- Detail Images
Your weekend warrior backpacking buddy.
Every weekend is an adventure for you, and the Black Diamond Element 45 Backpack brings the comfort whether you're hiking in a mere five miles or tackling something much longer. Both the reActiv hip belt and the SwingArm shoulder straps move with your body while you hike in order to give you a natural stride and reduce the energy it takes to reach your destination. Unlike most backpacks, you only need to set the straps and the belt once without readjusting them on the trail because this pack ensures an ideal balance at all times regardless of the terrain. Black Diamond molded the V-Lite frame anatomically in order to fit your back comfortably. And the main compartment stores all the essentials you need for a successful backpacking trip.
Black Diamond constructed the Element out of a durable nylon with a water-shedding finish and added an even more durable ripstop in key areas to withstand tears and abrasions. The backpack also features a floating top pocket that you can convert to a lumbar pack for day hikes on your backpacking trip, a zippered front pocket with internal pockets so you can organize all your gear accordingly, and a hip belt pocket for any small item you might need while you hike like lip balm or sunscreen. It also has a bottom zippered access so you can get to your sleeping bag without taking everything else out of the pack.
- reActiv suspension system
- SwingArm shoulder straps
- V-Lite frame
- Top access to main compartment
- Bottom zippered access to sleeping bag compartment
- Floating top pocket converts to lumbar pack
- 210D ripstop with water-resistant finish, 420D nylon abrasion panels
- Zippered front pocket with internal pockets
- Zippered hip belt pocket
- Q & A
Fidgety straps, hip belt cuts
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I've been a pretty big Black Diamond pack fan. I've had the old Octane for 5 years. Pretty great. The Nitro 26 is great, too.
A buckle on my Octane finally busted, and so I used this as an excuse to try something new in a larger pack. I've used this for 50-70 miles of hikes so far. Two huge problems:
1) The brain bag retention straps don't hold! After cinching them tight, a few minutes of walking and they've loosened themselves completely. I've wrapped these around the brain and knotted them, for now.
2) The bag is quite fidgety, with those top straps getting loose; the side pockets, as another reviewer has observed, are difficult to keep tight as well; the bag has a larger inner area, and a smaller outer area with webbed pockets and zippers. The whole design makes it difficult to quickly access much.
3) I'm 6'5", and got a Large. Maybe I'm just too tall for this pack, but the hip belts give me bad cinch burns against my hips.
4) [minor annoyance] The only pocket with a key clip is on the interior of the brain. This means that I need to undo the brain clasps in order to access anything that I have secured to the key clip.
Ugh, oh well, back to the drawing board. That was $180 wasted. I hate to be harsh, but I don't like this pack much.
Redeeming features: the moroccan blue color is great; the pivoting system of the pack is, as usual for black diamond, quite excellent.
Photo: sorry for the blur; wearing Fjällräven Greenland (good, not great), Mountain Khaki Broadway Fit Poplin (awesome); Fjällräven Byron Thin hat (awesome)
Great Bag with One Mistake
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
BD came through on this pack. I've owned lots of packs but this one really fits great. Pack comes in a 60L or 45L. I found the 45L to be sufficient for my climb on Kilimanjaro last year. The only con for the bag.. the side water pouches/compartments are tightened down by a string as you can see in the product picture. The locking mechanism for the string does not hold well. After hours of being on the trail the pouches will become slightly loosed and if you lean over to make the pack horizontal with the ground.. everything will spill out. Not too fun. I wish they were just really tight elastic bands or straps.