Hyperlite Mountain Gear Prism Ice Screw Case
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) Prism Ice Screw case is as it sounds—a case designed to carry your ice screws. At 5.4 ounces it weighs half the weight, carries more screws (sleeves for 10 can carry more in the space between), and will set you back double the price of comparable carrying options. The reason the case is so light, and the price is so high, is that it is made out of HMG’s DCF (Dyneema Composite fabric).
- More protection for your protection
- Larger capacity than most ice screw cases
- More efficient to pack than cylindrical style
- Large grab handle
- Exterior pocket
EASE OF USE
There are a couple of major selling points in the design of this case. One is the clamshell opening. It opens up completely and lays flat, which gives you nice, easy access to all the contents. The second thing I love is that the entire screw is enclosed in the case and protected. Most rolls leave the head of the screw exposed to get bashed around while in your pack, sitting on the ground, etc. Not a huge deal (they are pretty darn durable), but at roughly $100 a screw and carrying upwards of 8 to 10 at a time, I’d rather protect that investment. There is also a layer of 1/8-inch closed cell foam to protect from the screws damaging anything and to give the case some structure.
I also far prefer the shape of this bag when packing my backpack. It is basically a large D shape which fits nicely in my pack. I’ve been primarily using the Prism pack, so that is a little biased as they were designed to integrate together. However, I've tried it successfully in multiple other packs that I have used in the past for climbing—Wild Things Guide pack, Lowe Alpine Peak Attack, and the HMG 2400 Ice pack.
One of the main selling points of this ice screw case is the upgrade in fabrics from your traditional roll (usually constructed with some sort of Cordura blend). The Prism ice screw case is made of DCH150 which, if not a fabric/outdoor enthusiast nerd (as I am), probably means nothing to you. To break it down a little, the DCH stands for Dyneema Composite Hybrids, meaning a face fabric, in this case polyester, laminated to a DCF backing.
I could dive way too deep into a DCF background, but the short answer is to say it's a high performance, non-woven web of the Dyneema strands. I go much deeper in my HMG Summit review should you be interested. The 150 refers to the denier of the face polyester; the higher the count the higher the durability (in most cases). This is a lot of info to say that the classic roll is far cheaper to make, and far easier to destroy.
The Prism case is also a lot lighter being made from DCF. It weighs 152 grams, whereas something like the classic Petzl Octo weighs 160 grams (for 8 screws, clearly), and less carrying capacity. The Black Diamond Ice Screwup only holds 6 screws and weighs 130 grams, so you’d need two and a half of those to carry the same amount of screws, 320 grams of weight, so the Prism would be less than half. To clarify/simplify that info a little:
- HMG Prism: 16 screws, 152 grams
- Petzl Octo: 8 screws, 160 grams
- Black Diamond Ice Screwup: 6 screws, 130 grams
At this point it's hard to compare the durability to a more traditional fabric roll. Most rolls (in my experience) will get you through two, maybe three, seasons of climbing before you inadvertently poke a hole through it. A polyester roll will completely unravel from there as the tear strength is so minimal. DCF fabrics have much higher tensile strength (see my Summit review), and while this is not woven, I'd wager a guess on a little more durability. Even if one of the sleeves does become ripped it would still be able to zip closed to contain the screws.
Another feature which I enjoy is the ability to carry up to 10 screws (in the allotted sleeves, size dependent) and as many as another six comfortably in the interior space. I don’t own 16 screws, nor ever carry that many, but I’ve tested it, and it fits. At that many screws you would need two regular rolls and then some would be upside down when you unroll it.
DCF fabrics are very hard to dye so this comes in one colour—white. While not a huge deal in larger, harder to misplace items like a backpack, it can make this case a little harder to locate once you put it down somewhere and get distracted or wander off for a sec...I speak from experience. It blends in well (everything is white in the winter!), especially if there’s a blowing snow; it can disappear in seconds.
Hyperlite has attempted to negate this by including bright orange pulls on the zippers, but I’d love to see the zippers themselves be orange as well. Or, unlike me, just pay attention to where you put your stuff down!
Drainage holes make sure any excess snow melt/ice/water that may have accumulated will find its way out. I definitely don’t want my screws sitting in pools of water.
Huge grab handles. Not a big plus or minus for me (I find the bag quite comfortable and the right size for my hands so I rarely use them). But you can look like you are carrying a mini briefcase! Also, a loop for clipping while you organize.
The zipper is a #5 YKK so they haven’t skimped on the size to bring the weight down. Opens smooth and easy, a smaller front pocket doesn't have the same cordage attached so it's a little harder to grasp, but you need this pocket far less often. You can see the bright orange cordage in the drainage hole picture (above). The larger clamshell zipper is a two-way zip to open nice and wide.
The Prism Ice Screw Case—less weight, more protection, easier to pack, higher price.
*The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Prism Ice Screw case was tested in conjunction with the rest of the Prism Alpine Climbing Kit collection (Prism crampon bag and Prism pack). An in-depth look into how the system pairs together will be posted shortly.
I received the Prism Ice Screw Case in November 2019 in advance of the ice season. It was a largely wet, mild winter here in the Northeast. I usually carry seven screws varying in size from 11cm to 22cm, both the venerable Black Diamond Express and the Petzl Laser speed.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample for testing and review provided by Hyperlite Mountain Gear)
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Current Retail: $99.00
Historic Range: $80.00-$99.00
0.34 lbs / 5.4 oz / 152 g
12 x 6 x 2.5 in / 30.5 x 15.2 x 6.4 cm
DCH150 White, YKK #5 Zipper, 1/8 inch closed-cell rigid foam
Screw sleeves hold 10 ice screws in a range of sizes, with extra internal space for other gear like carabiners and slings
|Alpine Climbing System||
Works in conjunction with the Prism Pack and Prism Crampon Bag for a complete Alpine Climbing System