User Review: ALPS Mountaineering Cascade 4200
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80
Lots of room. Lots of hidden extras. One or two questions about the stitching.
- Nice design
- Adjustable torso
- Questionable stitching
I purchased the ALPS Cascade 4200 on clearance before my first backpacking trip in February of 2011. Here's what I've found out about it so far.
First, I'm a short guy, and so having a pack with an adjustable torso is important. This pack works well for that, and the pack is very adjustable. It's a very comfortable pack although, for what the pack is, the shoulder straps could be a little bigger. The hip belts are comfy though, and that, to me, is more important (given that your hips are what bears the majority of the weight).
4200 cu. in. is insane. Probably more pack than I need. But they do an excellent job of balancing this weight throughout the pack, with a sleeping bag compartment below (my whole sleep system fits in there) and spacious side and front pockets. I can't imagine needing any more room in a pack unless I was packing stuff for two people. The lower portion of the pack also features a drawstring close-off deal that works well for separating your sleeping stuff from everything else. This also acts as a means to compress the stuff below, giving more room for the heavier stuff above.
So... the really cool things about this pack: The top part of the pack is removable, which is pretty standard. But hidden behind a layer of nylon are some webbing straps that convert this thing into a fanny pack. This, I can see, is going to be useful if you might be setting up camp somewhere and need a day pack to take out from your campsite. No extra bag needed.
Secondly, and far more useful, is that the rain fly for your bag is attached in a little pocket at the base of the pack. I didn't even know it came with the pack until I did some research and found out it was there. I actually e-mailed ALPS saying mine didn't come with a rainfly. They told me where to look. Voila.
So, here's why it only got 3 1/2 stars... I haven't used this thing nearly enough for the stitching to be as bad as it is on it. The rest of the pack is fine but my right shoulder strap is literally holding on by a thread. I'll be sending it in to get replaced as soon as I can. But otherwise the pack is really nice.
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