This post deals with backpacks which would be suitable for winter. Currently I have 3 backpacks, an old Karrimor which I don’t use now, a Osprey Aether 60, an excellent load carrier, but at 2.3 kg rather heavy compared to others now on the market with similar volumes.
Still the Aether is not to be dismissed as it is very comfortable and has a very nice hip belt. I think that given my recent issue with my knees, I need to carry as little weight as I can, but with due regard to necessary additional equipment required for winter conditions . Therefore I can cut my weight by looking at lighter backpacks and hopefully not lose features that Osprey packs have.
The third is my regular 3 season pack the OMM Jirishanca, which is 35 litre in size, made of lightweight Dyneema fabric and weighs 1040g. This great rucksack unfortunately will be too small for winter requirements (well at least for me).
So, what I am looking at ?
Three backpacks have made my list
A virtually waterproof backpack, weighing 1.25 kg with a maximum load of 18 kg, but best suited to 12-15 kg. The pack has a full pre-curved aluminum frame and what looks like an excellent hip belt. The pack had a good write-up in a recent edition of TGO.
A light weight pack weighing 1.2 kg, with the usual excellent build quality and features you would expect from an Osprey pack. The load capacity being around 15 kg.
There is a good review from Robin Evans – blogpackinglight on the Exos 58
3 . Golite Pinnacle
This is the lightest pack here, with an incredible low weight of 935g for a volume of 72 litres. The pack is made of Dyneema and has a comPACKtor system which allows the pack’s volume to reduced by the use of two fixed compression clips. The user can vary the pack’s size to suit the number of days backpacking. The hip belt is of a wishbone construction. I have read a number of positive user reviews on this back pack, and I am looking closely at this one over the others.
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I used the Pinnacle last winter, and found it an excellent bag to accommodate the extra bulk one carries in winter. There’s a review on my blog about it, and I can warmly recommend it.
For this winter I might try to get away with my Laufbursche 49l bag, but it is a big ? if it will be big enough to fit in all the gear & food for a 10 day expedition. Now in autumn it was fine, but I know that winter gear is bulky and I thus might bring it to its limits…
Hendrik – yes sorry, I forgot to add a link to your site on the Golite Pinnacle review last night. It was late when I finished my post. First class review of yours. For readers of this comment the link is
I’ve been using the mini me version of the Pinnacle, the Peak, and it’s my go-to pack. The Pinnacle is Chris Townsends fav pack and a mate of mine used one on both the CDT and PCT trails.
I would be in good company then:)
Looks like the Osprey Mutant for me as this year will see me move towards mountaineering which will require a different pack set-up. At 1.3kg, it’s not too bad although the Crux AK37 would be lighter at just shy of 1kg. However, as you can attest with your Aether 60 (I have a 70 for RTW backpacking), OSprey make packs that carry superbly well. They fit my back like a startled monkey and I love them. Think Robin also has a Ulta-Hike (http://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/lightwave-ultrahike-60/) and (http://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/ultrahike-on-bpl/)…
Maz – I don’ t know the Mutant, but Osprey are good packs, I just need a pack somewhat lighter than the Aether 60.
I’ve had an Opsrey Atmos 50 for three years now and I have to say its the best bag I’ve every carried, it is so comfortable. Although I have not used it with backpacking loads, I have certainley read TGO Challange reports and Blogs from people who have. Mine weighs about 1.4 kg.
Mike – nice pack, I bought one for my 14 year old son. He finds a comfortable pack.
another vote for the Pinnacle from me. I found it suberbly comfortable even when loaded with gear and food for my recent four day trip. Tent fits in the front section so main bag can stay closed in bad weather I don’t miss the pocket in the lid as the hip belt pockets are plenty big enough for stuff you need close at hand. I (perhaps a bit hastily) cut the compacter straps of as i didn’t think i needed them and they seemed very long and made the pack look untidy and cluttered.
Karl – thank you for letting me know about the attributes of the Pinnacle. Big thumbs up by quite a number of people. This is the pack !
I’ve always been a bit sceptical of frameless packs, perhaps because of my experience with the Golite Trek.
I’ve got mixed feelings about the Exos. It tends to pull you backwards a bit.
I’ll do a full review of the Ultrahike soon. It is a very good pack and carries well. It’s not perfect though. My feeling is that it ought to carry heavier loads better than the Pinnacle because of its frame, but I’ve not tried the Pinnacle so I can’t compare.
Robin – I have had a good experience with my Jirishanca. I have just posted up my initial impressions on my latest purchase – the Pinnacle. I was seduced by the low weight, massive size of the pack and the good reviews – I hope I have made a good choice ! I will be interested to see your review of the Ultra hike – my second choice.