User Review: Rivendell Mountain Works Giant Jensen
Price Paid: $180
I purchased the 'Giant Jensen' about 2 years ago (2008). I've used it for pack trips in the Sierra Nevada range, Colorado Rockies and a Trans Sierra Ski Trip.
This pack excels for ski tours! It's only about 2 lbs and it hugs your torso like a limpet. That's also its downside for hot weather, since the back of your shirt will get soaked from sweat (there is a very nice corduroy pack panel and a barrier inside the pack that keeps sweat from soaking through to the interior). All the same, I use it for summer pack trips and although my shirt gets soaked, I still like it well enough.
It is comfortable but not, of course, as cushy as the big, heavy load haulers. Perhaps its most endearing aspects are its light weight, its uncluttered design, and the fact that it never throws you off balance.
I still ski tour with skinny skis and relatively light leather boots, and this pack, even when fully loaded for a 10 day tour, never gets in the way or throws me off balance when linking turns. The hip belt does support the bulk of the load, and when climbing rock the pack does not sway or shift around.
In many respects, this pack is the best you can buy in terms of sensible design. It's a thinking person's pack, since you can't just throw stuff into it, but it will not frustrate you either with an excess of zips, straps, and malicious little pockets!
In its current iteration it preserves the original genius of Jensen's design, but adds sensible improvements too. Next time I climb Ranier, I will be using this pack! I find that in cold weather the close fitting design really adds needed warmth too.
If you find yourself getting tired of packs that look and sound like chuck wagons, you should order one of these beauties. Construction is impeccable, and unlike most of the current 'fastpacking' packs, the material will simply not wear out-- these are built like tanks, but they weigh only two pounds.