Macpac Pursuit 40
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Going light is only half the answer. Macpac's Alpine range incorporates the new Wraptor harness which offers lightweight load transfer while retaining flexibility for gymnastic manoeuvres. This avoids the problems of minimalist harness that offer low weight but increase fatigue through inefficient load transfer.
Macpac Pursuit 40 Reviews
Reviewed by Stuart Reeves (Glasgow) on 2008-02-04:
General comments: I have taken this pack with me to many places, whether it is mountaineering or visiting someone for the weekend. As an alpine style pack it boasts a minimal profile, an awful lot of gear loops and probably the best harness system I've tried (the Wraptor). When correctly tightened using the load balancing system (which is simple and very effective), I've found the pack to have minimal rotation when hanging off things and the much mentioned load transfer does really work. The lack of hydration pouch hasn't really bothered me as I use a ridgid bottle instead.
Since others reviewing the 50l version have identified pretty much all the best parts about this pack and, much as I love it a great deal, I want to mention a two things that could be improved. Firstly, the attachments for ice axes and walking poles (down the central section of the pack) don't work as well as they should. Whilst having buckles and material straps is a far better solution than the Karrimor style bungee (which breaks easily), I've found that there is not enough traction on the buckle to stop ice axes or poles becoming loose and sloshing around on the pack (very annoying on the walk in). Someone else mentioned replacing them with a bungee or some other solution, which could perhaps work. Secondly, the main shoulder strap buckles seem to suffer from the same traction problem. Once tightened when on your shoulders, the straps sometimes loosen up a bit rather than retaining their setting.
Both these problems are more niggles than anything and I don't think that you could easily better the pack. It might be an idea to work out whether the buckles/straps could be replaced easily with more frictional straps...
Pros: As others say, bombproof. Got all the gear loops you could possibly want.
Cons: Straps don't always retain their setting. Ice axe attachments are not as good as they could be.