|The Last Thing I Stepped On Before Psykovsky's Sequins|
Well I gave it a proper good testing, smashing it around on the North York Moors, The Frankenjura and a few other places. Number one point is: It's tough, really tough. It's made out of this dynema fabric, which basically means that you can use it as a haul-bag for quite a while before it breaks. I reckon I shunted about 40 times with it, each for about an hour or more and there isn't a single bit of damage. The only bit that is weak is a small orange toggle used for attaching ice axes. I managed to pull one of these off of another bag, but I think they've improved the strength of these since.
|The Jirishanca Fully Loaded Up|
This brings me onto the stability of the bag. It's ludicrous. I did a lot of running, cycling and walking with it and it's without a doubt the most stable bag I've ever used. OMM have developed some strange yolk system designed for running, that actually works very well for basically any high-activity sport. It's brilliant for climbing. As you often have a partially empty bag when climbing, it's necessary to be able to compress it right up and for the bag to not feel like it's flopping around. This did that well Quite impressed there.
Now to the negatives. There's no rope-holding strap. This is daft on a climbing bag and when the bag is not fully loaded, carrying a rope is annoying. Similarly, the whole concept of 'lean-weight' means that the bag has no compression straps or basically anything for gear to be attached to. I'm lead to believe that when you buy the bag, then you get a set of elastic and toggles to customise it yourself and there are copious attachment points there already. They leave it like this so that the OMM-produced MSC can be attached, that compresses and enables a helmet to be attached to the exterior. I'm not sure if I'm convinced by this. I like the idea that I can have a completely stripped-down bag to use, but I also like a built-in compression strap here and there. Maybe I just need to get with the times?
|Looking For Boulders|
Another ingenious design is the opening system, it's bloody fantastic. You'd think that quick-release opening would be a needless faff, but it actually works really well, especially when on a cliff when you don't want to open your bag fully for everything to drop out. For shunting and multi-pitching this is a great feature.
As touched on before, the back system is lightweight, but nevertheless integrates a small sleeping mat, that would be an absolute bonus for alpine climbing. It's not a thermarest, but it certainly would make a massive difference in an epic or in alpine climbing.
Verdict? A bag full of ideas and tough as nails. You can see that the guys producing this really care about making a clever bag. Some of the inventions are questionable and it's down to personal preference a lot of the time whether you'll like them, but some of the ideas are just down-right brilliant. It's so adaptable that it doesn't actually matter if you don't like a feature, you can just chop it off and change it.