Reviewed by Reweiver from Minnesota on Sunday, July 7, 2013
Just finished 10 days traveling around the Costa Rican forests with this pack. Overall, I found it a great pack:
- Comfort with heavy loads: I have the Large pack.. which I believe is about 79 L. I had it stuffed, and had three sets of snorkel gear hanging from the sides. The total load was probably about 30 Kg. I used a smaller (35 L) pack for day hikes; so, I never had to walk more than about 3 km with the Baltoro at a time, but had I been hiking all day, I'm pretty sure that my legs would have given out long before my back started hurting.
- Hip pockets: It was very nice to have these, but they were a bit small.
- Water bottle pockets: Pretty good. The collapsible pocket is hard to stow again with a full pack. I also wasn't quite deep enough to hold my 1.5 L bottle securely. I wish the non-collapsible pocket was built from studier material. I was hesitant to use it to hold a pointy hammer that I needed to carry at one point.
- Hip belts: Generally pretty good. They did dig into my right hipbone occasionally.
- Popping sounds: Occasionally, I needed to grab the pack by a single shoulder strap (e.g. when passing it between two boats). When I did this, I would hear a loud "popping" sound, presumably as plastic parts in the suspension system moved past one another. Although nothing broke, I wasn't as confident in the pack's durability as I would have liked to have been.
- Side pockets: These were spacious, but could have used a little more structural support.
- Weight: I know, it's a trade-off - a comfortable, feature rich bag is going to be heavy.
- Thin side release buckles - I'm sure these are thin to reduce weight, but this is one place where I'd gladly sacrifice a tiny bit of weight for durability. I want flexibility from a pack, and these lightweight buckles didn't give me the confidence to use them flexibly.
- Attachment loops: There aren't any good loops to hang a carabiner up high on the pack. I would have preferred a very sturdy loop high up on each side. This was, perhaps, the most serious issue I had with the pack, as it made it hard to attach long objects, wider than a trekking pole, to the sides of the pack.
- Lack of PALS webbing: With the diversity of PALS pouches, sheaths, etc. now available, it would have been nice to have a few PALS attachment points. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of serious pack manufactures to include this.. Maybe it is too 'military'?, and it is a bit heavy, but the fact is, that it can be very useful.
Reviewed by Nhargos from Missouri on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Super comfortable even when undet heavy loads. Straps & waist belt have a lot of padding. The various ways into my pack, numerous pockets and straps & the removable lid gives me the ability to carry gear for any occassion.