Black Diamond Speed 40
Price Paid: $150
The Black Diamond Speed 40 is a good pack. I purchased it in the summer of 2010 and have used it on 6 or so trips since then, including two overnight mountain snow climbs, and one 3 day hike through Canyonlands National Park.
I generally find the pack to be well built, with good materials selection. The sewing generally seems robust, although, there is some stitching coming undone on one of the shoulder straps.
The greatest criticisms I have of the pack are of the suspension and frame systems. It is best to keep the weight of the pack under 20 pounds or so. I have twice loaded it to about 30 and have found the pack not suited for this. The straps are thinly padded have caused a rash on my shoulders more than once. Also, I am not a huge fan of the frame design. It seems to work, but I am afraid that it could easily get bent out of shape.
Recommended Use: Intensive day hikes and summit attempts or overnight and weekend trips with limited gear.
Price Paid: $90
Having been in the market for a light summit and high country lightweight pack for up to 3 days out, with minimal and lightweight gear, I decided to try the new version of the Speed 40.
So far so good. There are packs with better airflow against your back but they are all 3.5lbs or more. If you keep the weight under 20 lbs this pack works very well. Have not used it for hard climbs yet but feel it will work well for what I bought it for. Light weight and solid features and build.
I cannot give it five stars at this time due to the short amount of time I have owned it and the lack of super hard trips it has endured.
Update: June 8, 2011
Purchased this pack in 2009 and have used it on roughly 30 or so hikes and climbs. The name Speed is all about its light weight so if you read about it seeming a little wimpy remember that it was designed to hold the weight down, not be a major hauler.
Have been very pleased with this pack when I use it for what it was designed to do. From day hikes/climbs to lite over nighters and even up to 4 days out I have been very pleased. Well built and designed to get the job done simply.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
The streamlined Black Diamond Speed 40 alpine backpack is prepared for technical terrain. The sleek Speed 40 offers enough space and padding for 30 pounds of gear and tools, ideal for missions with long approaches that require an overnight. For the final summit push the modular Speed 40 strips down to under 2 pounds. Thermoformed vented backpanel Top-loading bag with roll-top closure Patent-pending reACTIV(TM) suspension and SwingArm(TM) shoulder straps that offer true freedom of movement Padded hipbelt, 4 mm aluminum frame, framesheet and top lip are removable, converting the Speed 40 into an ultralight roll-top-closure summit pack IceLink ice tool attachments 3-point haul system Welded crampon patch Hydration compatible Compression and load lifter straps
A streamlined strippable alpine pack for lightweight mountain missions, the Black Diamond Speed 40 now features SwingArm shoulder straps, which offer true freedom of movement.
Key Features of the Black Diamond Speed 40 PackPatent-pending reACTIV suspensionSwingArm shoulder strapsThermoformed, vented backpanelRemovable top pocketRoll-top or internal skirt closureIceLink� tool attachments3-point haul systemWelded crampon patchRemovable padded hipbelt4 mm aluminum frameHydration compatibleBlack Diamond Speed 40 PackThe � Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack comes with plenty of climber-friendly features to accommodate your needs. The pack boasts a cavernous main compartment, removable lid, and inverted teardrop design. Speed 40 Pack introduces the reACTIV suspension system that blends fixed shoulder straps with an ultra-responsive, floating hip-belt that responds to your body's movements for greater comfort and stability. It uses a passive pivot mechanism that allows the pack to move with your body, a feature that's accentuated by floating shoulder straps that lets the pack weight to naturally adjust to your every move. SwingArm shoulder straps link each shoulder strap to the other by cable which allows greater arm mobility. Its thermoformed, vented back panel helps keep you comfortable in cold weather condition, while its roll-top closure with removable top pocket allows you to throw in last-minute essentials. Hydration compatibility means you don't have to fumble for a frozen water bottle at camp. The IceLink� tool attachment and � welded crampon patch help you organize things by efficiently lugging your ice gear wherever you go. If top quality is the thing that you demand, then Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack is the way to go.
The Black Diamond Speed 40 pack offers strippable, lightweight performance that excels during fast alpine forays. reActive(TM) suspension is optimized to carry light loads over long distances. Thermoformed back panel is vented for enhanced air circulation. SwingArm(TM) shoulder straps move in concert with a hiker's stride or a climber's reach by sliding through the bottom of the pack with a low-friction cable and housing. Shoulder straps are linked to the other by the cable which helps maintain an even, balanced load across the shoulders. Removable, padded hipbelt has a floating, pass-through design that flexes smoothly and allows comfortable mobility in all directions. 4mm aluminum frame and framesheet offer stripped-down performance. Removable top pocket lets you pare down weight when you're heading for the top; main compartment features a roll-top closure and internal skirt. Internal pocket holds hydration reservoir (sold separately) and provides hands-free drinking on the trail. Side compression straps secure and stabilize both large and small loads. The Black Diamond Speed 40 pack features IceLink(TM) tool loops, a 3-point haul system and welded crampon patch.