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Arc'teryx - Alpha FL 45L Backpack

posted Oct 11, 2014, 7:25 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Oct 29, 2014, 1:59 PM ]




The Arc'teryx Alpha FL 45L is an ultralight, minimalistic, waterproof backpack designed for 'fast & light' alpine challenges on ice, rock, and mixed terrains. The Alpha FL has the typical clean and minimalistic look that characterises all Arc'teryx products. We had the chance to thoroughly test it throughout a whole season and here we report the results of our tests.

Technical Description

The Alpha FL 45L (FL stands for Fast & Light) is an ultralight, yet very tough and highly weather resistant 33L (expandable to 45L) pack designed for alpine climbing. Everything in the design has been stripped down to the essential: single compartment, no suspension system, no top lid, a single zippered pocket, and no load compression straps. A simple double-pull drawcord, combined with an extendible rolltop collar, compose the closure system. The body is
made of an e
xceptionally light and strong nylon N400-AC2 fabric, coated both on the inside and on the outside to create an air and water impermeable fabric. Minimalistic thermoformed shoulder straps and even reduced width of the seam tape (only 15mm wide) contribute to save every gram. Four attachment points are present (two on each side) to carry skis or a sleeping pad, plus a front bungee attachment to hold crampons or other gear for quick access.

Features:
  • One zippered pocket with key clip
  • Reflective white interior
  • Dual haul loops/carry handles
  • Semi-rigid, foamed back panel 
  • Fully seam-sealed
  • Thermoformed shoulder straps
  • RollTop™ closure
  • Extendable collar with drawcord for additional capacity
  • Top compression strap
  • Two ice axe loops
  • Six integrated front lash points
  • Elastic cord front-attachment system for carrying campons or additional items
  • Four integrated side lash points
Materials:
Pack Body: N400r-AC² nylon 6 ripstop coated on both sides to create an air impermeable, waterproof textile. Taped seams.
Back Panel: HD 80 foam is a high density polyethylene foam.
Collar: N100mr-HT and N70r-HT compose the extendable, water resistant RollTop™ closure.
Shoulder straps: N400r-AC² nylon 6 ripstop, Burly™ Double Weave and Hypercell foam laminated to each other
Waistbelt: 40mm/1.6" wide nylon webbing

Capacity: 33L (expandable to 45L)
Weight: 650 g

Our Test


We tested the Alpha FL 45L for more than 6 months for mountaineering on ice and mixed routes, glacier walking, alpine rock climbing, hiking, skiing, splitboarding, and mountain biking. We used it in a very wide range of temperatures (-5ºC to 20ºC) and in all possible weather conditions, rain, snow, sun, hail, etc.

First Impressions 
Light and robust. These are the first two adjectives that come to your mind when you hold the Alpha FL for the first time in your hands. The design is essential. Basically there is no suspension system. But when you put it on your shoulders, quite surprisingly, it's not so uncomfortable! The thermoformed shoulder straps are well designed and do not bother you even when you carry heavy gear in the pack. The top closure system is very quick and easy to operate even when wearing gloves.

Some of the first comments of our testers:

  • “Light and tough!” 
  • "Very practical on alpine climbs and glacier walking. You can chuck it on the snow without worries."
  • “The same old problem: it's very hard to reach the stuff packed at the bottom.” 
  • “Not very practical for skiing/snowboarding.”
  • "No easy way to compress it, when not full."
Lightness
Backpacks in the the range of 30-40L weighting less than 1 kg can be generally considered light. With 650 g the Alpha FL is way below the average. It is hard to think of what else you could eliminate on the Alpha FL to reduce weight even further. This pack is already stripped down to the essential and it would be hard to file off more grams without compromising either toughness or comfort, or both.

Design & Functionality
The whole backpack is designed to be extremely simple, quick to use, and very tough. It is very well suited to alpine climbs and glacier walks, when you don't want to carry too much gear with you and you want to move quickly without having to worry about contact with snow and rocks. The ice tool carrying system is very simple, functional, and quick to operate even with a single hand and when wearing gloves. The same is true for the double-pull drawcord closure system. These may seem subtle details, but they come very handy when you have to quickly get out of uncomfortable situations. Another practical feature, especially for big-wall climbing, is the hauling system composed by two loops (or carrying handles), which allow easy hauling or clipping off at a snow anchor or a belay. The four side lash points are not very practical: they are too small, so you can only fit a very skinny sling or an elastic cord through them and if the pack is not full this solution offers only limited support. Despite the white pigmented inner surface, the interior of the pack remains quite dark. Because of its cylindrical shape and the lack of compression straps, the center of balance is always far off the back and this affects quite a lot your balance.

Comfort
All the unnecessary has been eliminated: no complex suspension systems, no ventilation mesh... and not even compression straps. Despite the lack of fancy back panel design, the backpack is quite comfortable, even when heavily charged. The simple foam panel on the back provides minimal support and structure to the pack and sufficient comfort. The thermoformed shoulder straps are soft and very comfortable and distribute weight very well without creating annoying spots. However, given the lack of a ventilation system on the back the Alpha FL can only really be used in colder temperatures.

Waterproofness
The Alpha FL is practically a dry pack! You can sink it in water and it still keeps everything dry inside. What else do you need to protect your gear? Only in the top compartment, in case of heavy rain or snowstorm, water/snow can sometimes penetrate in between the external top opening and the internal RollTop closure.

Durability
The nylon used on the body is of really good quality: very tough,
almost indestructible. No matter if you chuck it on the snow, drag it on the rocks, smash it against tree trunks, the outer fabric of the Alpha FL is really hard to die! The straps are also of good quality. The weakest part of the pack is the elastic cord that serves as ice-tool carrying system, which is not destined to a long life. Also the plastic buckles are notoriously the first part of modern packs to get broken. On such a backpack, we would have expected more durable solutions, such as aluminum buckles.

Versatility
The Alpha FL is a very good pack, but only for some activities, mainly those for which it has been designed. It is practical in all the situations in which you have to be quick on high mountain terrains (on glaciers and mixed rock and ice routes) and for light and fast assaults to the summit. But it has more limitations than advantages in almost all other activities. The top opening is easy and quick to open and close, but the stuff you packed at the bottom cannot be reach unless you empty half of the load. This is an old problem. Packs with
larger, zippered apertures are much more practical. The Alpha FL is also not well suited for high intensity activities in warmer
temperatures. The coated nylon on the back is a sweat trap! 
The the cylindrical shape and the lack of compression straps make the center of balance very far off the back and this make it always unstable. This is something you notice clearly in more dynamical activities, such as skiing/snowboarding and mountain biking.  

Our Verdict 
The Alpha FL has really convinced us for its lightness and toughness, as well as for its quickness and ease of use up in high mountain environments, especially for short and fast climbs/walks on glaciers and mixed ice/snow/rock routes. If used for what it has been designed, that is 'fast & light' style alpine climbing on ice, rock, and mixed terrains, the Alpha FL is a superb backpack. Actually, in our view, the best pack on those kind of terrains and for those activities. For other uses, though, it is quite limited.

PROS
+ Very tough
+ Light and simple
 
+ Totally waterproof

CONS 

- Not very versatile

- Unstable in more dynamical uses

 Lightness  10/10
 Design & Functionality    8/10
 Comfort    8/10
 Waterproofness  10/10
 Durability    8/10
 Versatility    4/10
 Total Score  8.0/10

Platypus - Sprinter XT 25

posted Jul 5, 2014, 3:28 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jul 13, 2014, 12:38 PM ]




The Platypus Sprinter XT 25 is a backpack designed for short and fast hikes, where a few litres of capacity are sufficient to meet the demands of a day in the mountains... in addition, since it's made by Platypus, of course it is also a hydration pack! 
...That sounds really nice! ... Let's try it!

Technical Description

The body of the backpack has a waterproof construction utilising 210 Denier Diamond Ripstop Nylon and Oxford Nylon, both coated with polyurethane
The Sprinter 25 XT also features:
  • YKK® waterproof zippers
  • Taped seams
  • Internal zippered mesh pocket
  • Easy-access panel load
  • Ventilated/padded suspension
  • Independent hydration pocket
  • Ice-axe/helmet/trekking-poles carrying system
  • Waist belt pockets
  • Mesh side pockets
  • Mesh stash pocket on back
Volume: 22 L Gear + 3 L Hydration = 25 L Total

Sizes: 
S/M - 45 cm torso, 1.05 kg 
M/L - 50 cm torso, 1.13 kg 

Provided Hydration System: Platypus 3.0L Big Zip™ LP reservoir

Our Test

We tested the Sprinter for 7 months, primarily for hiking, but also for mountain biking, climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. To fully test the waterproofness of the backpack several times we "forced" ourselves to go out even when the weather
was so bad that common sense would have suggested to stay home. Apart from the standard one-day-hike gear, we also loaded the Sprinter with skis, ice axe, helmet, and we have even tried to carry a snowboard! The backpack has been used mainly with the provided Platypus Big Zip ™ 3.0L LP hydration system, but we also used it with other systems to check their compatibility.

First Impressions 
The materials used on the Sprinter are exceptional! You immediately appreciate the difference compared to the usual Nylon seen on many other backpacks: the texture is more dense, it feels more "plastic-like", and tougher. When you put it on your shoulders the pack is very comfortable. The first thing you notice is the softness of the shoulder straps which have the capability to adapt to your shoulders. It is a light, but sturdy backpack that has lots of accessories, giving it also a quite "technical-look". Judging from some of the choices in the design, one has the impression that the entire backpack has been designed around the hydration system.

Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • “Light and technical!” 
  • "The shoulder straps are fantastic! I find them really comfortable."
  • “It has everything you need for a day hike!” 
  • “Very good for many purposes and very comfortable on your back!” 
Lightness
More than 1 kg for a 25L-pack may not sound so impressive. However, if you take into account the amount of features and accessories available, including the rather "massive" 3L hydration system, without a doubt the Sprinter can be considered a light pack. Many of those features are anyway quite functional. In the search for the perfect balance between toughness and lightweight, priority has been given to the toughness of materials, which generally also helps to enhance durability.

Design & Functionality
We liked right away its shape. The upper part of the body is wider and the lower part narrower, therefore fitting very well on the shape of the back: smaller waist and wider shoulders. Because of this, the Sprinter fits well on your back and even when packed with heavy
loads you can always easily keep it in the correct position and close to the body. This also creates a good overall feeling with the backpack: you perceive it almost like a "part of your body". However, it must be said that in the most dynamical uses and when fully loaded the more voluminous upper part tends to sway a little. 
The shoulder straps are very soft and very well fitting. They never cause discomfort around the neck and shoulders, even when you carry a heavy load. Thanks to the ample zip that gives access to the main compartment, even the items stored at the bottom are always easily and quickly reachable. This solution is obviously much more practical than the classic opening from the top only.
The stretchable stash mesh pocket on the back is a really handy feature: you can use it to load some extra gear safely and keep it handy, without an actual increase of the capacity of the backpack. All the hydration systems we tested (both the Platypus and other systems) fit really well into the dedicated pocket without bothering or moving around. Very practical are also the multiple hose retention points. 
Our only complain: the ice-axe/trekking-poles carrying system is not very functional.

Hydration System
The hydration system provided with the pack is the Platypus 3L Big Zip™ LP, that obviously couples perfectly with the Sprinter. A great feature of this system, that sets it a step ahead of many others, is its ability to fully open, thanks to a clever, though quite bulky, sliding hermetic closure. This allows you to easily fill the reservoir in any situation and, even more importantly, to easily clean it and dry it after each use. The quite flat shape of the bag also contributes to a greater versatility, optimising the volume inside the backpack. When it's attached to its dedicated hooks, it remains firm behind the back without bouncing too much, even when full. At sub-zero temperatures we also used another hydration system with an insulated sleeve on the hose. Even these bulkier hoses fit through the retention loops without any problem.

Comfort
The Srinter is always very comfortable, even when fully charged. Back panels, shoulder straps, and hip belt are ergonomic, very soft, and lined with breathable mesh. None of the elements of the backpack bothers or causes annoying pressure nor chafing. Even during the hottest days the ventilation on the back is always adequate. The tapered shape of the body allows for total freedom of movement of the arms and elbows in all the directions.

Waterproofness
It's not a dry bag, but the waterproof inner coating, the taped seams, and the waterproof zippers definitely place the Sprinter a step ahead of many other backpacks for what concerns weather resistance. After about an hour under pouring rain we noticed a bit of humidity inside the main compartment. However, in more than 95% of the outdoor situations the Sprinter protects very well the load from the water. Even after months of use, when the water-repellent coating has started to become weaker on some of the parts most subject to wear, no water has penetrated inside to an alarming extent. In conclusion, we have been more than satisfied with the degree of protection from water, which can be definitely considered of extremely good level.

Durability
The nylon chosen by Platypus is excellent: quite thick, rip-resistent, good-looking, and highly durable. After months of heavy use, we did not notice any damage, neither to the fabric nor to any seam. Even if the Sprinter is not designed to carry skis, we used it for some backcountry skiing and we have been amazed to find that even the ski edges have caused no trouble to the straps and the fabrics! We were really impressed!

Versatility
The Sprinter is really an all-rounder! It would be a real shame to limit its use to a single activity. It is well-suited for many outdoor uses or even simply for travelling. Where it excels is, of course, the use for which it was designed, that is hiking. It is a simple and lightweight pack, which is, at the same time, also functional and very tough. With the Sprinter you can really free your imagination and invent countless uses for it!

Our Verdict 

The Sprinter is a backpack that offers many advantages: it is very well-designed, versatile, super durable, light enough, and with a remarkable resistance to the elements. In many ways it is ahead of many other comparable backpacks. Given the large number of true qualities that we could appreciate during our long test and the lack major flaws, we are convinced that the Sprinter has everything it takes to become your faithful companion of many adventures!


PROS
+ Great weather resistance
+ Excellent durability
+ Ergonomic and functional design

CONS 
- Not very functional t
rekking-poles carrying system
- Unstable top during more dynamic
 movements

 Lightness   7/10
 Design & Functionality   8/10
 Comfort   9/10
 Waterproofness   9/10
 Durability   9/10
 Versatility   9/10
 Total Score  8.5/10

Platypus - Duthie AM 10L

posted Feb 20, 2014, 7:06 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Oct 23, 2014, 3:48 AM ]




Always searching for the most innovative and versatile products, Go Out Project came across the new collection of backpacks by Platypus, the US company famous for its hydration systems. We were lucky to get a sneak peek for 2014 of a new Platypus backpack: the Duthie AM 10L.

Technical Description

The Duthie 10 is a lightweight backpack built for riding singletrack all day long! It can carry a full-face helmet and pads and it offers quick access to food and hydration.
Key Features:
  • 3.0L Big Zip™ LP Reservoir
  • Carry system for full-face helmet and pads
  • Pump sleeve and tool pockets
  • Fleece-lined eyewear pocket
  • Ventilated suspension
  • Magnetic hydration hose retention
  • Waist belt pockets
  • Light loop
Capacity: GEAR 7L + HYDRATION 3L = TOTAL 10L
Materials: 210D PU-Coated Diamond Ripstop Nylon, 210D PU-Coated Oxford Nylon, YKK® Zippers
Weight: 760 g

Our Test

We tested the Duthie for four months, for more than 80 hours, for trail running, mountain biking, skiing, winter hiking and also slack lining! Weather conditions: generally stable or variable with temperatures between -5 °C and 18 °C, some days of rain and unstable weather and a couple of snow storms.

Our first impressions through the first comments from our testers:
  • "Nice!... it's the first word that came to my mind as soon as I saw it... Compact!... as soon as I grabbed it... Comfortable!... as soon as I put it on my shoulders." 
  • "With all the water you can carry, you can cross the desert!" 
  • "Great for a thousand adventures! I pack my slack line in, jump on my bike, and go searching for fun out there."
Lightness and versatility are the characteristics that we've appreciated the most. It may look like a small pack, but in most circumstances there is actually enough room in the main compartment (7L) for a day trip. We have comfortably fit even a 25m slackline in it!

Design & Functionality
Conceived as an "All Mountain" pack for biking, the Duthie AM 10 is well suited for many purposes and outdoor activities and it has numerous technical features that make it a top-quality pack.

The 3L hydration system has a good hermetic sealing and it has 2 plastic hooks inside the dedicated compartment, which lock it securely to prevent annoying fluctuations. The hydration bag can be easily and quickly detached and it has a very large opening that makes it very easy to keep it clean and dry (very important to prevent mold and bad odors/flavors). The small magnet on the shoulder strap is also practical: it allows to quickly fix the
hose in the correct position on the strap and it also allows to bring the bite valve to the mouth in a fraction of a second.

The hydration-system compartment is well separated from the rest of the pack, and if you are not using the water bag, it becomes a convenient accessory compartment. The 3L hydration system is a bit too large for this kind of pack: a 3L reservoir is generally excessive for most daily outdoor activities. It is, in fact, preferable to only partially fill the bag (1-2L are generally sufficient) or to use one of the two smaller bags offered by Platypus (1.5L or 2L).

The main compartment can be opened up completely, which ease the access, and is equipped with storage pockets, a pump sleeve, and a top pocket with zipper and key clip. This helps to keep bike tools, food, and keys always tidy, separated, and within easy reach. The top external fleece-lined eyewear pocket is perfect to store your sunglasses safely.

The external helmet/pad carrying system is very practical and versatile. It can be used to attach everything. For example, it's ideal to carry a jacket, gloves, or anything you want to keep handy.

The ventilation mesh on the back is very comfortable, although for more intense trail running sessions, the ventilation it was not always adequate.

Lightness 
On the balance the weight is not far from the nominal value: 775g! Despite the "massive" hydration bag, the pack is not very heavy.

Freedom of Movement 
When riding the bike you hardly notice it on your shoulders! You always have great freedom of movement, you don't sweat excessively when pedaling uphill and the pack is always stable on jumps. It's perfect for hiking, while during trail running, some of the straps, though well fixed, tend to flutter on the arms. It's also a great climbing pack, since it's very compact and well balanced.

Comfort 
The padding on the shoulder straps and waist belt is comfortable and does not cause any pain or chafing on the most critical areas. Given the relatively small size of the pack, heavy loads are hardly reached, but also when fully loaded the Duthie is still very comfortable, compact, and stable. The pack has an excellent balance, thanks to the well-studied design: tapered shape at the bottom, overall compactness, and wide range of adjustment on shoulder straps and on the waist belt. The mesh on the back also has a relatively good grip, which helps increasing the overall stability of the 
pack on the back.

Weather Resistance
Even intense rain or snow showers are of no harm for the Duthie, which never gets wet on the inside. The mesh on the shoulder straps, however, tends to absorb water with some unavoidable annoyances. We haven't tested it for scuba diving... but maybe that is not necessary!

Versatility
AM, stands for "All Mountain". In our view, this really meant we could do everything with this pack on the mountains. It is very well suited for mountain biking, fast hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and climbing. Where it doesn't excel is, perhaps, in the most demanding trail running, due to the lack of large handy pockets and because of the fluttering straps, which are sometimes annoying.

Durability 
Tough and resistant in the most critical spots and with really sturdy zippers! The material used for the main body has an excellent wear resistance. Four months of use cannot be considered a real endurance test, but after the test the Duthie still looks brand new!

Our Verdict 

The Platypus Duthie AM 10 is always comfortable and has enough space for everything you need for a day trip out there. It has been one of our favorite backpacks for mountain biking, but it has also convinced us for its great versatility demonstrating its really good qualities in many other activities, such as hiking, skiing, climbing, with the only exception of trail running perhaps. We have also especially appreciated its
lightness, compactness and stability, as well as the quality of materials and its well-studied design.


 Lightness  7/10
 Design & Functionality  9/10
 Comfort  9/10
 Freedom of Movement  8/10
 Weather Resistance  8/10
 Versatility  7/10
 Durability  8/10
 Total Score  8.0/10

PROS
+ Freedom of Movement
+ Comfort
 
+ Perfect for fast hikes and MTB

CONS
- Not very good for Trail Running 
- The 
3L hydration bag is oversized















Haglöfs - Tura 25l

posted Jan 23, 2014, 1:19 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Mar 5, 2014, 10:38 AM ]

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-rhMC98727jU/Ut1J73WPSpI/AAAAAAAAGqo/RUXkeeONoOs/w1031-h690-no/DSC_3527.JPG



Having a “good backpack” in the backcountry, especially in winter, may mean much less hassle, much less waste of energy, and consequently more fun. Always in search for the “perfect gear”, Go Out Project decided to test the Tura 25l, the new backcountry backpack by Haglöfs.

Technical Description

The Tura is a backpack designed mainly for backcountry skiing and mountaineering. The Tura is equipped with the following elements:
  • Main compartment accessible from the top 
  • Adjustable front snowboard-carrying system + side ski-carrying system 
  • Axe/poles carrying system 
  • Shoulder straps and padded back in EVA 
    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-vbLhuUrQuh0/Ut1HoNNPvVI/AAAAAAAAGoA/Le6m7QA1UJw/w1031-h690-no/DSC_2957.JPG
  • Ultralight internal aluminum frame 
  • Stowable waist belt with removable pockets 
  • External pocket for hydration system 
Weight: 965g (25l), 1050g (35l)

Our test

Admittedly, it's been quite a tough test for the Tura! We've used it and abused it with no mercy during the 7 months of our tests! Four different testers have been hiking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding with it. We tested the 25l version, but a larger version (35l) is also available.

First Impressions 
The Tura struck us immediately for its lightness and its minimalistic look. The body is made of a thin, light, and highly textured fabric. The shoulder straps, with their “S-shaped”
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ergonomic design
, fit perfectly on shoulders and chest. The ski/snowboard carrying system is simple and practical
it consists of straps, eyelets, and some kind of "buttons" (see pics).

Some of the first comments from our testers: 
  • “Everything seem to be aimed at functionality and lightness: you've only got what you really need. Quite minimalistic.” 
  • “Essential and light!” 
  • "With three ways to fix skis/snowboard this is definitely the ultimate backcountry pack."
  • "Smart!"
  • "Very light and functional!... I give it a 10!"
Lightness
The Tura is first of all light! We really appreciated its lightness and its clean design. When you have to carry heavy climbing gear, ice
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axes, snowboard or skis on your shoulders, every gram counts. The 25l version weighs less than a kg (965g). This definitely makes the Tura one of the lightest backcountry skiing backpacks in the range of 20-30l capacity. All the superfluous has been sacrificed for the sake of lightness and functionality.

Comfort
The tapered form of the lower part of the body and the ergonomic shape of the back provide great comfort and freedom of movement. This is especially appreciated when climbing. When carrying snowboard or skis, you always feel like you can move smoothly and the load is always evenly distributed and firmly held close to the body. The shoulder straps are very comfortable. They are made of EVA, a very light and soft material (the same material used for running shoes). Even when the backpack is heavily loaded, the shoulder straps are super comfortable, also thanks to
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their “S-shaped” ergonomic design, that perfectly adapts to the shape of the body.

Design & Functionality
The two large pockets, one of which is specially designed for the avalanche rescue equipment, have very ample openings and are easy to access, which is great in those extreme cases in which the
speed of action is essential. Even when board or skis are attached you can always easily access the main compartment.
The zips are fairly resistant to water and they always work with ease, even in presence of snow or ice. The sliders have cords and plastic plates, which make them easy to grab also when wearing gloves.
The large pocket for the hydration system is placed externally, behind the back. Unfortunately, wether in use or not, there is no way to fully seal this pocket, which, therefore, tends to collect snow and rain. It would have been nice to have a zipper here!
The fastening straps for the skis at the top of the backpack, also act as compression straps.
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The waist strap is very basic and light, therefore ... not extremely tough (at the end of our tests it was starting to rip off). This strap has two spacious and comfortable pockets for small items (camera, phone, energy bars, etc.), which can be removed or hidden in a hiding compartment on the back, if necessary.
The chest strap has a built-in whistle, which may be very useful in case of emergency: a small detail that can save lives.

The ski/snowboard carrying system
The Tura has 3 ways to fix skis and snowboard. You can choose to carry the skis on the side bands in the classic “A-frame mode”, to hang them side by side centrally, or to place them diagonally on the front panel, which has dedicated straps. Snowboards can only be carried vertically on the front panel. The position of the carrying system straps is adjustable thanks to the two “daisy chains” on the sides. This allows to always optimally fix the board, skis, or other equipment, such as snowshoes. The clips are easy to open and close also when wearing gloves. All the major and minor adjustments are always relatively easy to be done, even with a fully loaded backpack.
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Versatility
Despite being categorized as a “Skiing backpack”, the Tura has proven to be a valid backpack in all the situations and for all the activities that we tested. Of course, it performs optimally in backcountry skiing and snowboarding, but it is also well-suited to a wide range of outdoor activities, not only in winter.

Durability
The fabric chosen for the body of Tura is a good compromise between lightness and strength. The two side ski-straps are durable, pretty tough, and do not fear sharp edges. At the end of our tests, we only noticed a single major sign of stress: the waist belt began to tear. This was probably not surprising, given the thinness and lightness of this strap.

Our verdict

The Tura certainly stand out for its lightness and versatility. Although in Haglöfs' catalog it appears under the “Skiing” section, the Tura is also a really valid backcountry and
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mountaineering backpack. The presence of a ski/snowboard carrying system simply widens its range of use, extending it to many more winter adventures. However, the Tura is such a light, functional, reliable, and fairly tough backpack, that it would be a real shame to limit its use to winter only! Its ergonomic shape and overall functionality are the clear result of a successful project and design. Certainly, the Tura is one of the
best packs we had the chance to test so far.

PROS
+ Light
+ Functional
+ Versatile

CONS
- The waist strap is not very tough

 Lightness  9/10
 Comfort  7/10
 Design & Functionality  9/10
 Versatility  8/10
 Durability  7/10
Final Score 8.0/10

Testers: Daniele G., Maurizio L., Marco M., Italo B.

Arc'teryx - Axios 25

posted May 7, 2013, 1:43 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jan 23, 2014, 4:17 AM ]





Ultra-light backpacks are usually "minimalistic". That's because when aiming at reducing weight, you have to get rid of all the superfluous (as for instance, bulky breathable meshes on the back, extra pockets and compartments, compression straps, zippers, etc.), and many times this compromises comfort and functionality.

However, fortunately, there are a few exceptions. The Arc'teryx Axios 25 is certainly one of those. This light backpack, weighting less than 700g, doesn't really sacrifice anything. A miracle? Maybe. 

Since it represents a quite unique example in the panorama of outdoor backpacks, Go Out Project could not miss the chance to test it.













Construction

The Axios is a concentrate of all the most advanced and performing materials developed by Arc'teryx. There are, in fact, more than 12 different fabrics/materials on this backpack, each designed to address a specific task. 

To simplify the description, let's just say that the backpack is essentially composed of 3 main materials (all proprietary of Arc'teryx): 
            • the Invista HT 100-denier ripstop, used on the most exposed areas and those that are more subject to wear 
            • the Invista HT 50-denier, non-ripstop version, on the side panels and the top
            • a combination of a breathable mesh, with a unique three-dimensional structure, and a perforated foam, on the back
The whole body come with a durable polyurethane coating on the inside of the fabric that makes it waterproof.

There are 8 pockets to organize everything you need: a small pocket with a clip for the keys, a large compartment for larger items, a very large outside pocket (Kangaroo pocket), an internal one for the wallet, two small pockets made of stretch material on the waist belt, and two bottle holders on the sides.





Performances on the field


The first feeling you get when putting the Axios on your shoulders is that of an exceptional lightness and comfort. We tested the Axios in quite extreme situations, such as trail running, and even in these conditions it's always resulted very comfortable. Thanks to the side compression straps, even if not fully loaded, the backpack has always maintained a good shape, without hampering movements and balance.

The front opening of the main compartment always allows quick and easy access to the content inside. 

Shoulder straps and waist belt are shaped to perfection. They are padded on the most critical spots, highly ergonomic, and highly breathable. They are made of a foam material, which is very light and that has relatively large pores to guarantee sufficient ventilation where it is more needed. 

The semi-rigid structure of the back pad guarantees good breathability and doesn't stick to your back even when you sweat a lot. 

During the test, we also appreciated some less-essential accessories: for example, the stowing pockets for the waist-belt, which we found practical when wearing a climbing harness, and the small pockets on the waist-belt made of stretchable fabric, which we found often useful to store small items. Also the four compression straps are very useful to reduce the volume of the backpack when not fully loaded and to fix extra load on the sides (for example, telescopic poles, tent poles, etc.). 

In the main compartment there is a practical pocket where you can place your favorite hydration system. The aperture for the tube of the hydration system is, unfortunately, poorly protected against rain. In case of heavy rain, a few times we noticed that the backpack got partially wet on the inside. The water passed exactly through the little aperture... too bad! 

All the zippers always operated smoothly and quickly, even when the backpack was fully loaded. 

Resistance to tearing and abrasion is not optimal: the fabric is not the most tenacious existing, but considering the low weight it can still be considered acceptable.

Conclusions

If you are looking for a functional and versatile lightweight backpack for different outdoor activities, the Axios is certainly one of the best options available out there. A really unique backpack at a reasonable price ... that most of the time you won't even notice on your shoulders!

Possible Alternatives
  • Haglofs L.I.M Susa 20
  • Black Diamond Nitro Pack

PROS
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable mesh-back panel, shoulder- and waist-straps
  • Ergonomic
CONS
  • Low tear and abrasion resistance
  • Limited water-resitance

Salomon - Sky 25

posted Jun 21, 2012, 2:53 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated Dec 19, 2012, 10:42 AM by Italo Balestra ]

The Salomon Sky 25 is a backpack out of the standard classifications, such as trekking, running, mountaineering and so on. It may be defined as a "Crossover". Salomon itself does not categorize it and this is something we agree on and strongly support. In fact, we believe that the constant "labeling" of manufacturers of outdoor clothing and equipment is most of the time unnecessary and it only limits the range of possible uses of a product.

The Sky 25 is a very versatile backpack!

Most importantly, it is very light! Probably one of the lightest backpacks in its category (25l), weighting only 830g!

The fabric used for the outer body is a tear-resistent nylon Ripstop of kind of "shiny" texture, that lets water droplets and snow easily slide on it. The choice of thickness of the outer fabric is a really good compromise between lightness and resistance. The quality of the seams in the most critical points of stress and overall is good, even if it might be a bit lower if compared to some of the direct competitors.

There are a number of clever features that make the Sky 25 a very nice backpack to use. The most important of all is probably the very well designed back system, which in combination with the "bean"-shaped backpack guarantees comfort and enhanced freedom of movement for elbows and arms. The particular shape of the backpack, narrower at the top and bottom, offers another great advantage: when it is fully loaded, most of the weight and volume is maintained well positioned at the center of the back... and even if this may sound something very trivial, believe us, on most other backpacks it is not!


Access to the main compartment and to the two pockets (one on the top and one on the front) is always easy and rapid. 

Two bottle carriers and two ski carriers on the sides, plus two minimalistic pole/ice-axes carriers, all contribute to make the Sky 25 a true year-round backpack.

The back system is composed of a 3D mesh structure that guarantees excellent ventilation and efficiently reduces sweating, even on the hottest days. A particular advantage of the system adopted by Salomon on this backpack is that, at odds with other systems, it doesn't soak up rain and water. 

The shape and structure of the backpack are maintained thanks to a very clever and simple solution: a 2mm-diameter tubular frame of plastic material, which is ultralight, and flexible enough. A pretty nice and smart solution!

The shoulder straps and the waist belt have large portions of airmesh  material that increases both comfort and breathability.

The wrapping of the belt is comfortable, stabilizes the load effectively even during running, and it guarantees full freedom of movement. 

We tested the backpack with loads of up to 15 kg, quite a lot considering its capacity. Even in this rather extreme use, comfort has never failed and the overall structure, the seams, and the plastic buckles resisted very well the severe stress test.


Some clever features:

  • All the regulation straps have elastic rings to keep them in place and avoid fluttering in the wind.
  • The light-colored inside makes the main compartment more luminous. This helps when searching for objects in fainter light conditions.
  • The hydration system compartment is well isolated and this avoids undesired condensation during more intense physical activities, such as running.

What we didn't like: 

  • There are no compression straps on the lower part of the backpack. This causes some difficulties in compressing the load properly. 
  • On the inside, the seams of the zippers seem quite exposed and vulnerable.

Test Salomon Sky 25

Osprey Raptor 10

posted Mar 6, 2012, 2:08 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated Mar 8, 2012, 6:32 AM by Italo Balestra ]

I was looking for a backpack that I could use for long trial running sessions, to carry some food, water, and a spare outer shell in case of sudden weather changes. I found an interesting mountain bike backpack - the Osprey Raptor 10 l - and I thought it could do the job. 

               

To respect its true nature I tested this backpack in a couple of MTB tours, but I oriented my test mainly on trail running.

The Raptor features a hydrating system to allow drinking without hands, helpful when riding a bike for example. The system is composed by a tube connected to a bag which can be filled up with liquids. The biggest advantage of this system compared to other ones available is that it can be filled up very easily and without spilling out liquids. The bag containing the hydrating system is excellently insulated, therefore preventing condensation on the back which affects most other systems when cold liquids are transported.

             

The ventilation system on the back guarantees a good transpiration and it can be chosen in two sizes to better adapt to different body sizes.

The highly ergonomic shoulder straps, hip belt, and back panel are very important features when riding a bike and become fundamental when running, in order to minimize any undesired and uncomfortable rubbing.

The Raptor has two pockets of different sizes and a really useful one for the bike pump. The side compression straps, usually found only on larger or more expensive backpacks, allow to regulate the volume and to firmly fix the load. 

An external elastic pocket offers easy access to objects that need to be kept handy. Finally, the Raptor has also a system to carry a helmet on the outside. Maniacal care has been put in any little detail. Despite the number of accessories, the Raptor is still relatively light. Overall, this backpack is a successful product, which is clearly the result of a careful study of materials and particular attention to design and functionality.

I really liked the Raptor!

Indicated for:
  • Mountain bike e cycling 
  • Trial running 
  • Trekking in "light & fast" style 
  • Urban

Running Test


Haglofs Rand 28

posted Mar 6, 2012, 12:44 PM by Italo Balestra   [ updated May 5, 2012, 1:20 AM by Italo Balestra ]

It looks veery much like a traditional backpack to which a ski/snowboard-carrying system has been simply attached. However, it works pretty well, it is practical, tough enough, and sufficiently large. Personally, I don't like the traditional "backpack shape" and the traditional top closure, but everything is made so well that I have to leave my preconception behind. Materials are of very high quality. The care for the details and the good design and project are the big pros. The Rand offers also a number of possibilities to fix various pieces of equipment on the outside (e.g. crampons, snowshoes, jacket, etc.). It is also available in two larger sizes, 38l and 48l, better suited to long expeditions.
         
 

Osprey Kode 30

posted Mar 5, 2012, 2:39 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 5, 2012, 1:31 AM by Italo Balestra ]

Very nice backpack, designed for freeriding and backcountry skiing. Practical and ergonomic the Kode features also a few additional accessories compared to the competitors. However, these extras do not terribly compromise the lightness overall. The materials used are of high quality, even though not the most resistant available. Maniacal care for the seams. Well-designed shape. Skis can be carried both A-frame or diagonal. The board-carrying system works very well and can compress the load sufficiently. Also available in larger (38l) and smaller (22l) sizes.

Arc'teryx Silo 30

posted Mar 5, 2012, 1:20 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 5, 2012, 1:30 AM by Italo Balestra ]

Minimalism at its best, without compromising the durability of materials. A very good system for skis/snowboard wrapping (even though not the most practical), which is nicely combined with the side slings that compress and stabilize the load. The system permits to tighten the board or the skis very firmly and to position them closer to the back, therefore, keeping the barycenter closer to the body. The shape of the Silo, narrower at the bottom, effectively minimizes contact with arms and elbows. Materials are excellent and durable. The design is simply successful. Available also in larger (40l) and smaller (20l) sizes.

       

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