Winter mountain walker/mountaineers – help me find an oversized backpack.
Context……Current favourite hobby is ‘adventure photography’ – I’m calling it that – might not be the right name. Basically pouring over maps and online golden hour sunrise/sunset apps to find promising scenes that can only be shot if you are prepared to overnight to be there at the right time of day then getting there by foot, bike, kayak or boat. Alone. Yes – a bit weird; but it brings all my fetishes together and gives them a name.
Winter means scottish mountain photography. I walk in and overnight for a couple of nights carrying enough kit to not get in trouble. Camping kit, enough food plus crampons and single axe and maybe snow shoes. Then a DSLR, a clutch of lenses and filters plus a pretty meaty tripod. As ever in the winter it’s a fine line between getting into trouble for being under equipped and getting into trouble for being overloaded. The photography kit pushes that. That’s part of the buzz.
I need a new rucksack – it needs to be pretty big – 70-75L should do it. But I want something simple and robust – a proper mountain bag not some flimsy backpacking bag covered is faffy features to fail in scottish winter conditions. For context this was my idea of rucksack nivana in the early 90s (not mine, just a photo off the internet but mine was exactly the same):-
Basically I need a winter climbing bag on steroids. Was going to buy one of these but they have just gone out of production (mountain hardwear south col 70):-
What would you recommend?Posted 10 months ago
Macpac for me, pretty much bullet proof and the fabric works out as near waterproof, the back system isn’t the most up to date but it is comfyPosted 10 months ago
I have lightwave rucsacks – very good indeed. Very light and robust and mine is 100% waterproof. also comfy and nothing has broken in a few years usage.
It’s getting on a bit now but I have a Berghaus Roc 70l bergen that looks very much like your pictured pack. It’s a military spec so bombproof but also very simple – single tube, with lid with a couple of pockets in it. Minimal straps. The modern versions are all over military kit dealer websites in one form or another. Berghaus vulcan I think is one, although that may be too big (you can remove the pockets though)
I also have a Pod Black Ice that comes in at about 60l, very robust but simple – again a simple tube with lid affair. Minimal straps again,Posted 10 months ago
How about an exped lightning?Posted 10 months ago
Second hand Karrimor like your old one.
My purple Alpiniste 65+5 refuses to die. Cordura for the win.Posted 10 months ago
Ha, Karrimor Alpiniste in the hall cupboard here too. Great sac. I rate Arcteryx these days, I’ve got 5!! Yes I have a sac fetish.Posted 10 months ago
Macpac canvas ones are tough as and great for carrying heavy loads. Torre I think might the sort of thing you’re after.Posted 10 months ago
F-stop do photo specific packs at that size.
Have a look at some of the new Lowe Alpine trekking ones. Deuter do some robust packs, likewise Fjall Raven.
Nordic brands in general seem to make more robust kit – if it’s fine for the artic it’s fine for the Cairngorms.Posted 10 months ago
I’d second the Crux bags everytime.Posted 10 months ago
It will outlive you. UK made by small company if that is important to you. Custom stuff also available e.g. if you wanted a dedicated tripod slot. (They make some mountain rescue stuff designed to hold oxygen etc). Best to call them and talk it through.Posted 10 months ago
I’m sure you’re aware of the the Master of all this stuff; what bag does MW use?
Thomas Heaton also has some interesting Youtube videos for this sort of stuff. Recent video on his kit, he’s using an Osprey Kestrel 68 backpack (though not in winter conditions). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crgHwR6agwU
Or get a smaller, lighter camera system, so you don’t need to carry as much stuff.Posted 10 months ago
For context this was my idea of rucksack nivana in the early 90s (not mine, just a photo off the internet but mine was exactly the same):-
If you want something along those lines, Macpac or Fjallraven will do you a pack that’s solid and robust with an okay sort of carry. Something from Lowe Alpine will carry a lot better ime and still be more than tough enough for normal mountaineering use. Unless you’re going to be pack hauling up multi-pitch walls, which seems unlikely.
The trouble with proper stripped-back alpine packs is that they generally carry in quite a basic way and lack useful features like accessible stash pockets etc. Which if you’re a stripped-back alpinist and prepared to accept some necessary discomfort to save weight / complexity but is, in all honesty, overkill for winter walking.Posted 10 months ago
I have a couple of Klattermusen packs which are bombproof and comfy. A bit spendy but they are real quality and different.Posted 10 months ago
Arcteryx Bora packs are good too, but eyewateringly pricey (I got a deal way less than RRP).
I have a Berghaus Bioflex C7.1 65+10 sack which has seen little use and is as new condition if it’s of any interest. Bought it to replace my Karrimor Alpiniste 55 (as per your pics) which had given me a good 20 years plus of service. Unfortunately my days of big mountain treks are now over and the Berg is just gathering dust.Posted 10 months ago
Following a recommendation on here I bought and have just received an Aiguille rucksack. Haven’t used it yet but it looks great and is fabulous in its simplicity.Posted 10 months ago
Second hand Karrimor like your old one.
My purple Alpiniste 65+5 refuses to die. Cordura for the win.
I had the 55+10 climbing one, used it for years teaching mountaineering then sold it a few years back, looked good as new. Amazingly over engineered (but was heavy).Posted 10 months ago
In the spirit of recommending what I’ve got, my pod black ice was 2nd hand to me and has been bomb proof. There’s an x-pod on eBay which has been there unsold for ages which looks like a bigger version of the black ice. Might be worth a cheeky offer 🙂Posted 10 months ago
Might be worth a cheeky offer
Thanks – looks perfect. Cheeky offer made!Posted 10 months ago
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