August 27, 2014 Black Diamond Speed 22 Gear

Black Diamond Speed 22

The Speed is backā€”sort of. In its original, 2005 edition, Black Diamond’s Speed backpack was a masterpiece of light-is-right design. The original, 30-liter Speed backpack gave us a floating lid, side compression straps, a stiff single-stay frame, and not much else. For fast travel with heavy loads, the pack was and is just about perfect. (more...)...

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October 13, 2012 Osprey Talon 11 Gear

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey’s Talon 11 gets three key daypack requirements exactly right. It’s light, it’s (relatively) cool against your back, and it’s structured enough to carry loads well. On that third point, I’d say the frameless Talon 11 is easily the best ultralight speed/endurance pack I’ve ever used. You don’t expect an 11-liter backpack to nail its (more...)...

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May 26, 2012 Black Diamond Mission Gear

Black Diamond Mission

The big news with the climbing-oriented Mission 50 pack is that it employs Black Diamond’s patent-pending ‘reACTIV’ suspension system. ReACTIV suspensions, and the more aggressive ‘ErgoACTIV’, are designed to allow the pack to move naturally while you’re walking by adding a mechanical pivot to the frame-hip belt interface. In other words, the load is allowed (more...)...

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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