Nick Mitchell wrote a review of Black Diamond Element 45 Backpack - 2746-2868cu in on November 10, 2015
Familiarity: I've used it several times
I've been a pretty big Black Diamond pack fan. I've had the old Octane for 5 years. Pretty great. The Nitro 26 is great, too.
A buckle on my Octane finally busted, and so I used this as an excuse to try something new in a larger pack. I've used this for 50-70 miles of hikes so far. Two huge problems:
1) The brain bag retention straps don't hold! After cinching them tight, a few minutes of walking and they've loosened themselves completely. I've wrapped these around the brain and knotted them, for now.
2) The bag is quite fidgety, with those top straps getting loose; the side pockets, as another reviewer has observed, are difficult to keep tight as well; the bag has a larger inner area, and a smaller outer area with webbed pockets and zippers. The whole design makes it difficult to quickly access much.
3) I'm 6'5", and got a Large. Maybe I'm just too tall for this pack, but the hip belts give me bad cinch burns against my hips.
4) [minor annoyance] The only pocket with a key clip is on the interior of the brain. This means that I need to undo the brain clasps in order to access anything that I have secured to the key clip.
Ugh, oh well, back to the drawing board. That was $180 wasted. I hate to be harsh, but I don't like this pack much.
Redeeming features: the moroccan blue color is great; the pivoting system of the pack is, as usual for black diamond, quite excellent.
Photo: sorry for the blur; wearing Fjällräven Greenland (good, not great), Mountain Khaki Broadway Fit Poplin (awesome); Fjällräven Byron Thin hat (awesome)