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Climbing Packs

Gregory Alpinisto 35L

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The Gregory Alpinisto is a redesign of their venerable alpine pack. The new Alpinisto is for a climber, skier, snowboarder or just plain backcountry mountain’ista who needs an any-activity pack—one as at home with ice axes in its holsters as it is with skis on its sides.

Select improvements from previous renditions include more secure ice-axe slots, an 8-ounce overall weight saving, and a crampon pouch that cinches down with side (and lengthy) compression straps. The functionality of the back pouch is unique to the Alpinisto. After repeated use in different seasons, it isn’t just a crampon pouch, but holds a layer when you heat up, a water bottle at the crag or even a guidebook. It’s a distinguishing feature, and super convenient.

The Alpinisto isn’t for the type of minimalist climber who cuts their toothbrush in half to save weight; comparably sized alpine packs can weigh less than half the Alpinisto, which clocks in around 3.2 pounds for the 35L, with all of the accoutrements included. The weight is due to being stacked with features—durable and easy-to-use ski holsters; a side zip for quick entry; removable top lid; bivy pad; removable waist belt. Yes, you could strip it down and save weight.

While size is personal, the 35L option was good for me. On one solo outing last winter, I fit everything I needed for a cold bivy, with, of course, the help of the two side compression straps. If you are heading into the backcountry for two days plus, I’d recommend moving up in size, assuming you want to pack your rope and gear. Additionally, the pack is well structured (due to an interior alloy frame), so it doesn’t turn into a limp sack when stood upright.

Some feedback for Gregory—consider making the gear loop longer, as it’s extremely tight and could only hold a few items.

Comfort is another one of those things you only notice if it isn’t there, and even when I had it packed to the gills, it carried well. The main question: When do you know a pack performs? Answer: when you start unconsciously choosing it. That I did.

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