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.