? I have also experienced fraying on the main pack fabric where the shoulder straps and the adjustment straps meet.

hope this helps

 oceannash909 16 Mar 2022
In reply to bouldery bits:

Saw the Lowe Alpine uprise in an outdoor shop couple months ago, was insanely impressed, seemed tough as hell and was even considering replacing my perfectly functional Tupilak 30. wouldn't know how it performs though. I know EpicTV made a youtube review on the renegade which is the smaller version though.

youtube.com/watch?v=dEpn87VJ6oU&

In reply to oceannash909:

After a few months it does a good impression of a sieve

A better fabric choice would make it a pretty good bag though, it's nice and comfy and carries well.

Post edited at 22:46
 mcawle 16 Mar 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

Yeah, I’ve started to scrape a hole in the back panel of my Uprise 40:50 somehow after only 2 alpine routes with it - I think from awkward front crab crawling down steeper steps on descents.

Post edited at 23:33
In reply to Alex Riley:

I am in the same boat with my uprise, Got it a similar time to you and its not lated well, Like you have broken most of the clips and already have holes that are being covered by tape.

I had a Patagonia ascentionist (not sure if that is spelt right) before that and it lasted years. 

I really hope the new Rob bag is a little better thought out and tougher.

Post edited at 18:20
 C Witter 17 Mar 2022
In reply to oceannash909:

Out of interest, where do you store your rope on the Tupilak? As far as I can tell there's no good way to carry a lapcoiled rope?

 Cumbria James 18 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Check out the Lowe Alpine Halcyon 35:40. Bomb proof bit of kit and has dedicated rope carrying system that still allows full top access to the main compartment. 

In reply to Cumbria James:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/rucksacks/medium/lowe_alpine_halcyon_35-40_pack-13253

I quite liked it too, although don't like the ice axe attaching system, but actually I think the Salewa I mentioned somewhere above is a more flexible pack. I get the feeling the Halcyon will last forever though - it seems as tough as old boots.

 Tom Ripley 18 Mar 2022
In reply to C Witter:

I don’t ever use a rope strap on a bag, I just place the rope over the shoulder strap, once the bag is on. 

For this to be effective you need to coil the rope in the traditional alpine way, rather than the butterfly coil often favoured by Brits.  

 C Witter 18 Mar 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Thanks and fair enough. Personally, I don't like either that coiling method or that method of stowing a rope, but each to their own.

1
 wbo2 18 Mar 2022
In reply to C Witter: I have an ogre - I assume the Tupilak is similar... rope goes through the strap at the top  , then held by the compression straps on the side.  Works well enough.  

 Apart from that it's a decent sack but nothing special.  

 mcawle 18 Mar 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

You can finish butterfly laps as bunny ears as well, so it’s tied off in the middle, then drop the finishing wraps onto the top of the shoulder straps. Tends to stay pretty stable although it’s not tied down and so there is a risk of losing it if it slips off on steep ground. Perfect for a slog in though.

 Tom Ripley 19 Mar 2022
In reply to mcawle:

> You can finish butterfly laps as bunny ears as well, so it’s tied off in the middle, then drop the finishing wraps onto the top of the shoulder straps. Tends to stay pretty stable although it’s not tied down and so there is a risk of losing it if it slips off on steep ground. Perfect for a slog in though.

Yea, that’s what I normally do. I just don’t know what that style of coil is called, and was struggling to think of a concise way of describing it. 

1
 oceannash909 19 Mar 2022
In reply to C Witter:

I threaded the strap through the little D loop at the front opening of the pack, might be hard to spot but on the front of the pack near the opening there should be one, not sure exactly what its for, maybe for hauling? Once Ive got the rope on the pack instead of attaching the strap to the main grappler thing at the lid, I lay the rope over the lid and attach the buckle to the rear grapper thing in between the top of the shoulder straps.

Hope this helps

 oceannash909 19 Mar 2022
In reply to C Witter:

It would also help to get the ski straps or additional grappler buckles for the pack, when packing the rope just coil it longer then you can secure the sides with the buckles.

https://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/collections/mens-rucksacks-bags/products/hammerhead-ski-strap-x4

 mcawle 20 Mar 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Ah yes got you. I don’t really know what it’s called either. I thought you might have been referring to an alpine/mountaineer coil, which I’ve seen some people do in the alps where they actually coil it into a circle and then carry it over a shoulder or over the pack straps. Looks cool and probably carries better but then it is coiled rather than lapped.

 C Witter 20 Mar 2022
In reply to oceannash909:

Thanks for these ideas and taking the time to reply. I think the "D" you mention is to guide the closure strap and I've already threaded it. I have tried using the rear grappler and the compression straps, but find it to be unreliable to useless. The rope usually slips off the lid and down to hang from the "D" closure strap loop. Compression straps work a bit better but is fiddly and time-cconsuming. I've two old Blue Ice packs that work a lot better: strap the rope on, however it's coiled, and there it stays. It's not insurmountable but definitely detracts for me from the value of the Tupilak.

 TechnoJim 21 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Re: The ME Ogre, the foam in the shoulder straps of my 42 litre version has come apart after approx 25 days on the hill. To be fair, I was warned about the potential of this happening when I canvassed opinion on here. I'm going to try returning it when I get home from Scotland.

It's a shame as otherwise it's an excellent pack. Great durable fabric and you barely notice it when climbing.

 Gav_92 22 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Iv uswd the deuter guide and blue ice warthog

Guide is comfier but had to remove the framr otherwise it was interfering with the helmet 

Warthog whilst not as comfy is still comfy and still has the back frame to suport it and doesnt interfere with helmet when climbing, is also considerably lighter 

Thanks everyone for your replies. I still haven’t quite decided on which pack to buy as I’d like to go to a shop that stocks most of the listed options to try first. Some of the suggestions from this topic have gave me new ideas and to look at packs I wasn’t before  

For the most part I will be using the one I buy for one day alpine routes like gullys and ridges in Scotland and places like that (I’m still abit of newb)

Post edited at 18:54
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Just to throw another option in, you could look at these guys:

https://summiteerequipment.com

I haven't used one of their bags (yet) but I like the idea of supporting small British cottage manufacturers and the crag rocket looks like exactly what you're after.

In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

Late to the party — I voted but didn't have time to reply. No experience of any of the other packs, but I have an Alpha FL 30 and I love it to bits. It's simply the best pack I've ever worn, and I now use it for everything — cragging, multipitch, walking, mountaineering. It's ridiculously comfortable when climbing, doesn't get in the way of a harness, and is indestructible. And waterproof. Why aren't more backpacks waterproof?

The only flavour of alpine I do is 'classic' mountaineering style, ie snow and rock to AD or so, but I also bivi in preference to huts and have managed to fit everything in for three days with some cunning. The only major disadvantage is that there is no simple way of carrying skis on it. I've bodged together a diagonal carry with some cord and a utility strap in the past, and it did work, but I can't say it was great. I certainly wouldn't climb anything consequential with that setup.

 samwalla 24 Mar 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

I'm a recent convert from ME and Osprey packs to Arcteryx ones. The Arcteryx Alpha FL 30 is by a large margin the best pack I've used for any climbing/mountaineering involving snow. The system for hanging ropes on the outside of the pack is far better than on ME packs and there's a bit of velcro sewn onto the top strap to keep excess strap tucked away (something that drove me up the wall on ME packs). The bungee on the outside is perfect for holding ice axes and crampons/sleeping pad and the two small pockets are perfect for storing small things whilst keeping the interior of the bag one big streamline compartment. However I think the best thing is despite being advertised as "water resistant" I've found it to be completely waterproof, I even went as far as filling it with water in the shower and hanging it from different angles (even upside down) and not a drop of water came out. Having seen a mates ME Tupilak 37 in action I can definitely say I'd take the Arcteryx pack over the ME one any day

1

I finally got chance to get to a shop that has most of the packs listed in this thread and have committed to purchasing the Arc’teryx FL30 in Orange. I found it to be of similar size, features and comfort to the Tupilak 37+ and was slightly cheaper.


I tried the Lowe Alpine Halcyon 45-50 and found the back system the best out of all the packs but found myself edging away from getting a pack with a lid, so that if the capacity was full there would be the option to use the roll bag to extend capacity with no issues. Also I wasn’t convinced it would be easy to open and close the Lowe Alpine with thick gloves on with the buckle they’ve used. 


 

I took the Arc’teryx back after using my standard Low Alpine rucksack for a day in Wales (which I really enjoyed) and found the Lowe Alpine- AlpineAscent 40-50L in store so replaced it with that. It seems to be an awesome pack. Can’t wait to test it out in winter conditions  

 Rob Parsons 04 Apr 2022
In reply to SandstoneYorkie22:

If you've found something which works okay for you, that's great.

However, don't forget that the main thing is to get out into the hills, and actually do stuff. Gear is just a means to an end: don't get too obsessed by it.


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