User Review: Arc'teryx Needle 55
Size: 3600+ fully extended
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 40lbs
Height of Owner: 5'-11"
Price Paid: $220 (Canadian)
The most versatile pack I have ever owned, and I have owned many. I have loaded it up with some very awkward, heavy (40 lbs max so far) loads such as 3-5 days' worth of full winter stuff or, in the summer, AT skis and boots and three days worth of gear, and it still carries quite nicely. It is decently light (see below) while being quite durable. The inside of the main sack is a light colored and very tough fabric which makes it easier to find things in the early morning hours. It has a nice hollowed out section behind the head which vastly helps to improve ones ability to crane the neck while rock climbing with a helmet.
Although there is a single central main sack there is also a generous, easily accesible back pocket which is perfect for skins or parka or food. The lid also has two pockets. All the external zippers are waterproof and the pack can be stripped down for a summit day pack. One can easily remove the lid pocket, the frame sheet/alum stay assembly and the padded hip belt. When this is done the total pack weight can be reduced from 4.1lbs to 2lbs even. Not bad at all for 3600+ cubic inches.
Even in this stripped down configuration it can still comfortably carry a day's worth of stuff including the skis and boots. In this mode it does help to make your own 1" waist belt to fit into the tightening strap fittings which normall suppliment the padded hip belt.
Although I bought the Needle 55 in Canada two years ago and, because of the exchange rate then, picked it up cheaper, it would still be worth the $270 it typically costs in the States. Without reservation I recommend this pack to anyone who wants a light, versatile multi-day climbing or skiing pack which can hold up to a lot of abuse.
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