by ZeechfromGreat ideas with poor excecutionI bought this pack for a variety of reasons.
• Brand History
While all of these look good on paper, a lot of them fall very flat in practical application.
This pack is really lightweight and very comfortable with a lighter load of around 40lbs or so. I carried 55lbs and it seemed to exceed the conform level for how the pack fit me. Load lifter straps didn't even work.
The lashing features for ice axes or tools on the outside is really great, top notch security. Though the front panel section gets very floppy when using the horizontal compression straps inside the front pocket.
The top pocket at the rear (not on the lid) seems great for getting things in and out quick, but when loaded with anything it sags into the pack collapsing it making it almost impossible to load. It also snags on things inside and you have to constantly pull it up and out or you will lose vertical space in the pack as it can't expand all the way. This pocket also covers almost nothing when using it as a summit pack, it's too narrow and allows water and the elements to seep inside. Boo.
The drawcord on mine to cinch the top wouldn't go full tight, it left about a 4" diameter hole in the top, this should cinch completely tight and close.
The pseudo hydration pouch is also a terrible design (if that's what it's meant for even?) It's right inside the main compartment, not in a secondary area like most others, so when you drop a bladder in there it fills an enormous amount of space inside the main compartment. It wastes this space and makes loading the pack very difficult to load properly, and if you load up the pack and forget to put your bladder in, you have to unpack the entire thing, put it in then repack it.
Front pocket Part 1:
If you decide to load the main compartment first, the front pocket is absolutely worthless as you can't stuff anything in there after, so make sure you load up anything and everything you can anticipate needing in there BEFORE packing the main.
Front pocket Part 2:
Loading the front pocket is like playing a game of logic. As mentioned in the cons, this pack comes with no instructions or tips on how to use the absolutely massive amount of webbing straps and buckle systems for different types of packing and compression. A set of straps comes inside the front pocket for I assume compressing the contents of the main compartment which seems good in theory but fails in the real world. I did this and then loaded the front pocket, then put on my two ice axes. The compression within created an enormous amount of slop and play in the black material that connects from the white area to the actual pack which caused my axes and helmet to move no less than 6 inches back and forth while hiking. You know the feeling of something bouncing on the pack? Yea. Terrible. I didn't seem to have this problem when using the same straps on the outside of the pack which was fine, but I lost a lot of the compressibility of the main compartment.
The pack was pretty comfortable loaded with about 55lbs though to be honest the fit seemed weird. I'm 6'1" and 170lbs, I got the medium cause I didn't want huge shoulder and waste straps. Maybe I have a longer torso but the load lifter straps we worthless because they weren't even above my shoulder blades which caused discomfort. And there is no way to move the hip belt up or down to get them any higher.
If you plan to use this as a summit pack, make sure you NEVER take out the frame stay. The pack was absolutely worthless without it. The back panel buckles digging sharply and awkwardly into your back which also causes the hip strap to ride almost up to the bottom of your sternum. Very uncomfortable during a climb. I would take off the top lid and replace the hip belt and that's it.
I had the pack loaded up pretty good and it got a small tear in the side from where something smooth was inside. Bummer. This should not happen.
Overall I don't know what to think about the pack. I want to like it but all of the shortcomings made for a miserable experience of 4 days backpacking and climbing in the North Palisade. Having to unpack and repack was a pain every single time. I will continue to search for something better.
I would recommend this to people carrying mild loads of max 40lbs and who just like to backpack. Not really the greatest for mountaineering and serious gear. Would love to see Mountain Hardwear fix these issues.
Date published: 2012-07-24
Rated 3out of5
by gearhead88fromgood basic pack but quality issuesI have used this pack for over a year for backpacking and climbing. I like the idea of the pack and love the fact it is so lightweight. The pack is pretty easy to pack, but on my winter backpacking trips I found I always had the pack in it's extended mode throwing it of balance. However, The largest problem was the chest strap; it kept coming completely off the backpack during the most inconvenient of times. While I was climbing to camp Miur it fell off multiple times. In addition, the system for reattaching the chest strap is very painstaking and took a lot of my time. On one of my winter backpacking trips the rear strap holding the top pocket ripped out causing the whole top pocket to fall off.
The top pull cord catches making the pack difficult to close.
There are needlessly too many lose straps on the top of the pack.
Nice ice ax attachment.
large snow shovel compartment.
Comfortable to wear.
Good waist belt.
Large top pocket.
I bought this backpack for backpacking and mountaineering. It only preformed mediocrely for both. I returned this pack this morning and am so glad I switched to the Osprey Xenith 88.
Date published: 2013-07-08
Rated 5out of5
by winfinitfromvery comfortableamazing backpack, I was able to perform fairly complicated hiking route with extreme elevations ( both up and down ), and had no issues. backpack weight during that hike was about 30lb, and i didnt even feel for a moment that i wish i would pick something else.one criticism, is that you have to buy rain cover separately, and even though it is [$], i think it should of being included with this pack due to its price tag.another issue is single zipper, so you cannot get to your content at the bottom, you have to take everything apart. and final wish, is that this pack would come with a little more instructions, so you can see what certain things are intended for, as i couldnt figure out for the life of me, why the heck certain straps were setup the way they are.all in all, it is awesome backpack, that i would recommend to pretty much anyone
Date published: 2011-08-05
Rated 5out of5
by Wine GuyfromIt's a Mountaineering PackAnyone considering this pack should understand that this pack was designed for mountaineering and not just casual family treks. The pack will get large loads to camp and then strip down for summit day. It's a fantastic pack for it's intended use.
Tip: Do Not wait until summit day to remove the framesheet because the first time it's such a tight fit that it's very time consuming. I actually ended up trimming mine so I could adjust my pack faster. Trying to do it for the first time in a cramped cold tent would be pretty rough.
Date published: 2011-10-01
Rated 2out of5
by Ian in SeattlefromIt Could Have Been GreatI wanted to like this pack so much, but there are some very frustrating aspects. I've taken it on numerous long day and short overnight technical glacier and scramble climbs in the Cascades this year, including Rainier and Shuksan. I'm already in the market for a replacement.
Pros: It's extremely comfortable, seems very durable, and very lightweight (< 4 lbs) for a supposed 70L.
The outer "shovel" pouch is pretty useless. There are some lateral compression straps that run through it, I think the intent is to load up the main pouch and cinch these down, which should free up space to use the outer "shovel" pouch for a snow shovel, crampons, or technical gear. In my experience, this doesn't work at all. You can't get to the cinch straps as you load the pack unless you re-clip them on the outside of the shovel pouch, which defeats the purpose. If you load up the pack for an overnight trip, there's just no room to use the outer pouch. Long story short: The shovel pouch seems like a ton of unnecessary weight that can't be used.
The top flap is removable, but this seems unnecessary for just a few oz of minimalist weight savings. I've never removed it.
The drawstring cords don't work, which is crazy. You can't cinch down the two drawstrings to the main pouch very far without the material getting bound up. Other reviewers complained about this, very weird for MH.
I found the ice axe lash loops (top and bottom) to be complicated, why don't they just use a normal old fashioned loop? They get the job done, but are annoying.
The hydration pouch competes for space in the main pouch, and if you stuff the pack full it put enough pressure on my camelbak that my reservoir was dripping the whole trip.
I found it very hard to use the side straps (supposedly for skiis?) for even a rolled-up ground mat or trekking poles when the main pouch is fully stuffed.
For a single overnight trip up Rainier with pretty light and compressible gear, I barely had any room to spare, the dimensions of the main pouch seem off, like it's too shallow and narrow (front to back) and yet doesn't extend up very easily. I have friends who seem to fit more in a 40L.
Sizing: I got the Medium after trying them on (I'm 5'9 with a longish torso) and it is too short, but the Large was way too long. Tough in-between size for me.
Date published: 2012-09-19
Ask a question and have it answered by REI product experts and fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Need immediate assistance? Use Live Help.
Loading Questions & Answers...
Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 Pack Customer Reviews