Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Expedition Pack - Sizing Difficult Awesome lightweight large pack for expeditions, I am 5'10" with a 19" Torso and I found the biggest miss Mountain Hardwear made in the redesign of this back was the elimination of a size Medium. With the average Male Height around 5'9" to 5'11" this does not make much sense to me as the overlap in the sizing is the average height of a male making the fit a little tricky. I originally bought a M/L and found that it was a little too long for my torso even I fall in Mountain Hardwear's torso range for the pack. I found the M/L road too low on my lower back and the shoulder straps were a little high. When I switched out for the S/M size it fit much better although it feels a little short and the angle of the load lifting straps is shallow. I own many packs and I have traveled around the world on many mountaineering expeditions. I bought this pack for a trip to Mount McKinley to replace my 10+ year old Gregory Denali Pro. I love the Gregory Denali Pro but at almost 8 lbs that is a lot of extra weight to be carrying. I have used the Gregory Denali Pro on McKinley, Aconcagua, and Vinson Massif and it has served me well. This pack is about 3 lbs lighter than the Denali Pro - and when you are going on large expeditions all of the ounces add up and turn into lbs quickly so the ability to shed 3 lbs with one gear upgrade is pretty appealing. On summit day having a pack that is 3 lbs lighter makes a big difference. There are some trade offs compared to the Denali Pro - the Denali pro has a far better padding and fit adjustments and flexibility but I have loaded the BMG with 70-80lbs and it carries fine. For winter expeditions you will typically be wearing a few extra layers so that helps with the fact there is less padding in the BMG. Fit - Rate 2 - Mountain Hardwear should not have eliminated the medium size. The other reasons I give the fit rating a low score is because the load lifting strap angles are not designed properly and the padding on the waste and shoulder straps is thin - this is OK if you have extra winter layers on. Weight - Rate 5 - As mentioned above this package is about 3 lbs lighter than the Gregory Denali Pro. The other pack to consider in similar size for an expedition would be an Arcteryx Bora Bora and this pack is still abotu 2 lbs lighter than that pack. Volume - Rate 5 - This pack has great volume and is sufficient for expedition style climbing. The bullet pocket on the back is a nice feature to give you easy access to items you might need during the day and is designed so when the main pack is stuffed it is not compressed or difficult to access. Features - Rating of 4 - Bullet Pocket is a great design feature - Outdry - this is a big plus I took this out on a training climb when it rained and the pack absorbed very little water on the surface and the inside stayed dry. The big plus is if the outside of the pack doesn't absorb water is keeps the pack weight down. - Main compartment - it is really just a big tube making it ideal for expedition style climbing where you can load and stuff a lot of gear in the bag - I am not a big fan of broken up compartments for expedition packs. - Crampon bag- this is a nice feature so you dont need to put your crampons in a main compartment or try to strap them on the your pack. THis make it easy to access. - Ice Axe holders - Mountain Hardwear did a good job leveraging teh bottom of the crampon pouch combined with straps to create storage for an ice axe - Pack Lid Cover/Pouch - The lid pouch is good with a safety compartment and clip. The only negative is Mountain Hardwear could have added a strap or velcro to attach the lid to the main pack at your neck. When the main compartment is empty and you use the lid pack to store anything it ends up slipping down and flopping onto the back of the pack - the real solution to this in the field is to just remove the pack lid and put it in the main pack compartment or to just leave it at camp since the only time this would be an issue would be on a summit day when the main pack is pretty empty - Hip buckle/Adjustment System - I like the design of the hip tightening system but the only thing that I dont like is that if the buckle were to break in the field there is no way to repair or replace it - which is not a good thing because a Expedition pack with a broken hip buckle could be either extremely annoying or even risk stopping your expedition.
Date published: 2014-05-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A step backwards I have used my BMG-105 for over three years now (the previous version). After inspecting the latest version at the REI, I have to state some observations. The old model has served me very well under heavy loads, with no excessive wear, tears, or broken buckles. For the meager shoulder and hip padding, it’s been almost painless. The twin straps, compounding at the belt buckle, make tightening the waist belt very easy and convenient (maybe you don’t need heavily sculpted waist padding if the top and bottom of the belt is being pulled by two straps). The new model reverts back to the same ‘one strap’ set-up used on most packs, unfortunate. The old model had the sleeping pad attachments (I had to add longer straps) on the back of the pack’s bottom, not under it like the updated model. How is one supposed to stand a loaded pack on a rolled foam pad? There must be room at the lower back of any pack to strap a roll, rope, or tent, not underneath it! The straps and buckles of the new model don’t seem as mitten friendly as the old one. I make my own crampon pouches out of ballistic nylon pack cloth, and I either strap them to the back or just under the lid, on top of the spindrift collar. The new model has a crampon pocket that is far too small for any crampons, therefore useless. The new model has heavy duty straps to support ski bindings, a great addition. However, what’s with the Velcro sealing the wand pockets? The wand pockets are not supposed to be secure pockets, such a hassle. It seems that the convenient pockets at the front of the pack have been omitted, which is a shame. The lid is easily removed to stow into the pack when only a small load is packed. This is one of the great things about the BMG-105, it ‘sucks in’ to a smaller pack better than any big pack out there. Remember the compression straps that ran underneath the old model’s rear pocket? They’ve been removed to make the pocket water resistant. But, at least the old design gave you a fighting chance of using the pocket when the main compartment was firmly stuffed. I guess one cannot have everything. The out-dry design of the new model is a gimmick. When I want to keep my kit dry, I use individual waterproof bags, inside the pack (items like a tent might not be dry when packed away). If the pack is sleeping outside during damp weather, I’ll put a very light pack cover over it. The pack retains a lot of places to affix equipment to. I’ve added proper buckles to the lid to secure my helmet. A mountaineer is looking for a comfortable, lightweight, Cordura bucket, and the BMG-105 is the best solution out there, almost. I hope mine lasts until the next generation because there are too many deal-breakers with the latest model.
Date published: 2015-09-21
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