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Patagonia Ascensionist 40L Backpack

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    • Cave Grey


    11 Reviews


    A stripped-down pack for day climbs and alpine ascents.

    The Patagonia Ascensionist 40L Pack loves the idea of ice climbing in Ouray, ascending Aconcagua, or hiking for a week through Glacier National Park. The lightweight and totally bomber Cordura fabric is resistant against tearing and abrasion, while the PU coating fends off light moisture or precipitation. A high-density foam back panel not only provides structure, but it can also be removed when you're counting ounces, and the padding on the hip belt is entirely removable for your convenience.

    Keep in mind that this pack only has one point of access, so you'll want to put less-used items in the bottom, but the asymmetrical spindrift collar does have a girthy construction for easy access to gear and easy packing. The lid features a zippered pocket, giving you immediate access to items you'll be using frequently. The ice axe carrying system accommodates a wide variety of ice axe sizes and the daisy chain lash points give you external storage options when you don't want filthy ropes or mud-crusted crampons inside your bag. If you're only out for the day, use the compression straps to minimize bulk and maximize mobility.

    • Tackle peaks far and wide with this lightweight pack
    • Cordura exterior is durable and abrasion-resistant
    • PU coating fends off light moisture
    • Foam back panel is removable for fast-packing
    • Removable padding on hip belt provides a customizable fit
    • Top-loading asymmetrical collar provides easy access to gear
    • Pack is ski and ice axe carry compatible
    • Daisy chains provide additional lash points for gear
    • Item #PAT01PO

    Tech Specs

    Responsible Collection
    Certified B-Corp
    210D Cordura, PU coating
    40L (2441cu in)
    Waist Belt
    removable, webbing
    1 zippered lid
    Gear Loops
    yes, daisy chain
    Ice Axe Carry
    yes, ski carry as well
    Claimed Weight
    1lb 15oz
    Recommended Use
    climbing, hiking
    Manufacturer Warranty

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Most Mediocre Pack for its Type

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Lack of support on the back panel makes for an often uncomfortable carry. Carrying a rope is far less than ideal. The main lid buckle slides and does not cinch tight without sliding after only couple months of use. Half of the waist buckle disappeared into the snow after setting the pack down for a break. Ice tool securing system is sub par, maybe too lightweight, my tools rattle around more than i'd like. Will be replacing when i get a chance.

    Absolutely disappointed

      I bought this bag after reading everyone’s reviews, I feel like I was lied to. I discovered how flawed this pack design was while packing for a climb. I can’t give you a performance review because this pack was so poorly designed to carry a full climbing load, that I brought an old worn out Osprey pack instead. First off this pack has no frame so when you put your hydration pouch in the pack you have this horribly uncomfortable hump which throws you pack off balance. The hole for the hydration hose is annoyingly way to small, and is very difficult to get a standard camel back mouth piece through, and rather than coming out over the shoulder strap, it comes right out the middle of you back, so the hose sits awkwardly behind your neck. And once a full 3L camel back is loaded up, there’s minimal room for the rest of your gear. Another major flaw is the securing strap which keeps the brain secure. When the strap is pulled tight it slips loose from the bottom loop and comes completely undone. Poor design from Patagonia. I wish I could return this bag and get my money back.

      Traded in from old model ascensionist

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I was skeptical. I had and loved the old model Ascensionist 45L and it went everywhere with me. Here’s my thoughts on the new:

      Durability 10/10: good change! The material was prone to snagging under as much abuse as I put it through. My pack had multiple holes in it, both in the main part and the bottom. They have reinforced the bottom with foam on the new ones and the new material seems to be a much higher denier fabric. It probably costs some weight, though I think the pack is still lighter than the original.

      Downsizing 5L: This I was super skeptical of. I already was hard pressed to fit all my stuff into my old pack. They’re definitely slim packs. But let’s put it this way. I’ve been able to carry probably 50+ pounds of gear in this pack. You have to be a bit careful of how you pack and may end up packing more than you want to on the outside, but space can be finagled.

      Ice tool attachments: this is a net neutral for me. I don’t mind them, but it’s much harder to remove your tool when the packs on your back. They probably removed some weight here though. The key to the pick straps is to secure the pick before you secure the shaft, otherwise they’re not quite flexible enough. I do like that the shaft velcro is removable, but I would just lose them. But if you don’t need them you can just remove them.

      Frame and Frame slot 10/10: great job. The old packs frame was seriously flawed. This probably not only saves weight, but it makes for a great bivy sleeping pad (not actually kidding, it insulates well).

      Chest clip adjustability 10/10: good job. I point blank couldn’t move mine on my last pack so it was just really awkwardly placed on my chest (ladies you feel me here…). Good job. It’s now actually adjustable.

      Waist belt: from what I can tell, the differences are the little foam things slide on the actual straps and the gear loops are not covered in the little plastic things. I like both changes. It’s nice to be able to a) adjust the padding to cover your hip bones exactly and b) be able to move the gear loops to where you want them. I also like the lack of the plastic. It might hurt durability a bit, but I can imagine it’ll be less bulky when I don’t need the loops.

      Rain cover: one of my only down sides. I really liked the rain cover when I was over-filling the pack. To be fair, while cragging I never used it. But the point of this pack is to be an alpinist’s friend. And when I was playing alpinist I really liked the rain cover. I’ve compensated with packing my tarp or rain fly on top to play the same part. But it’d be nice to just have as it had a little cinch.

      Closing mechanisms: Alright this is petty. The old pack closure was on the pack itself, the new has the closure on the hood. It’s just taking some getting used to to pull on the right thing. Not actually a problem but irritating and a seemingly useless change. The cord often gets caught on ice axes/other stuff on the pack and can be irritating.
      What is an actual problem is the main strap. I would often lift my packed pack by that strap. If you pull on the new one, it doesn’t actually stay cinched, which I find really irritating. It should stay closed until you pull on the buckle itself.

      Cheese pocket: Ok its not actually a cheese pocket. But it’s a small, zippered pocked on the inside of the pack near the top. It’s a convenience when the packs not super full and incidentally fits a half pound block of cheese really nicely. It’s a nice little addition.

      It's an incredibly versatile pack. It expands for eight day expeditions, or compresses for casual days at the crag. Very well designed and comfortable. Don't be discouraged by the lack of a traditional hood.

      The Ultimate Crag Bag

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      So far, I have only been able to use this pack cragging around Utah, but I still have gotten some good use out of it. The main pocket has plenty of room for a harness, helmet, shoes, an extra layer, and two sets of quickdraws. My favorite feature though is how easily I can throw my rope under the lid and secure it down for the hike out. While I hope to use it for more technical adventures, this bag is pretty versatile for whatever you need it to do.

      Simple pack for climbing

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      This is a great pack for climbing trips - simple, minimalist, light, yet comfortable to carry as well. I got this to use on Mt Rainier and it was perfect.

      Simple pack for climbing

      Go To Alpine Pack

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      This pack is my go-to for any and all alpine adventures. The lightweight design and the added full length daisy chain allow for so much versatility. I will be heading down to Aconagua soon using this as a summit pack. I've also gotten some Winter overnighters in with just this pack and not having to worry about taking a separate summit pack as this pack is light enough to be that pack as well. I've also gotten many days in touring with it and the ski carry makes it perfect for a quick rappel if needed. You can macgyver a snowboard onto it, but if you use a split, you can simply use the ski carry option too. I haven't had any issue with the suspension system, even when fully packed out. I would definitely recommend this pack as it is not a one use pack, and can serve as a multitool pack for any and all alpine adventures.

      Feel free to reach directly out with any and all questions!

      Great pack

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I have the 35L and use it as a summit pack for Rainier, I wanted a slightly larger pack for Europe and climbing Mont Blanc, this thing was the perfect size for so many hikes and climbs I did for the 6 weeks I was in Europe.

      The straps and belt are very comfortable and I had zero issues with the pack being stuffed to its max.

      I had guys from the UK checking it out while we were in the Midi tunnel coming back from acclimatizing, They were really impressed with the features and the ease of how I was able to cinch it all back together after stowing all my gear back in it.

      Light Pack for Climbing & Skiing

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      So far I've only used the bag for getting to sport crags and backcountry skiing. It's super light and offers nice back distribution adjustments. The gear loops on the outside have come in handy when I need the extra room. It holds my skis well and there is plenty of room for rope, helmet, and gear. I wish the brain had more to offer; there is very little volume. It's really just a flap to tie down the pack. Overall, nice design and tough fabric. Definitely not the best option if you're only rock climbing, but I look forward to using it more in Ouray.

      Light Pack for Climbing & Skiing

      perfect pack for alpine climbing

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      I used this pack for a 1 month trip to CO including some ice, mixed, and rock climbing, as well as some day hikes up some non-technical peaks. It's a perfect size to fit layers and climbing gear for an day trip in the alpine. It is also a good size for a crag bag for my rock climbing gear. The fabric seems nice and durable, no signs of wear or abrasion after a pretty busy month. I found the gear loops and straps to be convenient and well thought out. (I particularly like the small elastic/metal pieces to lock down ice-axe & ice tools).

      The pack is probably a little bit small for multi-day trips (though you can manage if you strap enough camping gear on the outside for the approach). Also, the lack of external water bottle pockets and very simple design are perfect for climbing, but probably not the most convenient for general hiking and backpacking (though I used this bag on plenty of day hikes, and it worked quite well).

      Picture: getting into some ice on the dreamweaver couloir on Mt Meeker in Rocky Mountain National Park

      perfect pack for alpine climbing

      perfect size, much improved on the past

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I own several ascensionist packs, well pretty much every size, and these new ones are hands down, an improvement in some ways and lack in other ways. The 40L is an ideal size for the technical ski tours or longer alpine objectives, hut tours, or as a guides pack. You can easily get a full rack rope and helmet inside, as well as snow safety equipment if you are using it for technical ski mountaineering. It is lightweight and the new material seems to be more durable than on the previous generation. I do miss the spindrift collar for when you are trying to get as much in it as you can, as it did keep the weather out. Overall, it has been a great pack so far. I have used it extensively for the last several months, for those that have had durability concerns from the last generation. This includes multi day ski tours, overnight alpine trips, and technical ski mountaineering where the skis are on the pack a good share of the time. I can easily fit a probe, shovel, saw, full snow study kit, down jacket, first aid kit w/emergency tarp, an emergency sled, helmet, 30m rope, gloves, water, food, and other various items needed, all inside the pack with room for more, for a general idea of what it is capable of.

      perfect size, much improved on the past

      Light Is Right

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      This is a simple, well thought out pack that has all the features you need and none that you don't. At about half the weight of many competing products, the Ascensionist is an alpinist's best friend, providing dual ice axe loops, well padded straps that don't absorb water, a removable back panel, and a simple closure system with a couple zip pockets to keep track of the random nick nacks.

      Fully packed, the carry system was very comfortable, evenly distributing the weight and keeping things close to the body. I found that the waist belt would loosen a bit while touring, probably due to having a smaller waist and being pretty maxed out on the adjustment. I have a good friend who also uses this bag that hasn't experienced the same issue, so it may just come down to body type.

      I missed the extra capacity of the previous model as well as the spindrift collar, which allowed for some over-stuffing on bigger trips out. That said, with the dual daisy chains running the length of the pack there are tons of options for strapping down gear and tailoring it to your needs.

      All in all, a solid choice for a go-to alpine pack. The 40L capacity is dead on for a short multi-day tour or a bigger alpine objective. The pack never feels bulky and held up well to crampon points and ski edges. If you're trying to keep things fast and light you'd be hard-pressed to find a better bag for the job.

      Unanswered Question

      Will they be making a new version of the 45 liter variant? Or is this it's replacement?