Excellent except buckles...
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I took this up Mt. Rainier last summer. It was great for that purpose: light but roomy with good attachments for ice axes, pickets, etc. The side (ski?) things on the hip are a good stop to put a few biners with emergency gear.
I stripped it down for summit day: replaced the hipbelt with the basic strap, left the brain at camp. Both of these are excellent features for this style of mountaineering. The back panel has a really nice tear-resistant fabric (white part) that will hold up to crampon points.
OK the bad. Half way up the Muir Snowfield, my damn sternum strap attachment fell off. It's a small piece of plastic that worked its way off of the webbing. By the grace of god I found it in the snow 50 feet behind me and got it re-attached. Second, the main hipbelt buckle broke during a pre-Rainier warmup trip but still functions, barely. The pack was very new still at this point. I had to carry extra buckles just in case (not a bad idea in general, though). So I think the quality of the plastic bits is not exactly bomber. Perhaps I tighten things down too much, but still that shouldn't happen.
Also, the lack of a Nalgene-sized pocket annoys me. I did not want to carry a bladder on Rainier (hose will freeze) so I didn't have water between breaks. Looking back this was a bad idea - I felt a little out of it up high and I think this factored in. I'm going to try to add some sort of functionality for carrying water on the outside.
The comfort, volume, and functionality are great. Few tweaks and it'd be 5 stars.