Rated 2 out of 5 by M Good idea, bad implementation
The backpack is well made, and materials are good. At the beginning it feels good and moves perfectly with the body.
However, The hip belt system gets extremely annoying after several hours of use with mid or heavy load. The tiny metal bolt makes pressure through the foam layer and gets directly to your lower-back.
I have tried different setups, but even in winter it gets too disturbing to use. So far the only disappointment with Black Diamond, but big. I would love to exchange it for similar but without ergoActive system or improved one (like current Epic).
Also the helmet holder and other features could be easier to use in gloves.
March 25, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Clare My Boyfriend Keeps Stealing My Pack
I love this pack, and everyone who borrows it or carries it wants to steal it from me. It's a great size for day trips multi-pitch or ice climbing. It can hold a great number of things, including rope, harness, helmet, ice tools or climbing shoes, full rack of gear, nalgene, and thermos of coffee. Two things in particular that I love about the pack: the inner lid zipper, which is perfect for holding your phone and snacks so you can easily pull them out, and the way the shoulder straps move with you as you climb or hike. I am 5'3", 120lbs and the size small fits me perfectly. With the hip belt on, the weight falls perfectly and never feels uncomfortable, I never have strain on my back. I also love the pack's versatility; the removable crampon pouch, hide-away helmet hood and rope straps, and hip belt are all adjustable or removable. The ice tool loops , crampon pouch, zippers, and straps are all easy to use with gloves on, so you don't have to get your hands cold to access or modify anything. I think the top zip system could be better designed, because if you have gear in the lid/brain of your pack, it is hard to zip back up when it's fully un-zipped.
A perfect pack for anyone with a longer approach to the crag/ice, or on overnight excursions where a lot of gear is necessary.
February 8, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by Bradley Lots of room and cool features
Has plenty of space for all of my gear and really like the helmet and rope holder. Only hard part was finding them when I first got it.
February 1, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by Jim Exceptionally well built/designed pack; 2 improvement suggestions
This is an extremely well built pack. The Ergoactiv and swing arm features make for exceptional ride and comfort. The pack is always right there moving with my body and never gets tipped out of balance requiring undue strain and strength to get it back in line while in a precarious position. That innovation is the best improvement in pack
design since shoulder straps.
One minor complaint is the female buckles for the helmet pouch are inside tiny pockets of material making them virtually impossible to operate.
One MAJOR complaint is not restricted to this pack or Black Diamond but industry wide. In an effort to minimize weight this pack and all others built today are sacrificing the most important aspect of any pack-the WAIST BELT. The belt carries the entire weight of the pack (or should) and a tiny 3” wide strip of hard ¼” thick foam doesn’t cut it even on day packs. My day pack weighs more than my long range pack because of gear requirements; which is indicative of many climbers and back country skiers today. My long range pack is for camping gear while my day pack is for skiing and climbing. By the time I get my ski gear, climbing gear and avalanche gear on a pack it is heavy. This pack, and all other packs of this size and larger, need an honest to goodness heavily padded and hip formed waist belt to be effective. The hips carry the weight so sacrificing the waste belt to lighten the load makes absolutely no sense because when the belt is sacrificed, much less weight can be carried. I would rather carry 50lbs on a good belt than 20lbs on this or other light weight belts. Sacrificing a few ounces in the belt effectively reduces the load carrying ability of the pack by tens of pounds. PLEASE, be an industry leader and bring back the wide, thickly padded, hip formed, weight bearing waist belt. At least make it an option on your packs. As much as I like the new Ergoactive and swing arm innovations, I would rather have a pack that is less well balanced but has a proper waist belt than this or any other design.
Yes, I would recommend this pack to others but if there was any pack on the market with a proper waist belt I would recommend it first, even if it was not nearly as well built or designed as this pack. Yes, the waist belt is that important.
May 18, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Matteo This product is wery good
I have bought this product for climbing,
is very practic and well done!
April 9, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by Harold Awesomeness!
I had reservations about buying another BD pack as I have an older one that I used a few times before I stuffed it in my closet to collect dust. That was many years ago.
I tried the Axis at my local shop and decided to buy. I love it! I've never had a pack that I actually felt moved with me. My first trip was on a multi-pitch climb in the backcountry here in Colorado. It rocked. Carried gear, water and some clothes really well. It climbed awesome to!
I only have 2 gripes. The buckles for the helmet cover are stuffed in pockets and small. Even without gloves I find it hard to squeeze the buckles to release them. The 2nd gripe is minor. I have not found a pack yet that, when I'm wearing a helmet does not push my helmet down over my eyes when I'm looking up no matter how I adjust the pack. ( I have a half dome)
Overall good pack. I'm thinking about buying one of the bigger packs for extended backcountry trips. GO BD!!!
December 3, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by Brian Flawed Masterpiece
There are a lot of things I love about this pack. It carries well, has just the right volume, has a simple and intuitive axe retention system, and is very simple. Unfortunately, its got a few gee-whiz features that interfere with its regular usage, and the pack material is simply not up to usage in high-abrasion situations.
First, the helmet- and rope-retention systems completely prevent any access to anything inside the pack, including stuff in the top compartment. Second, recessed buckles for said retention systems are nearly impossible to operate in gloves, and very difficult to operate barehanded in the comfort of my own home. Third, the suspension system, as mentioned above, is heavy and impossible to completely strip out for alpine summit bids. Finally, as I said, the pack material is thin and easily damaged. If you have to haul this thing for any distance over rock, expect to replace it afterwards. If you have any sharp edges inside the pack (like cam lobes, pitons, or a nut tool), then you're also at risk of developing holes.
I don't mind the extra usability of the helmet and rope things, but I wish they were designed to be completely removable, and placed in such a way that did not interfere with the top compartment. Likewise, I love the zipper opening, but the total absence of any sort of strap to keep the top compartment in place means that closing the pack can put a lot of undue strain on the zipper.
August 13, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by Jim Nearly a dream come true...Sooooo close!
The dimensions of the pack are a dream come true, the only pack i have ever seen with the long slim profile i have been searching for, it wears close to the body & moves with you like no other.
the quirky, bulky and heavy waist pivot system works well, but i would trade it for a simpler traditional waist strap.
If you remove the waist strap/ metal frame, it leaves an actual hole in the back panel.
The metal internal frame is just a bit too tall for airplane overhead.
The zipper access lacks structure & when opened flops around too much.
July 25, 2013