Product review by Abby Rowe, member since 2012 and Certified Single Pitch Instructor
I remember putting on my dad’s suit coat and tie as a child and carrying his brief case around the house with an increased tone of authority in my voice while the tie brushed against my knee caps. As a smaller adult in the outdoor industry, trying on clothing and gear generally evokes a similar feeling that I am not yet an adult, or at least adult-sized. So, you can imagine my surprise when the Ortovox Peak Light 30S pack fit me perfectly. It felt like a cloud-parting moment. Advertised with the “S” as a frame size for mountaineers with a shorter torso length, this product definitely meets the mark.
Instead of taking the pack on a grand adventure, I used it for an AMGA Alpine Skills course. This is a five-day course in the instructor progression that provides an overview of technical skills on rock, ice, and snow. The venues were in various places in the Mount Washington Valley, and each day presented a different discipline and different terrain. From the first day I used this pack, I felt like I had used it forever.
The pack’s intuitive and well-proportioned design makes it easy to pack and utilize in every type of terrain and weather that April in New England provides. It is easy to maneuver while wearing the pack, whether scrambling, rigging, or hauling. The pack never gets in the way and allows quick and easy access to gear loops on a harness. There is even a gear loop on the pack’s waist belt that is useful.
Each pocket seems to hold exactly the right volume, allowing me to put gear where I intuitively would without the need to shuffle anything throughout the day. The zippered access to the main compartment also makes wardrobe changes and water breaks a breeze.
The Peak Light 30S carries more gear than I expected. The design maximizes the balance between technical and simple to create a versatile and lightweight tool in a sleek package. It’s overall shape, color scheme, and retro nuance in the design of the shoulder straps and hip belt not only feel good, but also look good! The versatility is evident in small, but significant, details such as the ice axe holder integrated into the shoulder strap for use “on the go,” how the upper side compression straps double as a rope holder, internal elastic straps for snow safety gear to ensure that it is always accessible, and a back panel that actually wicks sweat. This pack clearly reflects of design feedback from users coupled with progressive research and design.
Of course, nothing is perfect. My one critique is that the helmet holder provides some interference for the Ice axe holder that causes a bit of fumbling. I suppose this is a small price to pay for the compact design and other efficiencies. I’ve never owned any Ortovox gear before, and I am absolutely a new convert!
More details about this pack can be found at: https://www.ortovox.com/us/shop/backpacks/high-alpine/peak-light-30-s/
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