Mike Cochranwrote a review of Arc'teryx Alpha FL 30L Backpack on November 1, 2017
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I love this pack and everything about it.
I have used this pack for both technical purposes (i.e., climbing and hiking) as well as just basic commuter/daily purposes and I find it works great for both. However, it clearly is designed, and excels the most, in the alpine environment.
(1) The pack is amazingly lightweight for its size (there is a caveat to the size I will mention later).
(2) It is incredibly durable and water proof. I personally have yet to tear a hole into this pack or managed to have any water permeate it whatsoever.
(3) Simplistic design with just enough support in its frame and straps
(4) The design allows it to hold tightly to your body, which is incredibly important in a pack while climbing.
(5) Easy to manipulate (i.e., open the main and external compartments, put on/take off, adjust straps, unclip waistbelt) in the freezing cold while wearing multiple layers of gloves. Hell, although I haven’t tried, you could probably do everything you need to even with mittens on.
(6) Ice axe/tool attachments are easier to use than traditional attachments
(7) Crampon straps work great. I thought my crampons would have cut these by now, but I have yet to have any issues. Also, you can use the straps for other things you need to attach on the outside (e.g., helmet, belay jacket)
(8) I actually find the key hook in the external pocket quite useful most of the time. That said, I am not carrying my house keys on me for big alpine objectives and haven’t found a use for it then.
(1) Expensive, but it find it is worth it
(2) It lacks the external attachment points that are found on the Alpha FL 45. I found these quite useful for the 45L version, particularly for attaching boots for approaches.
(3) The size is a bit deceiving, as the size in the name of the product is actually the size with the roll top fully expanded.