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Reviews - Mon 8th Jun 2009 - Rucksack: Mammut Spindrift 40 - Heason Events

Rucksack: Mammut Spindrift 40

8th Jun 2009

The Mammut Spindrift 40 is a 40 litre pack aimed specifically at the off-piste / back-country skier or boarder, however it would be equally suited as a day pack for light weight mountaineering. This sack is part of Mammut’s range of mountain safety equipment together with shovels, probes and avalanche transceivers. In use I loved this pack and as you can see the pros significantly outweigh the cons.

Mammut Avalanche Pack

Pros

 

• The sack is extremely comfortable in use with a padded back support made of what feels like neoprene gel compartments.
• The contoured shoulder straps, adjustable chest strap and very effective padded hip belt can all be securely tightened preventing the pack from bouncing around which is obviously crucial for a pack that is aimed at the skier or boarder.
• The hip belt also has a small zip pocket for items such as a compass or emergency chocolate.
• Although the pack is made of lightweight material it has surprisingly remained undamaged, even waterproof in a downpour and can more than adequately cope with a dusting of powder. However, only time will tell how hard-wearing the sack is.
• Double draw cord sleeve and clip prevent snow from entering the main compartment.
• Zipped lid pocket and pocket under the lid to allow for quick access to small items and contain the obligatory key clip.
• Simple and effective carrying system for skis – accommodating my mid-fat backcountry twin tips (89mm underfoot) with ease, one on each side. The system would even fit the massive planks that are modern day powder skis. The skis can be securely fixed to the pack using simple locking buckles that prevent the straps from loosening.
(See Photo of ski carrying system in use)
• Simple and effective carrying system for snowboards vertically down the front of the sack – employing the same locking buckles as the ski carry system.
• Excellent side zip to give you access to the main compartment of the sack. In my opinion more sack designers should consider adding this feature as it allows quick access to items at the bottom or middle of the sack.
• 2 Ice axe loops with Velcro straps to prevent the axes from slipping whilst you are hurtling down untracked powder.
• Plastic coated haul loop.
• Insulated hydration system hose pocket in the shoulder strap is an excellent feature to this back-country sack. I have been out in the mountains on several occasions when mine or my friend’s hydration hose have frozen solid. The hydration bladder can also be fastened inside the pack using 3 Velcro loops and elastic pocket.
• The front pouch pocket allows quick access to your shovel in an emergency and could also be used to store crampons. The shovel can also be held into place with a Velcro strap to prevent it bouncing around. The front pouch also has a small mesh base to allow any melting snow that is still on your shovel after a rescue situation or building that kicker to drip out.
• Mammut have thought of everything with this sack and the front pouch pocket also has a very useful sheath for the storage of a rescue probe.
• The striking red and grey colour scheme typical of the Swiss manufacturer.
• Nice touch of the inclusion of safety information under the lid of the sack which includes; a checklist of what to pack for a backcountry skiing adventure, emergency signals, emergency telephone numbers and basic first aid guidelines

 

Cons
 

• I would prefer a slightly smaller carrying capacity, say 25 to 30 litres for use as a purely recreational skiing/boarding day sack but the 40 litres is spot on for more adventurous days in the mountains when ropes, axes and additional equipment needs to be carried.
• The mesh for carrying a helmet on the front of the sack is useful but very flimsy and prone to snagging on lifts. To prevent damage I unclip mine and only attached it when required to carry my helmet.
• As the sack has so many straps I often found myself clipping the wrong ones together when doing up the lid in a hurry.
• The wide zip allows full access to the lid pocket however I found I kept dropping items out of the lid when opening.
• As with a lot of Mammut equipment the sack is not cheap and the current weak value of sterling exacerbates this, however, the best kit on the market usually comes at a price.

In summary this has to be one of the best back-country sacks that I have ever used and is highly recommended for the more adventurous skier, boarder or lightweight alpinist.

 

Reviewed by Dan Webber on behalf of planetFear