Tag Archives: backpack reviews

Gear Review: Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

September 18, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Exos 58

Osprey Exos 58

Backpack
Osprey Exos 58
$220, 55L/3,356 c.i., 2 lbs. 8 oz. (small, fits torsos 16-19 ins.)
Sizes: unisex S-L (M 58L/3,539 c.i., fits torsos 18-21 ins., L 61L/3,722 c.i., fits torsos 21-23 ins.)
ospreypacks.com

When Osprey introduced the Exos pack series in 2008, it immediately became a leader—and helped redefine how we think about backpacking. It showed us that a backpack weighing under three pounds can serve the needs of everyone from weekenders to longer-distance backpackers and thru-hikers, and it gave ultralighters an option to the minimalist rucksacks that fill that category (which are “minimalist” both in weight and comfort). As a fan of the original Exos packs, I took the new Exos 58 out on recent four-day, 85-mile backpacking trip in northern Yosemite National Park, and a seven-day, hut-to-hut trek on the Alta Via 2 through Italy’s Dolomites in July, and concluded that Osprey has taken something that was very good and made it lighter and better. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Element 60/Elixir 60 Backpacks

August 7, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Element 60

Black Diamond Element 60

Backpack
Black Diamond Element 60/Elixir 60
$220, 60L/3,661 c.i., 3 lbs. 6 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s medium and large (62L/3,783 c.i.), women’s small (58L/3,539 c.i.) and medium (60L/3,661 c.i.)
blackdiamondequipment.com

On a June backpacking trip with my 13-year-old son to Alice Lake in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, I found myself clambering over four-foot-tall, slick, densely consolidated drifts of snow not yet melted out on the trail, fording a fast, frigid, and knee-deep creek, and tiptoeing over logs across the creek. In circumstances that challenge your balance, it’s nice to have a pack that feels like an extension of your body, rather than tugging you in a direction you don’t want to go. The impressively lightweight Element 60 did that, plus it has the capacity for longer trips and smart design details. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The North Face Banchee 65 Backpack

March 17, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face Banchee 65

The North Face
Banchee 65

Backpack
The North Face Banchee 65
$239, 65L/3,967 c.i., 3 lbs. 12 oz. (L/XL)
Sizes: men’s S/M and L/XL, women’s XS/S and M/L
thenorthface.com

On the second afternoon of a tough, three-day backpacking trip with my 10-year-old daughter in the Grand Canyon, I had to load up with 17 pounds of water for the final 24 hours of our trip—bumping my pack weight up over 50 pounds for the uphill grind to Horseshoe Mesa. I wondered how comfortably a sub-four-pound backpack could carry that load. But even with 50 pounds inside, the Banchee 65 floated on my back. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Reverb 18 Snow Pack

March 11, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Reverb 18

Osprey Reverb 18

Snow Pack
Osprey Reverb 18
$100, 18L/1,098 c.i., 2 lbs. 2 oz. (S/M)
One size
ospreypacks.com

You’re skiing or snowboarding at a resort, riding lifts, but the groomers have been totally carved up and even the off-piste snow in the trees is hash. So the only remaining option for finding untracked powder is to go where most skiers and riders don’t go: to the slopes not served by lifts, where you have to climb uphill under your own power. For that, you’ll need a lightweight, compact backcountry snow pack—one that has enough space for your safety gear but isn’t too cumbersome to wear while lift-served skiing. A pack like the Reverb 18. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped Glissade 35 Snow Pack

March 3, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped Glissade 35

Exped Glissade 35

Snow Pack
Exped Glissade 35
$229, 35L/2,136 c.i., 3 lbs. 2 oz.
One size
exped.com

Making a pack for backcountry skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing day trips that’s lighter than most competitors is difficult to pull off without sacrificing support or features. But several days of backcountry skiing with the streamlined Glissade 35 in Idaho’s Boise Mountains and Galena Summit area convinced me that it makes few sacrifices while delivering all you’d want in a snow pack. Continue reading →

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