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Ronan O Keeffe

Based in Ireland, interested in hillwalking, mountaineering, rock climbing and winter mountaineering.
I'm lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful counties in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Blessed with not only two mountain ranges but also a spectacular coast I really think where I am located is up there with the best of places.

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24511
Level
4
 
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Belongs to Tribes (8)

Climbers Climbers
Traction: 10
Members: 66
Ice climbers Ice climbers
Traction: 9.8
Members: 59
Mountaineers Mountaineers
Traction: 8.7
Members: 48
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Favorite Brands (14)

Icebreaker Icebreaker
Traction: 2.5
Products: 794
Black Diamond Black Diamond
Traction: 3.1
Products: 979
Blue Ice Blue Ice
Traction: 3.1
Products: 10
 

Reviews from user (Top 3 rated)

 
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I have the newer (2011-12) version of this garment and while it remains an outstanding piece of clothing the levels of protection it affords have fallen since the fabric changed from Polartec Powershield to Fortius 2.0. It also comes in slightly heavier as well at just under 700gr.

I've been lucky enough to experience both models so if you would prefer more wind resistance then try track down one of the older models. If you are looking for more breathability then the newer one is the model for you.

On to the jacket itself and it remains one of the best made pieces of clothing I've come across. Add to the mix that they make it in a great range of interesting colours (take note everyone else black and blue aren't good enough!).

The hood is a stand out piece of design, it's huge and bucket like but cinches down so well with the draw cord adjustment system that it's a perfect fit whether wearing a helmet or not.

The DWR also deserves a mention, it's as good as it gets!


After more than a year of use I have to say that this jacket works best in cold, dry, realtively windless environments. It sheds snow and spindrift without problem, but the increased breathability mentioned above comes at the price of being less wind and shower proof.

  • Perfect fit
  • Fantastic hood
  • Build quality
  • Looks great
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This is an already light pack that's strippable down on an amazing 650g but that lack of weight comes at a cost, namely durability.
As it is an alpine pack it should be expected to stand up to quite a bit of abuse against rock and the bottom of the pack got holed after a few weeks of light usage on some long rock routes. The face material also showed signs of wear quite early in its life.
It's not a huge issue as some McNett seam tape has covered the hole nicely but I get the feeling that this pack would be more at home on the snow though.

I'd question the lack of reinforcements on the attachment points of the main closure straps, they are just stitched directly to the main body. The material of the main body is quite light and I can see this becoming an issue but so far it's been ok.

The main irk i have with the pack is the attachment system used for the lid and the compression straps. They seem to come undone when you least need them to, but when you actually want to undo them they are very awkward to release. This mainly applies to the lid, but I have had the compression straps come undone of their own accord a few times.

I'm beginning to think that the best way to get the lid off is to turn your back on the pack, ignore it and it will just fall off itself!

But enough about the negative! There's a huge amount about this pack to like too:
The lid is a great size with two loops inside for attaching your keys, GPS or whatever takes your fancy. There is also a nice internal zipped security pocket in the bottom of the lid too.
The central zipper is great for accessing items at the bottom of your pack without having to release the closure straps and undoing the draw cords. It really is the thing I like best about this pack and am now sure I won't opt for another pack that does not have this feature.

It is a comfortable pack, with soft padding on the hipbelt and back area. I thought the softness of the padding might be problematic but it is actually fine under a heavy load (14Kg) of full trad rack, ropes, clothing, food and water.

And finally the DWR of the pack is worth noting, it sheds quite a lot of rain before leaving in water and is lasting quite well.

I bought this item from the company themselves as I liked their ethos and commitment to making products with an ecological slant. At €110 euros delivered it's not too badly priced. The pack itself is made from recycled material so kudos are due to Blue Ice for that.

The three star review is reflective of the quality of the pack, it is above average, but not stellar. Refinement of the attachment system and toughening up the bottom and face fabrics would see this pushing strongly for a five star rating.

  • Great lid
  • Central zipper is fantastic
  • DWR
  • Weight
  • Comfortable
  • Awful lid attachment system
  • Not as durable as it should be
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A little on the heavy side, but if you do choose to use these as a racking crab then at least you have a full size, very strong crab on your harness should you need it.

Can be hard to tell up from down but I put my marking tape on the opposite end to the gate pin so I have an easy visual reference for opening.

  • Strong and durable
  • Holds a lot of gear
  • weight
 
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