Alex N.wrote a review of Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry Backpack - 3975-4275cu in on May 14, 2015
Familiarity: I've used it several times
I looked long and hard before buying this pack- my needs were pretty specific, but surprisingly hard to satisfy. I was looking for a pack that had capacity of 65-80 L to be filled up with winter camping/ski mountaineering gear and get me to a destination, then be stripped down to be used as a summit/day pack. It had to have a good ski carry system, ice axe carry, and crampons holder. Finally, it had to be reasonably lightweight (4 labs MAX!!) and in general be able to withstand the abuses of ski mountaineering (trees, rocks, snow, etc.)
After spending several weeks looking unsuccessfully, I was preparing myself to go the way of expensive small bag makers like CiloGear, etc... then I came across this bag, which seemed to have been almost tailor-made for my purposes. I've now used it on two, two-day ski mountaineering hut and/or camping trips and it works exactly as advertised! The OutDry system really does work as advertised, as my most recent trip involved lots of rain and a small tent with no vestibule. And the dyneema on the crampons holder is bomber (and can also fit in a pair of ski crampons, nice!) and a nice touch.
Two minor gripes (but not worthy of removing a star):
A) crampon holder doesn't close on top. This is basically just an academic gripe, since I've never had an issue where my crampons would fall out (would require the pack to be fully upside down and shaking, in which case you have bigger problems).
B) There are no other tie loops for attaching a pad, etch to the outside of the pack if you're carrying skis. This has not yet been a problem for me as I've fit everything inside the pack (my preferred way to carry), but if you're up against the limit of what 70L can carry, then it could be a problem for you. Overall, right now, I prefer the clean look without gratuitous features.
So in summary, great pack for multi-day ski mountaineering trips, one of the only ones I could find built for this purpose, and at a great price too!