For Spring 2014, Patagonia is coming out with their first line of technical backpacks. Geared towards the fast and light alpinist, the Ascensionist packs may be minimalist in their appearance, but are packed full of unique design features, created through a strong partnership with Patagonia's climbing athletes.
The Ascensionist packs come in three different sizes, appropriate for many different alpine activities. The 45L (1020g / 40 oz.) is suited to longer or gear intensive alpine pursuits or ice climbing, the 35L (850g / 29.9 oz.) perfect for those done in a day alpine climbs as in Chamonix, and the 25L (349g / 12.3 oz.) a great summit or "bullet" pack for multi-pitch climbing.
All of these ripstop nylon packs feature a removable aluminum framesheet to further cut down on weight if desired. The lid is integrated into a unique asymmetrical spindrift collar at the top of the main body of the pack. When open, you have wide mouth access to all your gear and the lid simply folds over to clamp shut.
The lid closure loop also doubles as a carabiner loop for belay stations, giving you secure access to your thermos, belay jacket, and other gear. The top of the lid features a small vertical access pocket for your quick access essentials. The vertical nature of the zip means your stuff won't immediately fall out the back when you unzip.
The 45L and 35L packs use the standard sheath ice tool connection system (thank you Patagonia!) and padded waist belts that are removable. These two packs also include an additional spindrift collar so you can over stuff, along with an A-frame carry system for porting your skis on alpine touring trips.
The Patagonia Ascensionist 25L-45L packs retail for $99-$179, available around February 2014.