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Dana Design Alpine

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

Dana Design is no longer in business, and the Alpine has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2021.


Price Reviewers Paid: $300.00-$405.00


5 reviews
5-star:   4
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   1
1-star:   0

First, the good part: The Alpine is very well made, and pretty much bombproof. It has some nice touches, like the zippered compartment inside the top lid. The "headspace" feature is also very useful.

Now, the bad part: I hate this pack. I've nicknamed it the Crippler, since it's almost crippled me on a number of multi-day trips. Even though I had it professionally fitted at a reputable outdoor shop. I still cannot get it to fit comfortably. The hip belt design is horrible. Adjusting the belt so it is comfortable makes the pack slide down my ass, and tightening it to stop the slippage crushes my hips and leaves me with bruises. The hip belt is made of a very stiff material that just refuses to mold to my hips. The shoulder straps are also very stiff and unyielding. The pack has a myriad of little adjustments, and I've played with all of them, but nothing I do seems to make it fit any better. I suspect that part of the problem is that I'm very thin. I'm guessing that Dana designs its packs for people with a little more "padding" who are less likely to notice pressure points.

What's odd about the Alpine is that I have another Dana pack, the Bomb Pack, that I love. I've loaded the Bomb Pack with over 40 lbs., and it's more comfortable than the Alpine with the same weight. This is strange since the Bomb Pack is supposed to be much lighter and less supportive than its larger brethren.

Design: internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 50
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $369 (clearance)

Spent two weeks in the Eastern Sierra Backcountry travelling cross country through various cols around Darwin, Glacier Divide, Palisades. I have had several older Gregory packs -- Cassin, Serac -- and always loved the comfort and fit.

The Dana Alpine is a wonderfully fitting pack for a tall person. I found it extremely easy to adjust and break in was not much of an issue. The "shove-it" beaver tail is a wonderful way to store your shovel, or anything you want to get to quickly. There is ample room for two ice axes and the possibilities for securing additional gear or pockets seem endless.

Climbing with a +60 lbs pack is always a challenge, but the Alpine's narrow profile, excellent harness and close fit made the weight seem much less and negotiating tight areas were relatively easy.

Despite being on the small side of the "Large" pack spectrum, the pack loads easily and can carry quite a load. I easily carried everything I needed for a two week trip in the Alpine.

The pack construction is superb with many details other comparably priced packs lack. While the price is on the high end, you clearly are getting a pack that you will have around for many years.

While a larger pack may be indicated for someone 6' 5", the large fit very well. I suggest getting the pack at a professional climbing shop, where the personnel can fit you properly.

Design: Internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 70lbs
Height of Owner: 6'5
Price Paid: $400

I have had my Alpine for five plus years and am still excited about putting it on and hitting the trail. I have spent several weeks in it and many weekends with no complaints at all.

(I had two other packs before it and both made my back/shoulders hurt after 6-7 miles/day). It has been rained on--a lot, covered in ice, baked in the Georgia sun, and scraped against its share of rocks and trees--all simply shrugged off. The only thing that managed to harm it was my stupidity in closing a car door on one of the hip belt clasps- which Dana replaced no charge knowing full well I did the damage. I have two more Dana's now and they are all worth every penny. Get the wet-pocket water bottle holder - having water and snacks within easy reach is really a nice touch...keeps my energy level more constant than when I had to stop and dig things out.

Design: Internal
Size: ~5000
Max. Load Carried: 45lbs
Height of Owner: 6'-0"
Price Paid: $300 w/wet pocket

I've had my Dana for about two years; it's wonderful. Fourteen days in the Canyonlands and 10 days in Colorado in January. The Dana was comfortable as could be. Dana fit and quality is worth the price.

Design: internal
Size: 4800
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 100lbs
Height of Owner: 508
Price Paid: $307

I've had my Dana for about one year. When I bought it I was looking for a comfortable pack that was versatile. The Dana Alpine proved to be both.

Most of my trips to the woods are one or two nights carrying about 30 lbs. But I like to hike several miles while there. The Alpine can expand and contract to accommodate the amount of gear I'm carrying and not feel awkward. I was able to get the pack to fit well despite the unskilled salesperson. The Alpine rides close to my back and doesn't attempt to throw me to the ground when I turn around. A top pocket and hip belt detach to make a great day pack that cinches tight to you. Forty pounds in this pack feels like 20 pounds in a cheap external. Absolutely worth the money.

Design: Internal frame, top loader
Size: 5800 max
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 40 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 8"
Price Paid: $405

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