This isn't my first pack, but definitely my favorite.
Size: Iron Mtn 5500
This isn't my first pack, but definitely my favorite. The design was different, with room under the sleeping bag area and access too. Great for a fast change of clothes or rain jacket.
It seemed expensive at the time, but looking back it was well worth it. You get what you pay for sometimes. I think it's been 8 years or more, who could complain?
I take more gear than I need, maybe because there is room for it, but it outperforms me, it would seem. Even tied a bear vault to it the last two years through Yosemite. Outstanding!!!
I'm writing this review only because I am looking to buy another one just like it. Why not?
Formerly known as the Iron Mountain 5500 and now known…
Design: Top loading
Size: 5500 cu."
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 16 min-29 max.
Height of Owner: 68"
Price Paid: $299
Formerly known as the Iron Mountain 5500 and now known (I think) as Rock Creek; this pack is one that stands out for its unusual design and for what it lacks; zippers and velcro tape. There is nothing more annoying than hearing these two distinct sounds shatter the solitude of any wilderness experience. This pack features a Quickcord draw string closure system on the top and sleeping bag access point on the main pack. The "floating" accessory bag which is suspended above the center of the pack also has a Quick cord closure.
This pack does feature the webbing cinch straps common to all internal frame packs. Plastic clips attach these cinch straps to the main pack and would appear to be very weak and break if you cinch them down too much; this is my only gripe. I have modified mine and sewn the straps together. A 10mm diameter piece of rope is incorporated into 2 grab handles on the top of the pack which helps attach the accessory pack to the main bag. This pack also features a sewn in sleeve that would accept a 3 litre hydration bladder. It also features a fleece sunglass or goggle pocket as well as a divided accessory pocket.
I can deal with the unusual shoulder straps and waist belt; these are the only ones that have not caused hot spots on my skin. I have found the Quickcord closure feature most effective in areas where there is blowing sand that would normally clog a zipper. You could possibly contact Stone Creek Designs directly and order from them but I have not personally dealt with Stone Creek. I purchased one from U.S. Cavalry: http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=5562&TabID=1&CatID=2,
and the item number is 18135. These packs are made in Colorado so why buy something that is foreign made?