Gear Review

5 5

Comfortable and tough

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

We’ve owned an Aircontact SL pack for over a year now and love that’s it comfortable and also tough as nails. My husband and I both use this pack – I’m 5’5” and he’s 5”11”. I really like the SL fit in the hips and chest. The pack has an adjustable strap behind the back that lengthens the torso for my husband. It’s padded in all the right places and my back stays drier than other packs I’ve worn.
We use this pack primarily on climbing approaches or single-night backpacks. When our daughter was born 2 years ago, we realized we needed a bigger pack for the three of us to go climbing or backpacking. The Aircontact hauls the rope, rack, and adult clothes for climbing or the camping gear if backpacking. I'll load my husband down like a mule and the pack can definitely handle big loads and still carries great. I really appreciate the SL design for comfort and agility on uneven terrain.
The pack definitely has Alpine features on it, more than the average thru-hiker backpack. It’s got straps for ice axes, trekking-poles, a rope, daisy chains on the back, and has tough fabric throughout for surviving encounters with rock and gear. We love the various compartments and access- you’ve got a big bottom compartment the rack and harnesses, vertical side pockets for maps, snacks, fly boxes or rain layers. The main compartment is accessed by the top or –even-better – through the back zippers. You can lay the pack flat and have access to anything in the middle! The top lid is easy to take off – so you can drop some weight is the pack isn’t maxed out.
The pack is tough and durable; we’ve had a Zion-sized rack of cams in it, bushwhacked through sharp mazanitas, thrown it at the base of crags, and done some butt and back dragging descents. All the features add weight to the pack, so it’s not a minimalist’s dream. But we find the organizational features really help with our three-person circus; and the other straps are so useful.

Comfortable and tough