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Better balance equals better climbing.

A bulky pack can alter your sense of balance and hinder your range of motion, both of which are critical to sending the technical pitches on hard alpine rock routes. Thanks to the low-profile shape and vest-like fit of the Mountain Hardwear Summitrocket 20 VestPack Backpack, you'll be able to carry the gear you need and confidently lead that sketchy 5.11 pitch.

  • Low-profile design allows the pack to fit like a vest for improved climbing performance
  • Wide, lightly padded shoulder straps evenly distribute weight and allow you to comfortably pack between 10 and 25 pounds of essential gear
  • Ultralight weight of 12 ounces is ideal for fast and light alpine endeavors
  • OTF compression system allows you to quickly balance and control the load while you're on the go
  • Compression system can be removed for further weight savings
  • Four pockets on the shoulder straps provide quick access to essential items
  • Two ice tool holders and mini daisy chains provide easy access to equipment
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Great Little Backpack

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I read lots of reviews before actually purchasing this guy. I kept going back and forth and I remained fairly skeptical for quite some time. I nearly bought an Ultimate Direction pack that cost around 175 and I started to rethink what I was doing. The Summitrocket 20 went on sale, and I decided to pull the trigger.

I haven't had any of the durability issues that others have mentioned. It feels pretty sturdy, and I feel like it's fairly obvious how far you can stretch the cords, etc. I have taken this on hikes and on long runs. It does exactly what I wanted it to do-it holds a water bladder, extra layers, food and any backcountry, lightweight necessities. Very important to me also, living in Alaska, is carrying bear spray. This comes in a large, bulky can, which usually makes for awkward placement. The Summitrocket has a water bottle holder in the front that allows me to slide the bear spray in perfectly, and I can reach it quickly in an emergency.

Because this is a running vest style backpack, it is perfect for fast hiking and running without bounce or uncomfortable shifting. We will see how the pack holds up in the long haul, but I'm very pleased so far!

Can a woman wear this? (boobs/interfere with vest fit?)

The straps can be adjusted up and down, so there should be some flexibility in fit. The safest bet is to try and see.

Nice try but not there yet

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I am a big fan of vest packs and I use one for both trail running and skimo races. I am also a fan of cleanly designed climbing packs, where the main storage area is simply a tube to be stuffed with your gear. I was very excited about the concept of a tube-style climbing pack with vest features on the front, to save time with eating and drinking but still having a nice storage capacity to carry climbing gear.

They got the tube part right on this one, but not the vest. The pockets are too small to carry enough stuff to save you much time. The two upper pockets are too small to fit even a single gel, so I'm not sure what is supposed to go there. The lower zipper pocket can fit a Canon S100 camera or iPhone, but it's tight and presses the contents inward on your body instead of bellowing out. The bottle pocket can actually fit a bottle and stretches outward, definitely the most comfortable pocket on the vest.

Most vests locate pockets both on the front of chest and on the sides, under the arms. The pockets on this vest end up somewhere in between (at least on my body) and the result is that flat objects press uncomfortably against the rounded sides of my chest and ribs.

The lack of vest storage capacity combined with the discomfort of the pocket locations prompted me to return this pack without even taking it outside. It otherwise seems like a decent pack, although the ice tool attachments were a little fiddly.

I know the idea is to be light, but it would also be nice for this pack to have a minimal bladder sleeve. I suspect that once the gear is taken out of the pack to begin climbing, a bladder simply hanging by the velcro strap would flop around quite a bit inside the pack, even with the compression straps tightened.

I truly hope to see this product refined in the future and I would order a new version without a second thought if it looked like these things were fixed.

This is bad

Less than five minutes out of the packaging ...

(Disclaimer: I did not buy this pack from BackCountry.)

This is bad

This happened to my vestpack less than five minutes out of the packaging too. I went to tighten the side, and the white thread popped out.

Hmmm ...

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this pack for running, quick summit assaults, and skinning up the local hill. I have used it a few times to skin.

The good: This pack is light. Like, really, really light. This pack is really comfortable. I went for a two-mile snow jog with this thing, loaded to the gills with all the gear I think I'd ever need, and the pack took the weight like a champ and was very stable on my back. For a mega-ultra-light pack, I'm really impressed by how this thing takes the weight of a full day's (20 liter) load. The water bottle holder is perfect.

The bad: Less than two minutes out of the packaging, the bag failed. I lightly tugged on one of the cinch straps and its "anchor" came totally undone from the pack (I posted a picture). (Note: I did not buy this pack from BackCountry. They were sold out at the time.) This is a quick and easy fix with a sewing machine, but it really makes you question the integrity of the construction of the pack. Beside the water bottle holder, the storage "compartments" on the straps are too small to really carry, well, much of anything beside a headlamp, a Cliff Bar, and some hydration tablets. The pack has a bladder holder in the pack (good) and a hose clip on the shoulder strap (really good), but no hole in the pack to put the hose through (bad).

Synopsis: Does this pack feel great on your back, fully loaded with all the things you need for a summit assault? Yes. Is it worth $120? Hmmm.

SummitRocket 20

The tool attachment looks strange. A picture...

The tool attachment looks strange. A picture or explanation would be helpful.

Best Answer

The way it works is like this:

1. drop the handle of the tool through the red loop and then swivel the handle up parallel to the pack.

2. unhook the red elastic from the gray plastic fixture and put it around the handle of the tool.

3. tighten the red elastic through the gray plastic fixture.

The black strap on the bottom isn't attached to the red one, it's just to keep it in check.