An internal-frame backpack for weekend trips, mostly…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 140 USD
An internal-frame backpack for weekend trips, mostly oriented on alpine climbers. It has convenient main storage compartment, high quality, durable materials, and lots of external attachment points. In the meantime it’s not very comfortable to wear and desperately lacks additional gear compartments.
- Direct access to any item inside the main compartment thanks to additional zipper closure
- Large compartment in upper flap with separate zippered mesh inner pocket (fits 9" tablet)
- Detachable П-shaped internal frame with necessary torso length and width adjustments
- Floating upper flap for increasing the backpack volume
- Optimum internal volume for weekend trips, good volume adjustability
- Lots of external attachment points
- Good workmanship and fabrics quality
- Shoulder straps are too rigid and not comfortable
- Not comfortable to carry more than 15 kg (35 lbs) for long time
- Lacks external pockets and additional storage compartments
- No rain cover included
Me and my wife are less than amateur backpackers, and we don’t participate in multi-day backpacking trips. From ca. 2006 till beginning of 2017 I had been using very old and uncomfortable 55L backpack which became really annoying with time (the same applies to my wife). So in last winter we finally decided to purchase more convenient backpacks for both of us. I liked the Fjallraven Abisko backpack design (much less its price), and I became obsessed with zipper closure in main compartment, ensuring instant access to any item in your backpack.
Ultimately I purchased for both of us two Simond Alpinism 55+10L backpacks in local store. Here are quick specs:
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 75x28x27 cm (29x11x11 in).
- Volume: 55+10L (3350+600 cuin).
- Weight: 1.75 kg (3.9 lbs).
In comparison to other backpacks in this store I especially liked their quality, including the workmanship and fabrics. I cannot find any quality-related issue in both backpacks. As I wished, in addition to traditional top closure, this model is equipped with huge YKK zipper ensuring direct access to any point inside the backpack. That proved itself extremely convenient in our trips.
For example, when packing your gear you may easily eliminate the empty places inside. Keeping in mind that everything is easily accessible, you may load the pack in more correct way. Contrary in traditional design the necessary items are usually found on the top, even if it caused wrong weight distribution.
This backpack is oriented for alpine climbers, and therefore it has lots of attachment points (for ice axe, shovel, poles, skis…), but none external compartments or pockets, except for traditional top compartment in the flap cover and detachable mesh pocket on the belt. As far as I know, the climbers prefer less external compartments for more freedom while working with ropes and technical slopes. Also there was no attachment for closed-cell foam sleeping pad, but that was easily fixed by purchasing a pair of adjustable straps for each backpack.
The only separate storage compartment in the flap is roomy and equipped with key strap and zippered mesh internal pocket, which fits 9" tablet. The manufacturer claims that this compartment is waterproof, but that’s not true. In addition, there is a flat pocket in main compartment at the back (suitable for Letter/A4 papers or hydration pack).
The additional shoulder pads by Zpacks are seen
The backpack has a metal П-shaped internal frame (detachable) and various torso adjustments. The attachment point of shoulder straps has several positions which are marked by user height. Unfortunately the padded part of shoulder straps is narrow and short, thus carrying the backpack is not always comfortable. Sometimes while pushing our child stroller really hard, the buckles and bare straps are hurting my underarms (but this doesn’t apply to my wife). I’ve even purchased a set of Zpacks foam pads made specifically for such cases. That helped.
The volume adjustments in this backpack are really nice. You get two pairs of compression straps (the top pair is equipped with QR buckles), so loading the backpack by a third is not a problem. Also there is an expandable tube under the floating upper flap, which ensures +10L volume gain, as stated in the name of this model. Auxiliary straps are easily adjusted to match the backpack load and height.
The padding at the low back is not overly comfortable, but the belt itself is good
This backpack is comfortable until your load doesn’t exceed 15 kg (35 lbs). Beyond this point you get uncomfortable feeling in waist, where the pressure from internal frame is applied. Luckily the available adjustments allow balancing the backpack weight between shoulders and waist for optimum comfort. And the hip belt is very large and solid, so it bears the load well. Finally you have the special loops for temporary unloading the shoulder straps by your hands.
In general I like this backpack in comparison to my old one. Especially I like the comfort of accessing the various items inside, and also the general wearing comfort has improved in comparison to my old backpack. But there is also much room for improvement in shoulder straps design and the padding at the waist area. Also sometimes I find annoying the lack of additional compartments and external pockets.