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Alpine Packs

Alpine packs

Much as I love my daypack I know it's not suitable for every type of adventure I set out on. As with everything in life it's important to know your limitations – and that goes for your gear too.

If you know a trip is going to involve any mountain or ice climbing a regular backpack probably isn't going to be up to the job. I always like to travel light and it I'm doing any serious climbing that gets even more of a focus. It's about having the essentials – climbing and safety gear, food and water. An Alpine pack is ideal for these conditions and I strongly recommend you add one to your kit if you're into climbing in any way.

Alpine packs are designed to be sleek, light and easy to carry rather than being built for comfort. Choosing the right Alpine pack is worth spending some time on and you need to find one that will let you move quickly and won't restrict your climbing movements in any way. The heavier the backpack is the bigger the load usually is and that means a slower climb. Trust me it really does make a difference and you'll find your energy gets sapped very quickly if you're carrying too much weight. I did some serious climbing in The Kosciuszko National Park last year and if I'd taken my daypack I'd have missed out on some of the best climbs. As I always say, you need the right gear for the job.

Alpine packs are made to keep the load tight to your back and properly and evenly balanced. Many packs will also let you haul them by rope when you have to take the pack off if you're climbing any challenging faces. Most alpine packs are abrasion resistant and have fewer loops and straps that could get caught or snagged on the rocks and terrain. Of course they do need some with essential exterior attachment points that allow you to safely carry an ice axe, crampons, rope, and other essentials.

Alpine packs

It's all about the weight so most alpine packs are made out of lightweight fabrics such as nylon and polyester. A decent pack should also be coated to be water resistant as you're going to face ice, snow and damp conditions. They usually have fewer storage pockets than larger packs so you need to organise them and make sure that you can easily and quickly get into the pack to retrieve your essentials.

Many alpine packs are also compatible with internal bladder hydration systems that allow you to take in water through a tube while climbing. Personally I think this is key if you're a climber as you don't want to be stopping to retrieve a water bottle. Some models also come with other unique features - such as a safety whistle or the pack doubling as a bivy sack. Don't be lured by gimmicks – think what you want the kit to do for you and choose an alpine pack that's right.

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