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Gear Review

3 5

Jury is still out

I'm still on the fence about this bag. Admittedly , my first mistake was to try to fit it like a conventional pack--don't! Follow the Black Diamond fit video, don't rely on the store to try to fit it unless they use the BD method. Otherwise you'll be in for lots of pain. Even though the hip belt looked fine from the front, the back sat lower than I was used to, and there's not really a lumbar support in the normal sense. Also, like the previous reviewer said, the shoulder straps don't unload off shoulders well, which becomes burdensome if you're carrying more than 35 pounds. However, I'm still playing with the straps to see if this can get better, and I think I almost have the magic formula--my last hike was much more comfortable. I agree that more lash points would be helpful, and I wish there was a smaller pocket inside the lid to help separate items. The retractable ice axe loops are a nifty feature. The pack is very roomy and well made, and light compared to similar size bags. I wish there was a way to better lock down the hydration tube to the shoulder strap (the little loop on the chest strap is too small to hook it in easily). The free movement is great and does minimize chafing, but unfortunately if dirt gets inside the ball bearing, the hip belt can squeak (annoying!). I'm still trying to learn to love it, but right now it's more like a high maintenance boss than my best friend.