Light on the up, fun on the down.
Built to go light on the ascent, but still have the features to accommodate safety tools for an epic descent, the Patagonia Descensionist 32L Pack is the perfect backcountry touring accessory. Its nylon Cordura face fabric is puncture and abrasion resistant and the polyurethane coating offers protection from moisture so you can take the pack through the wringer. It's easy to load up the pack with the asymmetrical collar that opens wide and it's easy to access all your gear with the side zipper that lets you into the main compartment.
For comfort when hiking or skinning up, a high-density foam pack panel gives the pack structure and helps to support heavy loads. If you need a quick and light ascent, the foam panel is removable so you can make your way up the mountain with less weight. Snowboard carry straps and a diagonal ski carry loop make it easy to hike up to some beautiful lines and a daisy chain on the front of the pack offers ample lashing options so you have the gear you need to complete your trip safely.
- Lightweight, backcountry touring pack for days off the grid
- Nylon Cordura face fabric is puncture and abrasion resistant
- Asymmetrical collar opens wide for easily packing gear
- Side zipper offers quick and easy access to main compartment
- High-density foam back panel supports heavy loads
- Foam back panel is removable for lightweight pursuits
- Snowboard and diagonal ski carry straps included
- Daisy chain to front of pack offers lashing options
- Item #PAT02OZ
- Q & A
Lightweight Minimalist Touring & Ski-Mo
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I don't have a ton of time in with this pack yet, but here are my initial impressions:
A lot of great things about this pack. 32L size is perfect for day tours. Fabric has shown to be burly against what I’ve thrown at it so far (thrown down on rock outcroppings, hung against trees, ski edge abrasion in the A-Frame carry) and fairly water resistant too, though not waterproof. The spindrift collar opens wide enough for me and does a good job of keeping snow out. The side zipper is great to be able to access layers at the bottom of the pack without having to dig from the top. The foam back panel and suspension system give good shape and substance to the pack offering better support than I would have thought just foam would provide. Now this pack seems to fit me pretty well, so your mileage may vary if it doesn't fit you. You may want something with beefier suspension if you tend to carry heavier loads.
Now a few critiques that aren’t deal breakers for me, but may be for you:
A helmet carry would be nice, but you can definitely jerry rig your own using the packs daisy chains.
The bungee coord loops for securing probe and shovel take way longer to adjust than using the more typical sleeves in other packs. I’ve given up using them and just throw my probe in it’s bag and shovel in the pocket wholesale.
I have the BD Cirque as well and they are pretty comparable, this pack has a slightly thinner profile when packed full, which I like. I can throw verts, water, a down layer, extra gloves, and skins in the pack. The side zipper is a very nice feature as well.
Good Enough Backcountry Pack
The Patagonia Descensionist is a great durable pack. There are a few features I wish this pack had. There's no helmet enclosure to hold your helmet in place. There are a few straps you can use but then your helmet just dangles. Also there's no bladder hook or insulated strap for the hose. I would look at the BD Crique or Osprey Kamber.