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Climb like the pros with the guide-style Black Diamond Axis 33 Backpack. This ice-friendly workhorse features ice tool PickPockets, a three-point haul system, and a welded crampon patch for your more metal-intensive ascents. Slip in a bladder to help stay hydrated on your more burly approaches.

  • ErgoActiv suspension system features an innovative free-floating hip-belt that pivots with your body's movements for improved load stability and comfort when traveling over uneven terrain
  • SwingArm shoulder straps link each shoulder strap to the other by cable, which allows you greater arm mobility when placing a tool and greater load stability during your approach
  • Thermoformed, vented back panel helps keep you comfortable when things heat up during the approach
  • A tuck-away helmet holder and rope strap help you stay organized during weekends in the mountains
  • Ice tool PickPockets and welded crampon patch help you keep your ice gear organized during the pre-ascent mess
  • Hydration compatibility lets you conveniently stow nourishing liquids (although not the kind that come in cans and make your head feel funny)
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

What do you think about this product?

Have questions about this product?

Can't say enough good things!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love this Axis pack! I have used this on several crag trips now, a climb if Seneca Rocks in WV, and recently even a trip to Glacier National Park, where we did a glacier traverse, and tried to summit Chief Mountain.
No matter what you need this pick for it fits the bill. The ice axe holders, and rope system work great. The helmet holder is genius! This pack absolutely swallows gear it will hold all you need for a long multi pitch day, and carries very well on those long approaches.

My only gripe would be the lack of access to the top part of the pack when the helmet, and rope are strapped on. It is something easy to deal with though.

Everywhere Pack

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The simplicity of this pack is its best asset. I wouldn't recommend this pack for 2+ day trekking trips, but a solid single day pack for your next hike. If you're one of those people who likes to quickly zip open a pack, stuff all your needed gears, and dip out of the casa, then definitely go with this.

VERY bombproof, and the top zipper also comes with a couple accessory pockets so you can throw in some nail clippers, cliff bars, camera, your i phonr, or your wallet.

My only concern with the pack was its added bulkiness in the lower back. Theoretically the Ergoactive system does help with the free floating hip design, but it can be a slight nuscience at the same time. Overall, I love the pack, Black diamond keeps putting out the best of best!

Everywhere Pack

Hi Test,

The backpack itself fits great ergonomically on the shoulders and the torso. However, on the lower pack, Black Diamond uses their Ergoactiv frame which is supposed to be used as an elliptical ball joint that moves with your hips during your hikes. The shoulder harness works very well because you don't get that added friction since it moves with your body. It's very techy and definitely helps, but the 'ball joint' on the bottom of the torso can be a little annoying as it feels like a bump that's constantly up against your lower back just brushing up against it. But, at the end of the day it's all personal preference, if you're using the wrong size it can definitely cause a little nuisance if there's any chaffing going around, but if you're okay with a little bump against your back it works quit well with the movement you make. Hope this helps!

An Amazing Pack

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have used this pack climbing, snowboarding, hiking, going to the beach, alpine assents and hucking stuff to work. It is truly an incredible pack it hold so much more than your eyes tell you it will. It is also the most comfortable pack I have ever owned. The weight never falls on your shoulders even with 30 pounds of gear and water in the pack.

I would highly recommend this to any of my friends.

The most uncomfortable pack I've used

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've gone through several bags in my lifetime, but this one is definitely the most uncomfortable. It's too bad - I was stoked to receive this. The big lower back "pad/knob" that is the centerpiece of their "ergoactiv" system is horribly uncomfortable. It just digs into your lower back, and rubs around constantly causing a lot of discomfort, soreness and chaffing. After about 30 mins of hiking it just feels like a hard knot. The shoulder straps are also very thin and barely padded. Honestly, it's a horrible design - one that I believe is providing a solution to a problem that never existed. Traditional non waist rotating backpacks are WAY more comfortable than this. I've put 30lb in this pack and taken it a total of 18 miles since I got it, and I wouldn't go another mile with this thing. In fact, I just bought (for $99 on sale locally) a Deuter Guide Lite 32+ to replace this and it is incredibly comfortable. Deuter knows comfort. Black Diamond could learn a thing or two from them. I'm sending this back this week. Do yourself a favor and avoid this bag and go with Deuter - they are unbeatable in terms of function and comfort.

Sick Climbing Pack

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is an awesome climbing pack just big enough for all my gear. It has so many features and straps you can clip extra gear almost anywhere, it even has 2 gear loops on the hip belt for climbing. I can fit my 10.2 70M rope+rope bag, 12 draws,shoes, harness, waterbottle, snacks, guidebook, jacket, helmet in it, along with other stuff strapped on the outside if I need it. It is made of super durable material so it keeps water out and can take a beating at the crag. The hip belt and swing arms are very comfy for hiking or climbing. Love it! Not to mention it looks sweet

Sick Climbing Pack

Sweet Pack

    Probably my new favorite climbing pack!! I love how the belt moves with you, makes scrambling so much easier. The only down side is there are no gear loops inside so you just have to sort through everything in there and organize it when u get to your destination. not so bad if all is attached to a sling.


      In few words i had to buy quickly a sack because my bright new dynafit baltoro was uselles. So two persons with the same backpack we had to stop the first day of our skitour at Haute Route and go back at Chamonix and find new gear,hopefully we bought the axis 33 and at the end of the route after 6 days i have to say that is very good and i highly recommended it.


      Looks smaller than it is

        I was a bit worried when I got it that the Axis might not be big enough for what I bought it for. Having loaded it up for a day of ice cragging (tools, crampons, screws, rope, extra clothes, lunch, first-aid kit, helmet, harness), I can say that not only does it carry it all, it carries without a hitch. Its loaded with lots of little things, like the helmet pouch and the rope strap, that aren't quite perfect yet, but I fully expect BD to correct those in the future. For instance, I'd prefer that the helmet get strapped down on top of the rope, not the other way around, and the buckles to secure the helmet pouch are hard to find and operate. I'd really like to see a winterized version with an insulated sleeve for a drinking tube as well. Those are, however, for the next generation.

        I was also a bit skeptical about using a panel loader (all of my climbing packs have had top pouches aka "brains", and in principle it simplifies rope retention). The absence of such, however, definitely gives the pack a lower profile, so the whole thing climbs a lot better.

        So I've had it for about 8 months now and I have some gripes: first, both of the gee-whiz retention systems (e.g. helmet and rope) are non-removable. So if you don't want to stow your helmet or rope with those tools, too bad. Second, the material is pretty thin, so it really doesn't like sharp/abrasive rock. Third, the buckles for all of those gee-whiz retention systems are both tiny and hard to get to. Indeed, its a crap shoot whether or not I can get the helmet retention thing clipped in by even the third or fourth try. BD should switch to little webbing loops and those metal buckles found on crashpads if they want something that's low profile when the helmet piece isn't in use.

        I still love the pack, but its mostly because without those gee-whiz things, its still an awesome pack, so I just don't use them. I'd rather not carry them however.

        One major thing, if you're the sort who cuts handles off spoons and the like is that the hip pivot system is not removable, so if you're looking to trim weight for a summit push, this (and indeed, any of BD's Ergo-active packs) is not your pack.

        Also, all of the pictures show the pack as either black or Canary yellow. The yellow is actually more like acid green. If I'd known that, I would've gotten the yellow one. Its a slick looking pack, and I traded my black crampon patch for a yellow one and it certainly makes my pack more distinctive.


          C'mon this pack is possibly the sickest looking technical ever. The swing arm system is amazingly comfortable and makes long hikes a breeze. Main compartment has plenty of room although the bladder pouch is a squeeze for my full Deuter bag. Weird that the picture doesn't show the crampon pouch in the center of the pack. Using this baby for my increasingly frequent climbing trips and have gotten countless compliments.

          Best Pack I've Owned

            This pack is amazing. It's lightweight, comfortable and looks sick. The hip belt pivots on a ball joint so it allows for a lot more movement when you're hiking/climbing around. This is my main climbing pack and it'll be hard to go back to any other pack after using this one. Definitely worth every penny and a must have!

            Unanswered Question

            The pictures seem to be showing two different packs? The Cobalt, Fire Red, and Graphite seem to have some differences to the images showing the front side of the lime and black with green accents. Does Backcountry sell the version as shown in the lime and black/green packs?

            The tech specs say no for ski carrying....

            The tech specs say no for ski carrying. Is there an issue that I don't see in the picture for using the side compression straps to carry skis in an A frame?

            Im looking For A tough durable pack for...

            Im looking For A tough durable pack for hiking and other outdoor activites i want to use it as a daypack or one night pack and im trying to figure out if ishould choose this pack the epic 35 or the hollow point

            Best Answer

            Hey again Josh,

            For just a simple everyday daypack, the Hollow Point will do it for you effectively and at a lower cost, although it might be kind of small and too limited in its capacity for over nighters. For the over nighters, this is a better choice for the simple reasons that it has more capacity, has more features that help you organize and carry your gear, and it has a waist-belt and not just a waist strap, which will be much more comfortable with a load in it.

            Hey guys, I was wondering if you are able...

            Hey guys,

            I was wondering if you are able to access the

            main compartment with rope on top, or do you have to take the rope off to get to the inside?


            You have to take the rope off to get inside. One of my many minor gripes about this pack. Also, the rope retention system is really hard to operate with gloves on, so try to plan ahead and put what you might need in your pockets instead of in the top pouch or main compartment.

            Best Answer

            Perhaps the model has changed slightly now since this question was asked but just today I wondered the same thing about the rope being in the way. So I loaded up my pack and checked. The way the strap fastens across the top does hinder access to the top pocket given the rope lays over the top of the bag. However, you very much can access a loaded pack with the rope on top, but it has to do with how you fasten the rope strap. There is a haul loop on the front of the bag. If you web the rope strap through this, forget getting into your pack. However, if you simply wind the rope strap tightly, twice around the center of your rope and rope it back to the attachment point, omitting going through the haul loop, you very much can move the rope out of the way and access the bag. As long as you have the ends of the rope, which lay along the sides of the bags, on the inside of the compression straps, your rope isn't going to be moving around, and access to your bag is possible. That being said, there is no way (that I have discovered, that you can access your bag compartment with the helmet strap fastened. This pack is actually amazingly versatile. Just today, I loaded it up with a 70M 10.2mm (in it), 14 draws, first aid kit/fairly large survival knife, rock climbing shoes (stowed them in the crampon pouch on the exterior of the pack, a waterproof pack cover, trekker thermarest, a 2 L bladder, harness, tent footprint (used as a rope tarp), helmet, gri-gri/runners/ATC, and a second 70M 9.5mm rope (teaching others how to climb, side by side), a 11 oz rain jacket, and an arcteryx Atom LT hoody. I still had room for a few extras ( items I mean). Pack weight...probably at the upper limit, but it all fit. I also could have strapped a solo tent to the side. And with this weight, the pack is actually pretty comfortable. The extra rope on the sides did hinder arm swing a bit when scrambling.

            P.S. I checked out the BD Speed 40, Epic 40 and Epic 35, and this. Settled with this pack. Didn't care for the overly large lid on the Epics, nor the single lid tie down....a helmet under the lid easily slides out the sides (at least the way I had it situated...perhaps incorrectly?). The Speed 40 was great for a stripped down weight (different back rest/suspension system but still flows well with your movement...but you cannot close the lid in a drybag style in which is was intended if you get higher than the upper part of the pack. Made things move way too much for my likings..though I would have gone Speed 40 over the Epics for what I needed. Just saying but I'm no expert at all.

            looking for a pack to be my go to for...

            looking for a pack to be my go to for weekend sport climbing trips. Can anyone compare this to the BD Epic 35? thanks

            Anyone have any comments on this pack vs...

            Anyone have any comments on this pack vs the Osprey Variant 37 and the First Ascent Alchemist 40L? I want a pack that can do alpine hiking, but be useable for other hikes as well.

            If you are more of a minimalist go for the axis, (i personally love this pack) but if you carry more go for the alchemist...can't tell you about the varient...They all work for what you are describing....also check out the osprey stratos 36/34 these are going to be more vented than the packs you listed.

            I do like the Varient very much. Both of these packs are on the same level, straight forward alpine climbing packs. I've found in warmer weather it does not vent well, and with no zippered access to the main compartment you have to pack smart. From what you describe the uses you're looking for I would suggest the osprey kestrel or stratos as Hayden mentioned.

            How does the measurement CU ? relate to...

            How does the measurement CU ? relate to litres in terms of capacity ?

            I've owned a lot of 40L packs and when I try to cram everything I need for a day of cragging into this beast, it fits easily where before I was strapping stuff to the outside. So while yes, it is listed as 33L, I'd estimate that its actually closer to 45L.

            would this packs side straps be large...

            would this packs side straps be large enough to hold a pair of K2 backlash skis with marker F12 tour bindings?

            I'm undecided about this one and the BD...

            I'm undecided about this one and the BD Burn
            I want to use it for iceclimbing and multipitch. Any thoughts?

            how do you remove the waist band

            how do you remove the waist band

            There are two things you can remove, the band itself, or the band and then the back pad (the padded thing that is connected via a swivel to the bag itself).

            For the strap, after you untie all the straps that tie it to the bag, there are a few velcros that keep everything tidy. First, along the back strap, you'll notice sleeves on either side, through which the thinner strap goes through (the one you'd use to tie around you). Pull this latter strap out - there is velcro inside the sleeves you'll need to deal with. Then, the way the back strap goes through the back pad has a similar design (velcro). Once you deal with that velcro (push your hand through), you can pull the back strap through.

            This leaves you with the back pad still attached to the bag. To get this one out, you'll need a second pair of hands and a screw driver with a hex head (or, better yet, a crank handle screw driver). Ask your buddy to pull back slightly the upper lip of the back pad - thus exposing the connection and the screw. Unscrew it.

            This also allows you to pull out the back piece (plastic + metal frame), leaving you with the textile bag alone. It's probably unusable as-is since it has that hole in the back (where the pad was), but much easier to wash.