/ REVIEW: Sneak Preview: Mountain Equipment's Tupilak Packs
180-220 for an ME rucksack, that’s a hilarious price.
Are they at least made in the UK? It might make the price more palatable.
> 180-220 for an ME rucksack, that’s a hilarious price.
Your statement implies that there are brands that could charge that for a rucksack but ME aren't one of them. If so, which brands could and why?
(Genuine question, not trying to be arsey)
> If so, which brands could and why?
My Macpac was somewhere around the £200 mark when I got it. That was a few years ago, mind, and it was an 80+ ltr expedition rucksack. It's done very well over the years and has certainly been value for money. But this does seem a lot for a climbing pack. I wonder if we have unrealistic notions of what it costs to design and make a bag like this - or if ME are aiming for the city trader end of the market?
I suppose if it lasts for years then maybe £200 could be worth it after all
Perhaps someone should tell ME that we aren't all minted!
But seriously, I payed £50ish for my Lowe Alpine (Alpine Attack 35/45) back in 2015 and its still going strong after years of hard use!
For that kinda money, I'd want it to carry me off the hill after a hard days climbing! :P
> Your statement implies that there are brands that could charge that for a rucksack but ME aren't one of them. If so, which brands could and why?
> (Genuine question, not trying to be arsey)
Not saying they're necessarily worth it, but you wouldn't be surprised if an Arcteryx one was that price, but I had a quick check and their alpine one that everyone has is rrp £150.
Patagonia with all their green / moral credential might be able to pull it off, but the one I use that is similar to the ME is about £150.
So to answer, no maybe not!
The Crux bags are at a similar, if not higher price point, with the AK-47 going for about £230-£260 on Needlesports depending on the model.
I suggest you guys don't go into the arcteryx store in covent garden, where I happened to be browsing (not buying) this weekend. £400 + for a rucksac. Even go outdoors have £200 osprey sacks.
But none of the obvious direct competitors to the Tupilak are within £50 even at their RRP - and more like £100 cheaper at the price you can usually find them for. It doesn't seem to sit well in the market that ME are targeting.
> But none of the obvious direct competitors to the Tupilak are within £50 even at their RRP - and more like £100 cheaper at the price you can usually find them for. It doesn't seem to sit well in the market that ME are targeting.
As said upthread, the crux AK and RK ranges are in this price range, and the AK’s are fairly common sites on the hill.
I'd be surprised if many AKs seen on the hill are the new ones in the upper price bracket. I use one that's 10+ years old when these things could be bought for a reasonable price.
I have watched these ME threads with interest as when I saw the £200 price tag I was fairly staggered, so expected a few folk would question it - maybe rrp will drop a fair bit soon?
I can't really comment as I haven't seen one in person yet, but the Crux packs are (almost literally) bombproof and a reasonably long-term investment. I don't see an ultralight minimalist alpine pack taking anywhere near as much abuse or lasting as long. I'm not really sure what the Tupilak adds over the Ascensionist (or the Alpha FL, which is a bit less similar) for the extra cost.
(That said, I have an Arc'teryx Alpha FL and have been very surprised by just how indestructible it seems. Perhaps that applies equally to the Tupilak, and perhaps I'm talking out of the wrong end).
I suppose at the end of the day, £200 for a pack that'll hopefully last at least a few seasons is pretty insignificant. Four trips up the Midi, or a one-way drive to Chamonix including tolls.
Hard to tell, they wear pretty well!
Well weight wise, they are not far off a rk30 or AK37 - will be interesting to see how good the fabric is.
If they don’t sell then I’m sure they will get discounted fast - everybody is already giving a 10% discount....
I posted this in the ispo thread but to reiterate for those who missed it... we used tupilak packs on our route in India last autumn and the leader pack was more or less unscathed after being hauled up 30ish pitches of rough granite. Compared to the equivalent Patagonia one which was totally destroyed after being hauled up three icy mixed pitches in alaska. On the infinite spur in 2016 we used early models of ak47s, and half way up totally ripped the top off of one, which was less than ideal. I hear they are using tougher fabric now but needless to say I was very put off. Not what you need when youre that committed. The tupilaks are by far the most hard wearing bag I've used, and the rest of the features are as good as any. They may cost a lot, but they won't let you down when you need them most.
> It doesn't seem to sit well in the market that ME are targeting.
Unless the market they are targeting is the 'people who are happy to spend £220 on a rucksac market'.
seen a few pyb and some guides climbing in the hills in the last few weeks, and they all had these bags, and every one i seen already had a few holes or looked pretty trashed already, obviously i am not sure how long they've had them but they didn't look like they would stand up to much.
Did you miss Ben Silvestre's post above?
> Not saying they're necessarily worth it, but you wouldn't be surprised if an Arcteryx one was that price, but I had a quick check and their alpine one that everyone has is rrp £150.
I find it interesting that people obviously think ME should be cheaper, but the reasons why are pretty opaque, in the same way everyone accepts that Arc'teryx will be expensive, but there is no actual justification why.
> Patagonia with all their green / moral credential might be able to pull it off, but the one I use that is similar to the ME is about £150.
I've an original Ascentionist 25 and have fondled/climbed with someone who has a Tupliak. The Acsentionist feels like a Decathlon Cliff 20 (the Chamoniarde's choice for day routes and a snip at £15!) compared to the Tupliak. From the back foam to the lid/opening, to the rope carry, to the axe holders......... there was nothing on the Ascentionist that hadn't been bettered on the Tupliak. I was still using the Ascentionist on Sunday in the Lakes and I've got an old Mutant 38 for big Scottish days but if I was buying new, now, I'd be saving my pennies for a Tupilak 37! Maybe by the time I need a new sack, they'll have come down in price......
> So to answer, no maybe not!
nope i did not miss it, i was just giving you my opinion on what i had seen.
It's still too expensive! :P
Especially since we aren't all gonna be climbing the Infinite Spur or doing new routes in the Indian Himalayas on our holidays!
It might be a bomber bag, but for what the majority of its market are going to be using it for, £220 is silly!
I'm not convinced the performance difference compared to what is currently on the market is that noticable on a day to day basis, not an extra £70+ noticeable!
IMHO, get a cheaper pack and spend the money you save going on climbing trips at the weekends.
Plus, only 2 colours? :P
My 4 season rucksack is a Black Diamond Mission 35. Cost me about £140 and it is totally bombproof, loads of features, you can strip it right down but most importantly for me, it fits my back because it comes in 2 different sizes.
I know it's horses for courses, money etc but I don't understand why ME, and others, don't manufacture these in different back lengths. This wouldn't fit my back so I wouldn't even contemplate buying it whereas Osprey, Crux and BD have different lengths so they are more options if I was buying.
> It's still too expensive! :P
> Especially since we aren't all gonna be climbing the Infinite Spur or doing new routes in the Indian Himalayas on our holidays!
> It might be a bomber bag, but for what the majority of its market are going to be using it for, £220 is silly!
Is this not the crux of the matter though? They've tried to make the best sac they can for their target audience. So, in theireyes, it does need to be suitable for the Infinite Spur, the Lesseur route in winter etc. If you don't ft that target market or think it's worth it, you don't need to buy it?
> Plus, only 2 colours? :P
More colours, more expense. You can't have your cake and eat it.......
Did ME pay you to say this? Who hired you? :D
But seriously, if you're happy spending that kind of money on a bag you need therapy!
> You can't have your cake and eat it.......
Boris Johnson says we can...
... and normal U.K.C. brexit service is resumed.
> Did ME pay you to say this? Who hired you? :D
If they paid me, I could afford one of their bags!
> But seriously, if you're happy spending that kind of money on a bag you need therapy!
If I was climbing a lot, especially in winter and the alps, a good sac is worth it's weight in gold so it's be worth it imo.
I'll dip out now, I just find it interesting that a British company cops a lot more flak for making a premium product at a high price point than other international brands, for no other reason than buyer perception, as far as I can make out.
I was gonna say basically what Galpinos said.
"It might be a bomber bag, but for what the majority of its market are going to be using it for, £220 is silly!"
You do wrong to interpret the market as a single entity. This bag isn't intended for people who just want a bag for weekend trips etc, I would be extremely surprised if the folk at ME think every last climber heading to Scotland will want this bag. It's designed for serious mountaineers who want a light and reliable pack for committing routes. If I was just going cragging, or doing routes in Scotland where i leave my bag at the base of the route, or maybe even smaller routes with easy retreats in the alps, then no way I'd pay £200 for a bag. But if my bag breaking could lead to a life/death scenario, and if I need that security whilst minimising weight to ensure a successful ascent, then yeah... I'd pay more money for a bomber bag.
I guess they might bring out different back sizes at a later date
Fair enough - If that's the market ME are aiming for then great.
Perhaps we should all up our game then! :P
Still pricey tho!
It's definitely a lot of money, but ultimately the point I'm making is that compared to other similar packs it's worth it.
I've not used one of those so I can't make a fair comparison. But looking at price alone it would make sense to compare the tupilak to similar Patagonia and Atc'teryx packs, rather than something quite as specialist as that
> l dip out now, I just find it interesting that a British company cops a lot more flak for making a premium product at a high price point than other international brands, for no other reason than buyer perception, as far as I can make out.
The point I was trying to make is that I bought my expensive Gu...err Arc'teryx...pack that's in the same market as the Tupilak for £80 less than the equivalent size Tupilak, and £62 less than the cheapest I've seen it on offer so far. I find it surprising is all, and if the Alpha FL sold for £180 I almost certainly wouldn't have bought one of those either.
> But if my bag breaking could lead to a life/death scenario, and if I need that security whilst minimising weight to ensure a successful ascent, then yeah... I'd pay more money for a bomber bag.
You can get a bomber bag for way less and I'm not convinced that a couple of hundred grams in a rucksack would jeopardise an ascent. But all that tells everyone is that I'm not ME's target market!
Here you go. 40l single closure mountaineering rucksack with similar ice axe carrying system. Not as light but at 1.3kg unstripped not heavy.
Saving 200g on a few items adds up to a lot of weight fast. I've never failed because I've been carrying too much weight, however I've had a much worse experience than I could have had because of weight, and I can conceive of that experience leading to failure with other factors in play. Even just a long week climbing most days in Scotland. Might get an extra day in if I'm not smashed from hauling an extra kilo or two up the mountain every day.
Other bomber bags are certainly available, possibly at a lower price. My input was only supposed to be a comparison between this bag and others ive used in similar situations. I dont want to make assumptions about other bags that I havent used, because... well, I haven't used them
I couldn't agree more. I have a Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack 35 bag which is great for UK winter and general cragging and was significantly less than half the price of the ME offering. It has more features that suit me, i.e. a massive tip pocket for all the snacks, gloves, detritus I want to hand on the hill, but tips the scales at 1.13 kg. If I was bothered about weight the Tulipak is 350ish g lighter which equates to over 4 king-size Mars bars (my standard unit of measure for hill weight) or a decent insulation layer.
If I needed to save that kind of weight then I reckon the additional money on the pack is probably small beer compared to the other areas I'd have chucked money at to make similar savings.
> But all that tells everyone is that I'm not ME's target market!
The target market not, of course, being those who need one but those who think, or at least would like to think, that they need one.
Which is totally fair enough. If people can afford to pay for a more pleasant (read: lightweight) experience on routes that don't necessitate it, then more power to them.
If you compare the Arcteryx Alpha FL 45 to the Tupilak 45, you’re saving 75g!
If you can notice that kinda weight difference on your back, I’ll give you a job as my kitchen scales! :P
you are basically paying an extra £85 for a bag that’s 75g less, bargain! ;)
> If you can notice that kinda weight difference on your back, I’ll give you a job as my kitchen scales! :P
It's all about the accumulation of marginal gains, int it!
Which is all very well if you're a world class athletic operating at the limits of human endeavour.
But for average punter like me, I'll pass thanks. Wet muddy boots slow me down way more than a rucksack weighing a few grammes more.
> Which is all very well if you're a world class athletic operating at the limits of human endeavour.
And they'll either get them for free if they're sponsored by ME or not get them at all if they're sponsored by someone else.
The majority of sales will be to that seemingly growing band of climbers with lots of disposable income and a liking for swanky kit. Nowt wrong with that of course, how people spend their cash is their business.
who is actually going to shell out 200 notes on a rucksac, no matter how sturdy they imagine it will be - i don't believe anyone?
I don't think I have ever bought outdoor gear full price - it is either bargains on this site, ebay or shops when they have sales.
> who is actually going to shell out 200 notes on a rucksac, no matter how sturdy they imagine it will be - i don't believe anyone?
I suspect ME's marketing/sales department know more than you and disagree.
Honestly, some of the comments on this thread are funny/a bit odd.
£200 for a pack doesn't seem that much to me, and I'm far from rich. I look at climbing as my main hobby/thing I do outside work and family/friends, and I enjoy the planning of trips, looking at guides, thinking what gear to get and use, and paying £200 or so for an excellent pack that'll probably do me for years of use really doesn't seem outrageous.
People here don't kick off about things like waterproofs which usually cost (often lots) more, get used less, and don't last as long so I don't get what the odd fuss is about, just seems weird and illogical. It does look like it's taken the best bits of the Patagonia Ascentionist and Arcteryx FL 45 packs and combined and improved the whole thing, and looking at the R&D that's gone into the packs £200 really seems pretty reasonable to me, especially as I bet you'll be able to get them for £180 or less without much effort.
Don't like it? Prefer to buy a cheap pack? Happy with what you have? Too expensive for you (although bet you spend more money on things I'd think were ridiculous!)? Fine - don't buy it. But I'm glad there's a company designing and making excellent products out there, and I'd buy one without a thought if I was in the market for a new pack.
PS: The weight savings gripes are a bit narrow minded too. It's not like the few hundred grammes makes the difference between climbing or not climbing a route for some of us climbing easy routes, but some of us have old injuries and don't want to get new ones, and carrying less weight (a bit here and there really does add up quickly) can make all the difference between a pleasant day and a less than pleasant day out, maybe even one more day squeezed out of a trip, and maybe even a few more years squeezed out of our climbing and walking in the mountains life.
> Honestly, some of the comments on this thread are funny/a bit odd.
Just some gentle trolling to ease my pain while I'm stuck in work on a snow day! :P
It does look a good bag - whether or not its actually worth £220 is my argument.
> who is actually going to shell out 200 notes on a rucksac, no matter how sturdy they imagine it will be - i don't believe anyone?
> I don't think I have ever bought outdoor gear full price - it is either bargains on this site, ebay or shops when they have sales.
As much as I think it's a silly price for that bag, I'm sure they'll sell loads.
Some of the folk at PyB are using them so all their clients will want one for a start!
The Jagged Globe Head of Operations Ed Chard has been using a Tupilak 37+ for the last couple of months while working up in Scotland, yesterday he said 'This is by far the best pack I've ever used'.
Where does it all end? This week I paid out 400 quid for a pair of damn boots. Add a pair of £200 salopettes, £200 on a hardship jacket, axes at £???? and you can add the rest up. It's worth what somebody is willing to pay and sadly if we keep paying it then up is the direction kit price will go. Some won't be able to help themselves, not out of need but for the warm fuzzy feeling buying things gives.
In truth I Paid 120 for my jacket in the ME factory sale. Much of my kit is the same but I'm lucky to live near them and Rab with a Tkmaxx who cleared out some top end North face stuff at a quarter price. Not everyone has the locality or luck.
FFS, you don't have to live near the ME factory shop or TKMax to get cheap gear, there's plenty about in shops new that'll do the job just fine, not to mention second hand gear on the web.
Pretending there's some bar to enjoying the outdoors due to gear prices is ridiculous and creates an issue where there isn't one.
OK, let's ask the important question: what is the real colour of the pack? On the official site it is orange, on the UKC photos it is red. Which one is closer to reality?
Time will tell if it's successful. If it's anything like the Montane Ultra 38 that came out not long ago (nothing near the level of marketing ME are pouring into the Tupilak though), you may be able to pick one up for £50 from GO in a years time...
I have to agree, I bought the Arcteryx one for £65 at the Planet Fear closing down sale and spent the rest of the season telling people I didn’t pay full price. Sort of reverse snobbery. This is the same bag that ukc described as wallet stretching when it was reviewed at £150. I then bought an Osprey 38 for £77 at that independent shop in Inverness that I can’t remember the name of cause I really wanted a lid. I just can’t see anyone outside of the rich noob stereotype that doesn’t exist buying this, especially if you’re actually going to climb with it and put lots of holes in it. But then again...
Glad to see we're tackling the important questions. I'd say it's a dark reddy orange, but I'm a bit colourblind so I'm not a very reliable witness. For the photos in the review I simply couldn't get the colour balance to look quite right, and not for want of trying
Also available in stealth black - this may avoid accusations of having more brass than sense;-)
It's more a grey-y black.......
> Also available in stealth black - this may avoid accusations of having more brass than sense
Yeah, but black never looks as good in photos. And if you're not going to look good in photos, what's the point?
I don't get this kind of back system tho. Both the Arc'teryx Alpha FL and this pack have water resistant fabric pushed to the user's back. This seems very sweaty to me. How useful it is in the summer?
I'm using a good old Deuter Guide with its 1600 grams, but I can hike, trek and climb with it in every season. With these ultralight packs I'm tempted to make a switch. I could live with having a separate pack for hiking and climbing. But if I bought such an expensive pack, I would like to use it for summer alpinism as well. That would be really outrageous to have a separate summer alpine and winter alpine backpack...
Anyone using an Arcteryx or this Tupliak, any experience or thoughts about the performance of these packs in warmer temperatures?
As far as I am aware, the Tupilak was design for alpine and winter climbing - these two things don't really go hand in hand with comfort - a compromise I'm sure!
I am yet to see a back system that makes any difference to the amount you sweat. The only exception I can think of is something like the Lowe Alpine AirZone, which isn't a climbing pack, so not really suitable to compare like-for-like.
In my experience if a pack is on your back, you are going to sweat (no matter how much foam a brand puts on it or how much their marketing tells you otherwise)! If anything I reckon packs with too much foam/padding can actually end up absorbing moisture, thus keeping you wet for longer. I'd also favour simplicity for two reasons: firstly because it tends to result in greater stability through the pack being closer to your back and secondly because there's less to go wrong.
All that said, I can't offer any actual words of wisdom on either the pack at hand or the Arc'teryx alternative simply because I haven't used them. The above is just a couple of generalised statements from years of use/frustration with different packs. For what it's worth my pack of choice over the years has pretty much boiled down to the old style Crux AK47-X for Winter/Alpine/Mountain Trad and the Metolius Express Haul Pack for anything where I actually think I'm going to be doing some hauling (surprisingly useful on sea cliffs).
Hi Rob, I've got an ascentionist 35. Absolutely love it and in winter the sweat issue doesn't seem to be an issue. However in summer ( and i sweat buckets and move fairly fast) the back feels way more sweaty than for example my talon 33. To the extent that i can feel the sweat collecting on the hem of my top and dripping out...i still love the pack tho but the back in summer isn't the best!
I have the Alpha FL 45 and have used it in winter, for summer alpine and for other bits and pieces of cragging / hill training.
In summer: I wouldn't say it's necessarily any sweatier than other backpacks that I've used. Your back gets saturated with sweat either way if you're working hard. One upside of the Alpha FL is that it doesn't get wet itself so once your base layer is dry you're good to go rather than re-absorbing sweat from soaked padding (which typically takes longer to dry than a rapidly wicking base layer).
In winter: can get a bit sweaty on the walk in, but same as other packs. Best solution I've found is Brynje base layers - keeps anything wet away from your skin so you feel mostly dry even if your other layers aren't!
Generally I love my Alpha FL - it's very light, super tough, waterproof and fairly comfortable with the sorts of loads you typically carry (up to ~12kg once you have rack / rope / crampons / pair of axes etc). Worth noting it's really a 33 litre bag with 12 litres of extension, and you rarely fully extend it as it gets a bit top heavy, so similar in capacity to the 37+. If I was buying now it'd be a tough choice between the two - the ME bag has a bit more flexibility in terms of attachment points which make it a bit more usable and is potentially a bit more comfortable based on the padding it has (would have to try it on though), otherwise they seem very similar so the Arcteryx bag would probably win on price (never thought I'd ever write that...).
Downsides? You have to pack it very carefully which is fine most of the time until you're in a rush in the morning and you shove everything into the bag only to curse yourself later. You do also need to be careful about managing spin drift getting in when the bag is open, plus take care with snowy items (e.g. your rack) being place back into the bag. Once the moisture gets in it's not coming out until you empty the bag and hang it up.
I love my Arcteryx FL45 as well. The only things I slightly miss is a pocket that's a bit bigger than the one it has which is tiny, and side compression straps. I would like a lid as well, just a thin light one to keep the rain/snow out like you said.
TBH the ME one looks like the better pack as it's added these features, and if I was in the market for a new pack now I'd probably go for that one.
Can anyone say how this is with skis attached? The video does show skis in an A config. but is it durable in the right places for that?
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