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Black Diamond Mission 55

All-around pack that takes you up to winter expeditioning.

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MSRP: $219.00

BEST FOR: alpine and winter climbing

It’s for ice and winter climbing. Winter travel. Alpine cragging, at the very least.

But what if you are a plain rock climber who always overloads your cragging pack? Who (just bringing it up for a friend) tends to be cold or hungry and bring a lot of clothing and provisions? Who has had more than one friend note your overpacked pack. Besides, ropes keep getting longer and longer, so who couldn’t use some extra room?

So, you can easily use this top loader as a great, large crag pack (color only to change, to more black, for fall 2018) . The crampon pouch is a perfect size for a water bottle, one less thing to have to paw around for among all that stuff.

Conversely, some buy this pack having used a Mission 75 and simply wanting a smaller version of the same thing.

The Mission 55 balances and carries well on the approaches. Of course it carries frickin’ well. It’s designed for every season. The shoulder straps and hip belts are easy to adjust, including on the go, and allow facile multidirectional movement. The tabs on the drawcord skirt, when you get how to use rather than fumble with them, are zippy and smooth-running. The zipper runs up clear through the skirt, a handy feature that eases the task of retrieving a puffy or rain jacket.

Long, adjustable straps mean that even when the top flaps are loaded, you can reach into the main pack easily. You can load up the generous top pockets (two) with hat, gloves, sunglasses, sandwich box, medical kit … hey, meds if you have ‘em. Within the upper pocket is a small zippered one that holds car keys or a phone, so you know right where to find it to film and send us those Weekend Whippers.


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Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.