Macpac Pursuit Classic
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A staple of our range for many years, this Macpac rucksack is built around the Active harness. Active is designed to keep medium loads (up to 15kg) close to the body whilst summer alpine climbing and winter scrambling. The hipbelt has a diagonal attachment
Macpac Pursuit Classic Reviews
Reviewed by Sam Walker (LEEDS) on 2005-12-29:
General comments: The Macpac Pursuit Classic is the best rucksack I have ever owned, bar none. It's incredibly comfortable and is perfect size for everything from a weekend away to a day walk to a trip cragging. It does it all and all really really well.
The back system is simply foam, no heavy metal bars in it to stiffen it, good in that it keeps the weight down and makes it very comfortable, but can be a problem when packing, needs careful thought so not to be all floppy, but I've never had a problem with it. It's super comfortable for light loads through to loads of about 10kg or so. I doubt I could fit anymore in it though.
The design is a classic for climbing, the shape is almost triangular, so most weight is taken on the hipbelt and plenty of space to swing your arms if climbing with the sack, which I have done on many occasions.
The compression straps on the side make the sack very versatile, so can be adjusted to make it comfortable to carry even when almost empty. Pockets at the bottom are perfect for stowing trekking poles and ice-axe loops are included as you would expect on a sack designed for climbing and moutaineering.
I like the addition of bungee cords on the front, something that doesnt appear on the newer models, useful for stowing crampons.
Also a big fan of the traditional "aztec" fabric, very hardwearing and seems near waterproof except the seams, but not a big deal,. Sack is bombproof, mine has had many scrapes and yet to find any holes or scratchs.
All round, this is a superb rucksac, the benchmark for climbing rucksacks. Macpac really are the leader and I wouldn't hestitate to reccommend this sack to anyone. As good as a POD black ice and £40 cheaper!
Comment on this review...
Not too heavy. Very comfortable.
Good shape. Design classic.
Cons: Can be awkward to pack. Not waterproof.
More nit-picking than anything else.
Reviewed by Andy (Fielding) on 2006-01-09:
General comments: The Pursuit Classic is a good, comfortable rucksack ideal for a days cragging, mountain routing or winter climbing. It's narrow design means it gets in the way a lot less often than other rucksacks when actually climbing with it. One of my favourite features of the Macpac Pursuit are the gear loops on the waistbelt as these are very well positioned to retrieve gear from and I find that if wearing my rucksack on a route I use these in preference to my harness gear loops. And when I'm not climbing I hang my camera off one of them so its always at hand. The ice axe loops are also well designed with a simple, yet effective buckle to keep the axes upright which is easily undone whilst wearing gloves. I liked the idea of the bungee cord crampon retainer but unfortunately this did not last long.
Although not really designed to be big enough for more than a days outing I have found that, if necessary, the side compression straps can be slackened enough to fit a tent down one side and a roll-mat down the other and so a weekends wild camping is possible! After 5 years of abuse mine is starting to show signs of wear and tear. In particular the inside lid is badly torn, but in general it has lasted well.
Comment on this review...
Pros: Comfortable. Gear loops on waist belt. Simple yet effective ice-axe loops
Cons: A little small for weekend use. Bungee cord crampon strap didn't last long.
Now tearing in places (after 5 years heavy use).
Reviewed by Matt (UK) on 2006-01-28:
General comments: I bought the Pursuit classic in preference to the newer model with the wraptor harness because I have had problems with overly elaborate back systems before. The harness on the pursuit classic is a simple fixed system which I find absolutely excellent. The hip belt is well padded and takes the load of the bag well making carrying heavy loads as comfortable as can be expected. The bag itself is not too heavy and is a good shape for climbing with. The gear loops on the hipbelt are well positioned and essential in my case as the bag obstructs the loops on my climbing harness almost totally. Ice axe loops, bungee cords and compression straps are all present as you would expect and all do their job well enough. The fabric that the bag is made from is very weatherproof and hard-wearing although I have managed to put some holes in mine in only 18 months of use. I find the lack of an inside lid pocket frustrating and the lack of a large, glove-friendly grip on the lid zip, while easily remedied, is a pretty glaring oversight from Macpac. Also the lack of an overload extension and the fact that the lid is fixed are annoying when carrying big loads. I got mine for about £80 so I'm very pleased with it but if I'd paid the RRP I would feel a bit short changed and would probably rather pay the extra for a Pod Black Ice.Comment on this review...
Pros: Good harness system, well padded hipbelt and very stable on your back. Strong, weather resistant fabric and bombproof construction. Good, unobtrusive shape for climbing and well positioned gear loops - just the job for Scottish winter and alpine climbing.
Cons: The lack of a floating lid and overload extension is annoying, as is the lack of an inside lid pocket.
Reviewed by Ed (Cumbria) on 2006-03-02:
General comments: This is a great rucsac. I've had mine for a few years now and it's never let me down. Its perfect for climbing, winter climbing and lightweight backpacking trips. The shape is great. Plenty of room to move your arms. Excellent size and shape. The material is very water resistant and hard wearing. The sac also has hauling loops on the top where your shoulders go and also above the bungee cord. Crampons are a doddle to fit onto the sac and you can store axes in the attatchment points provided or through the side compression sace and have the ferrule sitting in the kevlar bucket at the bottom of the sac for quick access and ease of use. Very hard wearing and is very comfortable and easy to adjust.
All round well made sac with great materials thats adaptable to whatever you and the weather can throw at it. Comment on this review...
Pros: Comes in 3 sizes. Very water resistant fabric. Kevlar reinfroced where it matters.
Gear loops on hip belt- (very handy for winter climbing or quick storage of ice axes). Side compression straps mean it can pack down quite small. Ideal size for cragging or winter mountaineering.
Cons: Supplied ice axe attatchments- Just a personal thing but i find them very fiddly when using gloves prefer to put my axes at the side, think the system on the POD sacs is probably better.
Back can get a bit wet as back ventilation isn't good but not sure there's much betteout there better.
Reviewed by Andy Mogg (UK) on 2006-03-02:
General comments: Macpac have a reputation for being bombproof and so far I have no reason to disagree with this its been chucked about something rotten and has so far come out unscathed.
The Macpac Pursuit Classic is constructed from a variety of tough materials including Kevlar, which should hopefully last a life time, its also pretty water repellent and copes with quite a bit of rain, I would still recommend a rucksack cover for the winter though.
The layout of the sack is great with plenty of attachments for things like poles or ice axes, although because it is predominantly a climbing sack the 50 litres is all from the main compartment and it does not have any proper side pockets, which is a bit of a pain for general hiking. The extending lid also comes in handy for when you want to pack that little bit extra in.
The harness is well padded as is the hip belt, which makes the rucksack extremely comfortable to carry even with heavy loads and on rough terrain.
Also one rather strange feature is that it has a section for a hydration pack (my 3litre camelback fits in perfectly) but there is no exit hole for the pipe so you have to tuck it under the lid.
If you are after a rucksack that will take a bit of a battering, that you can get plenty in, the macpac pursuit 50 might just be for you.
Comment on this review...
Pros: bomb proof
Cons: No external pockets.
No hydration pack tube hole
Reviewed by Pete Baars (Merseyside) on 2006-04-06:
General comments: It's called the pursuit classic, because that's exactly what it is, a Classic. It should be up there with the E-type jag, and concorde as an absolute design classic. The reason it's still made is because of the objections of so many climbers when macpac tried to replace it with the lighter version using modern fabrics. Macpacs reputation was built on the back of this sack and the Ascent, and it's avery brave man who forgets his roots. Fortunately for us, Macpac didn't. I'm know on my second one of these, the first lasted 8 years of being kicked around on an almost daily basis and it took the beatings very well indeed. Winter mountaineering, Alpine mountaineering, many days on the hill and at the crag with groups when I was working. It's a very comfortable load carrier and has enough capacity to do alpine routes including bivvy kit (if you pack properly). I love this bag and can't ever imagine not having one, I've been a tart and I've flirted with a few others, North face MG45, Arcteryx RT45, and the slightly smaller Marmot Eiger, (as an instructor, these are all tax deductible) but I keep coming back to the pursuit, the others are used for a month or so and then I realise just how robust and comfortable the pursuit is. It maybe slightly heavier than some of the competition and be missing the odd bells & whistles (like slots for hydration bladders), but it will last and last and there's not many products that you can say that about these days with the emphasis on faster and lighter all the time, this is a tortoise of sacks in a world full of hares.Comment on this review...
Pros: Durability. Build quality. Comfort when loaded. Good simple design for climbing.
Cons: It's a bit heavy compared to many more modern designs.
Reviewed by Rich L (Aberdeen) on 2006-04-23:
General comments: I am going to break with tradition and say I didnít like this bag. I was looking for a medium sized bag for winter climbing and youth group expeditions, and several friends recommended this bag stating durability and quality. One friend, away with the army for 4 months, lent me his and I used it extensively. It was the right size for me, according to people in shops and the macpac website, but I just found it uncomfortable. It nipped me round the neck and the waist belt always rode up. The back system made me sweaty and I felt strapped to it rather than moving as one. The top zip is awkward and holds very little in a small pocket, that actually doesnít easily take a folded OS map, unless you force it. Yes, the fabric is strong and the bag looks well made, but it wasnít for me. It is a narrow bag at the top which makes getting large items from the bottom a pain. I was using it with sub-twenty pound loads and it just didnít carry as well as either the Lowe Alpine Attack that I now have, or friends rucksacks I have tried such as the Crux AK47. Maybe I am a freak, but check before you buy, as I know of at least one other couple in our village who found a macpac baby carrier very uncomfortable and bought a Littlelife one instead!Comment on this review...
Pros: strong, good fabric and quality
Cons: uncomfortable for me, 6 foot, 12 stone
Reviewed by David B (Aberdeen) on 2006-10-23:
General comments: Possibly the most intelligent purchase of my climbing/walking career, this rucsac has been used and abused extensively in both summer and winter, in the Alps, and for both weekends away climbing or walking. It tends to be used with loads above the 15kg recommended weight limit, but manages these loads admirably. Like other reviewers, you really do have to admire the quality of materials and construction, with little touches such as buckles and zips being just as robust as the bag, leading to a sense of a bombproof sack.
I can personally testify to the quality of construction, as i was wearing this bag when i took an unexpected tumble down a steep gully a few winters ago. The bag escaped with nothing more than a single puncture (I on the otherhand wasn't so fortunate!). I do credit this sack with the preservation of my spine, and the harness system is so well fitted i barely noticed a broken collarbone (who am i kidding!).
Unfortunately i must have grown since then as the back system seems too short (although i have the same size Ascent which fits fine?!) and after a while you notice how little padding the shoulder straps have and how the straps chafe against a bare neck.Comment on this review...
Pros: Bombproof construction, really good attention to detail, like quick release side compression straps, little hooks on the front bungee that make access simple. The harness (if it still fits) is great and very supportive, with plenty of adjustment to shift the weight fron one sore point to another. The back system is really good for use as a sleeping mat, with the lumbar padding making a pleasant pillow!
Cons: My Pursuit has been all but replaced by lighter and generally smaller rucsacs, such as the Crux A35, whilst the heavy load carrying is done by an Ascent
Reviewed by David Hargrave (Cumbria) on 2007-07-08:
General comments: The Macpac Pursuit is the only sac I own. I use it for days out in the fells and overnight camps but it also serves for 10+ days away too if you pack right. After 3 longer trips with this bag I can definately say its a bombproof construction. I'm thinking more and more that i'd like a lighter bag and this is defo. overdesigned in the strength department. It's a good weight too and it all adds up once you're packed for the trip. With the lightweight thing going on more and more this is a good pack that will last me ages but I'll be looking for a lighter, more flexible, comfy pack for weekend trips or overnight wildcampsComment on this review...
Pros: very very tough. quality materials. simple strong design. won't wear out unless to sledge on it down scree (...for years...)
Cons: could be more comfortable. waist strap isn't formed enough in shape and should straps could be better, they're too padded and not shaped enough (compared to osprey or deuter sacs.
Reviewed by Dave Lamont (Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire) on 2008-11-14:
General comments: I've used the Macpac Pursuit Classic for two years now, having been through a wide range of rucksacks for fell-walking, climbing, trekking and cross-country skiing over the past forty odd years. The Pursuit Classic is a very neat, robust, uncluttered and comfortable sac, light enough for day use or but with enough capacity for multi-day trips. With its wider base it is particularly suitable for ski-touring where the weight needs to be kept around the pelvis as much as possible. Having suffered from back trouble for many years, my main concern when carrying heavier loads is to avoid backache; the Pursuit is my first sac that felt right from the start; the back system is the most anatomically correct that I have encountered; it is easy to adjust, to keep the weight on the hips rather than dragging on the shoulders. As mid-range pack it is ideal and comfortably copes with the addition of side-pockets (not available from Macpac) for heavier loads. I use Lowe removable side-pockets, attached to the compression straps of the Pursuit. The wide base and narrow top makes it awkward to secure long skis neatly to the pack using the side stake-pockets (this may be inevitable with this shape of pack and isn't really a "fault"). The only real niggle is the absence of a zipped pocket under the lid; these are very handy for keeping passport, wallet etc handy but safe; this is a baffling omission as its cost and weight would have been negligible.Comment on this review...
Pros: Anatomically very well designed.
Sits very well on the hips and doesn't drag on the shoulders with heavy loads.
Good waist belt.
Robust material and fixings.
Adequate fixings for camping or climbing gear.
Neat and uncluttered.
Light but with good capacity.
Good range of sizes, including a "Ladies".
Roomy lid pocket (but see comment below).
Cons: No zipped security pocket under lid.
Awkward to secure long skis to the pack using the side stake-pockets.
Expensive but worth it (and cut-price offers can be found).
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