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Brandon Benjamin

Brandon Benjamin

Brandon Benjamin's Passions


Brandon Benjamin

Brandon Benjaminwrote a review of on November 5, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had this pack for 5 months and I used it for ski mountaineering, alpine climbing, overnight hikes, and day hikes. I really like the design -- it's got a crampon/sandal/book pouch, it's got an intermediate pouch that is really (really) hard to find in an alpine pack, and it's lightweight. It also holds weight well, despite a pretty small padded waist belt (though, maybe not the advertised 50-55 lbs. -- more like 45 lbs max). The ice axe carry works well, as does the ski carry (A-frame). If you baby your pack and treat it like it's made of glass, stop here -- this is the pack for you!

I, however, will put my pack down and use it as a rope bag. I'll lean against it for a backrest. I'll scrape it against walls in narrow canyons (not purposely). I'll drag it up chimneys on alpine climbs, and I generally live under the principle: your backpack shouldn't need special treatment...within reason. I'm not going to put sharp things in it and get upset when they poke holes in it, or slide down a granite chute and be surprised that my pack is now scuffed. I consider that normal wear and tear -- nothing extraneous.

My issues with the pack began as early as a month after use. I had the stitching on the middle pouch blow out -- don't know how. Not explosive, but a good 2" segment of stitching was simply broke and unraveling, constantly making seam-gap larger. A 1/2" hole (hole!) in the bottom of the pack abraded through the tough outside layer, presumably from setting my pack down on granite. Most likely from the same activity of setting my pack down, the material around the frame corners was rubbed away -- top and bottom. The top is a mystery to me, the bottom is obviously a stress point when the pack is sitting upright. The lid had some manufacturing flaws in the stitching that made the stitch job look like a rat's nest (probably a one-off situation). All-in-all, I sent the pack back to MHW and they offered to replace it, or refund it. I took the refund. They're customer service was quick and efficient. As a company, I've got no complaints for MHW.

To be clear, the outdry material was pretty bomber. I didn't have any issues with it. And I really like it. Haven't seen that material on other packs, myself. And, admittedly, I have yet to find a design I like as much as the Direttissima 50, but I'll keep looking. I can't say I recommend this pack.