Rated 2out of5
fromDesigned for urban use With a name like "Alpine Explorer," I expected a pack more conductive to outdoor activities. However, aside from the name and having a 3L water bladder, I don't think this pack is designed for outdoor use at all.
The shoulder straps have minimal padding. The belt strap has literally no padding. It's just a flat band that goes around your waist. Furthermore, it does NOT have loops for trekking poles, ice axes, ties, or basically anything at all.
The only use I have for this expensive pack is to carry my laptop and extra change of clothes for weekend trips to visit friends at their houses in the Bay Area. In other words, do NOT buy this backpack if you intend to use it for outdoors activities like hiking, climbing, or mountaineering. (I feel like you've probably already figured that out by looking at the bag, but I have to say it anyway just to be sure.)
I will say it has great capacity for these urban trips to friends' places, but that's not what I expected of the pack.
If you're looking for a similar pack that's actually meant for active outdoor use, I highly recommend the Camelbak Fourteener. (I purchased both at the same time, and I love the Fourteener--see my review of it for more info.)
Date published: 2012-04-26
Rated 4out of5
fromDecent Pack Got this pack a while back on sale for some back country snowboarding. Water capacity is great, easy to fill and the water reservoir doesn't move around due to the integrated hanger.
I've only used it for snowboarding on top on my snowboard jacket, which is quite thick. Stays tight against the back and the extra straps ensure I can make it as small as possible when partially loaded. Even room for (small) snowshoes in the outer most pocket.
The padding on the shoulders isn't very thick, and non-existent on the hip strap. Probably wouldn't be using this for long hikes.
Cons, the place where the shoulder straps meet the belt strap ripped on the first backcountry trip I did. Still secure, but I'm going to have to sew on something to make sure it doesn't part further. This may have been due to me wearing it over my snowboard jacket. Worth noting though.
Bought on sale it isn't a bad pack. If hiking was my goal I would invest in something better though.
Date published: 2013-02-17
Rated 4out of5
fromJust what I was looking for. I was worried it would be too short for my long torso(21" or so), it is fine. The removeable waist belt is a good idea for these type of packs. The big front flap pouch is a neccessity for me, and one of the reasons I bought this pack. Perfect spot for a handgun, jacket or extra food.
The only thing I don't like is that the hydration hose could be a little longer, this may not be a problem for shorter torso people, and I can live with it the way it is.
Date published: 2013-04-10
Rated 4out of5
fromA good buy for this price range We bought this to do 1-3 hour long hikes on average as we have 2 boys ages 5 & 18 months. It's been in use twice & so far we are happy. I like that it has an extra flap on the outside to hold anything wet. The next step up in price seems to have too many pockets & nooks/crannies.
Date published: 2013-05-22
Rated 4out of5
fromAbout what you'd expect I'm an avid day hiker and an EMT, and like to carry a pretty well-equipped first-aid kit with me when I'm out. I recently volunteered with a local civic group that ran a "boot camp" for at-risk teens and purchased this pack to carry my normal first aid kit, plus the kids' emergency medicines and some extra gear. It proved more than adequate for my needs. I used it all weekend at an outdoor obstacle course, on several hikes, and while rappelling.
My pros: big, expandable, comfortable on the shoulders, 100-oz. reservoir is big enough that I only had to refill once during the day. More than big enough to carry an oversized first aid kit, emergency medicines, a spare full bladder, and rappelling gear.
Cons: It's big. If I didn't carry as much lightweight bulky gear as I do I'd want a smaller-profile bag. I also had trouble getting it stable on my shoulders, and getting the straps to stay once I had the pack secured. The pulls on the shoulder straps have a tendency to loosen under a load. This was particularly disconcerting when the pack started to come loose while I was on a rock face.
Since the "boot camp" I've used the pack for several day hikes and found it more than adequate for my needs. I'm able to carry enough water and snacks to go for miles and miles. Once you get it dialed in just right on your hips and back (if it stays there) it feels good. I usually use a more minimalist Camelbak pack for hiking but have sold it and moved on for good to this one.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5out of5
by IB Hikin'
fromExcellent day hiking pack I bought this a few weeks after my wife bought a new Trinity pack, and absolutely love it! The pack has a ton of pockets and spaces to allow for all kinds of gear and accessories to be easily accessible along the trail. I was surprised at home much gear I could stuff into this pack, and cannot see myself running out of space when using for day hikes.
All materials used are high quality, and the pack is made well. No stitching coming undone or frayed, and the zippers are nice and strong. I've brushed up against rocks, boulders, and bushes, and see no signs of wear or 'picks' in the fabric.
My only complaint would be that towards the end of the day, I feel the water in the bladder tends to get a bit of a 'plasticky' taste....maybe its psycho-somatic, but my wife says the same thing happens with her Trinity pack too.
All in all, this is a great pack and am glad I made this purchase.
Date published: 2013-02-26
Rated 5out of5
by Vino Vampire!
fromSolid I've been looking for an ideal daypack for a few years. I hike and backpack year-round in New England, but I've never had a daypack that suited all of my needs. After a few weeks with this pack, I think I've finally settled on a winner.
This pack fits well. This pack holds just the right amount of gear and food for a full 12-hour day of hiking. This past weekend I used the pack while doing some volunteer trail work. In addition to my normal gear and food, I had all sorts of saws and tools attached to the pack, and it remained comfortable and well-balanced.
I'm excited to use this pack this year and really put it through the paces. At this point, I'm loving the Alpine Explorer.
Date published: 2013-05-19
Rated 5out of5
fromI love this pack! I put off buying this pack as I'm a bit of a Bag Man. This just means that I'm constantly buying different pack and bags. I have a pack for every occasion. For instance, I have a CamelBak Mayhem for biking/hiking, a Pit Boss (back and side country) and 3 Scorpion packs (resorts) and an Oakley Ski Pack for snowboarding. I also have numerous duffles but that is another review. So as I was saying I have bought a lot packs and was trying to hold off buying any more but REI had a sale and I promised myself this would be my last pack until the pack I have start to fall apart.
I have no regrets about buying this pack. Lightweight, durable, numerous pockets and storage space, not to mention 100oz of water. And the thing I value the most: comfort. I don't want an uncomfortable pack when I'm planning on a 4-6hr hike. The breathable mesh and air channels on the back keeps me cool as well. The 2 side mesh pocket and large flap pocket are great for stowing/retrieving things easy. I do miss the loops on the shoulder strap that my Mayhem has which I use for my GPS but I've improvised. I also love the rip cloth material, it repels water and dirt on light days. I bought a rain fly for it just in case of downpours.
Date published: 2013-10-19