Vadim Kim wrote a review of Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack - 2319-2563cu in on September 17, 2013
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Bad things first.
- Major: weak pack's body materials. I'm pretty careful about my gear but after only 3 months of use - several rips on the main body and noticeable fraying on the reinforced bottom.
- Minors, that could be easily fixed:
sternum strap buckles detach from the shoulder straps under the heavy load (backed with patch of strap);
crampon strap attachment D-rings may rotate and partially slip through the straps while pulled tight, and then it is very hard to put it back (backed up with duct tape);
hip belt padding has two seams that create hot-spots right on the hip bones, in case of really heavy pack (solved with peace of foam pad).
Now the pluses. Perfect balance between simplicity of design and feature rich construction.
What I like:
+ Good tapered body geometry. Narrow back - cant feel it with my elbows.
+ Flexible. Fully expanded for approach - feels more like 60-70 liters pack, enough attachment points&straps outside for tent, pad, helmet, etc. For summit push - strip it down to nothing, roll-top closure rules!
+ Modular. You can detach every other block: top lid, padded hip belt (hide permanent straps-belt in the back "tunnel" if you dont need it), back panel (with or without metal frame), chest strap.
Note: there is no fast access external pockets in striped-down mode (the only one is on the top-lid), so if you used to - you will need separate one.
+ Burly but slim suspension system, really firm back, comfortably loaded up to 30+ kg (see negatives about hip belt above). Swingarm shoulders add noticeable degree of freedom on the trail and on the climb (I was a bit worried about durability as its a key point of suspension system, but now it looks robust). But YMMV.
+ Foam padded bottom protects both your gear and pack's material from hits and scrubs.
(Now my dream alpine pack: Speed40 reinforced with some techy dyneema/spectra/cuben fiber material).