McHale Critical Mass SARC Alpine II Bayonet
This is the second of two packs that I have had Dan…
Size: 4800-6000 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: Two
Max. Load Carried: 45 lbs. Just Getting Started
Height of Owner: 5-9
Price Paid: $579
This is the second of two packs that I have had Dan McHale from Seattle, custom build for me. Ths first, a SARC, I reviewed a few months earlier. Being that this pack was so comfortable and well built, I ordered a larger, fully adjustable pack for the combination big loads and summiting.
This Alpine II Bayonet is also one beautifully designed work-of-art. I took it out with a mere 45 lbs x-c skiing and I didn't even notice the load on my back. This pack fits me like a glove. Sure, it's not a lightweight design...but I didn't want one from a pack! It's made from 1000 Cordura, and a double bottom of 640 ballistic on top of the 1000 Cordura. Dan designed the pack to also accomodate the optional 600 cu inch pockets and shovel pocket from my original SARC pack. The bigger pack has cam buckles, is loaded with the best options that are basically standard in Dan's packs.
Again, we had a problem with a slightly wrong size belt and Dan sent me one a little longer a few days after I called for I was heading to a backcountry ski trip the following week. Now that's customer service! I am so much impressed with Dan's designs and detail for customer service that the "extra" cost of his packs are a mere nothing when compared to other packs, costing almost as much. I know that baring any destructive problems that I offer the pack, this pack will last me for many, many years! I also know that if something happens to the pack, then Dan will be there to repair it. That's assuming that Dan is alive and well when I call. See, he climbs and uses his packs a lot and he's out in the backcountry testing and playing with his packs.
Do I have any incentive to write this positive review? The answer is an absolute NO. It's just that I purchase other equipment too and if I read a positive review, then I follow up on it and buy that equipment...assuming that it meets my needs.
Bottom line for me is that Dan McHale builds the best packs in the U.S. or anywhere. I've been climbing, hiking, backpacking, guiding, and skiing for almost thirty years and can share with this group that Dan is a man who is there to talk with you and build you a solid pack!