The Slipstream has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best weekend packs for 2021.
Reviewers Paid: $50.00-$250.00
I've used a Slipstream from North Face for several years. I've had it for long enough that it doesn't have a "carbon x" frame, but a simple aluminum stay with stiff foam for a frame that does very well. It's the most comfortable pack I've ever had. I've used it for several week long backpacks, carrying up to 40 pounds as comfortably as is possible.
Size: 2800 - 4000 cu in
Number of Pockets: 0
Max. Load Carried: 40 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Despite having a sorty ugly '80s color scheme, this is my favorite pack. I use it for backpacking, ice climbing, and cragging. It is very light (3.5 lbs) and carries up to about 35 lbs comfortably. The carbon fiber x frame does a nice job of transferring the load to the hips. The pack body is designed for alpine climbing, so it has an extension sleeve to use the pack as a emergency bivy sleeve. I've never used this feature and have found the extra fabric to get in the way alot when loading or unloading the pack. I suppose you could cut it off, but I just can't do it. The yellow inside does make finding stuff in the pack alot easier. The tool tubes are very nice for carrying and deploying ice tools without removing the pack from your back. A big plus on steepening terrain. There are lots of places to strap on a pad or poles on the sides of the pack or lid. Overall, a great pack. I think TNF replaced it with the Prophet series, but I noticed that they do not have tools tubes. Otherwise, they look the same.
Design: Top Loading
Size: 3000 (50 L)
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 35
Height of Owner: 5'7"
Price Paid: $50 (used)
I bought the Slipstream mostly for overnights and climbing trips and found it in Campmor for an incredible price. I used this past weekend on a trip in the Daks and it was great, although I do not believe it was designed to carry and function as an overnight backpack. The main compartment is sizable and with the extendable top sleeve it is cavernous.
We experienced some rain and I had not used any waterproofing on it. It got soaked and did not dry with the humidity. The extendable top lid is excellent although when fully loaded and the pack is carring only minimal gear the lid falls forward and exposes the top. It has an abundance of compression straps on each side (3) which are suited to have poles, pads, skis using the tail guides attached and even a Sierra Design Stretch Dome strapped on. I have yet to use the tool tubes and crampon patch with bungee cord although the bungee thing worked well for my wet raingear.
I have two complaints though. While the canted bottom and "tulip" shape are good climbing features, they make the pack top heavy. The suspension also leaves a little to be desired, perhaps it is due to the fact that I was forced to buy the regular size. Because it is not made to carry heavy loads, the shoulder pads and waist belt, although quilted, are skimpy at best and left my waist and shoulders sore. The lumbar pad, however small and thin, was great. I have used other daypacks with this weight w/o padding there and I have experienced soreness. I cannot wait to see how well this pack performs on day ice trips and longer rock routes. I would recommend this pack highly although the regular price is steep at $235.
Size: 2800-4600 reg
Number of Pockets: main plus lid
Max. Load Carried: 35+
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $110-got a deal
This is a great pack for climbing daytrips, as it is just the right size for a rope, rack, extra clothes, and a few other things. It works best with loads up to 30-35 pounds, but any more and the fairly small suspension begins to cut off circulation. This pack is a great all-around bag for climbing, skiing, or just about any other daytrip/weekend activity.
Design: Internal frame (minimal)
Number of Pockets: 1 plus top
Max. Load Carried: 65 (mistake)
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $250
The Slipstream is a good pack for overnighters or a light three day trip. It's also a good pack for long dayhikes or summit attemps. It's a pretty comfortable with a heavier load (30 lbs) and real comfortable with a lighter load. The 2 ice axe tubes are nice for the larger ice axes as well as the waterfall ice axes. These tubes allow me to get my ice axe without taking off the pack by reaching behind the pack and releasing the buckle. The top comes off very easily and can be used for a fanny pack.
Design: internal frame
Size: Reg. 2800-4600 Lg. 3000-4800
Number of Pockets: 1 plus main compartment
Max. Load Carried: 30 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $219