I have been climbing on the mountains for many years from different routes and with different kind of gear. One of the most important item for a mountaineer is the backpack. The term mountaineering backpack encompasses a very broad range of items. A mountaineering backpack can be a large Daypack for hikes, a technical alpine backpack or a trekking backpack.
Generally, the term mountaineering backpack refers to a robust backpack, with all the alpine necessities, which is used for activities in the mountains and in the snow such as snowboarding and ski trips, mountaineering and glacier hiking.
I have been searching the market in order to replace my Simond 22 l Alpinism backpack and to get a backpack that would fulfil the following needs:
- Able to be packed small
- Able to carry tools such as ice aces
- Able to carry a rope
My research was extensive on the internet, but I have also checked with other fellow mountaineers their personal experiences too. The backpacks I have checked were the following ones:
- The North Face Verto 27 l – Summit Series
- Blue Ice Dragonfly 25 l
- Petzl Bug 18 l
- Arc’Teryx Alpha AR 20 l
- Lowe Alpine Renegate 28 l
- Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 28 l
- Simond Spint 22 l
Based on the extensive research, some testing and general feedback I have received, I have decided to purchase the Verto 27 Summit Series by The North Face.
Materials, Design and Features
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series is a summit backpack with great industrial design and is coming on 4 different colour options. I went for the knockoff orange and black version, but there are the options for Meld Grey/TNF Black, Fierry Red/TNF Black and Bluebird/TNF Black.
The overall look of the backpack is giving the sense of a well thought product and although is not perfect I can certainly say that is looking very “sleek” just like the waterproof jacket by TNF, the Venture Hyvent 2.5l.
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series is lightweight and very compressible that makes it easy to the pack within another backpack for versatility. High-tenacity nylon fabric ensures durability against jagged rock faces, while 360-degree reflectivity keeps you visible during those low-light climbs.
It has a removable frame sheet foam that converts to a bivy emergency pad in a pinch, it has a detachable, flip-forward lid with lid pocket and within the pocket there is a fixed keyholder.
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series for Alpine Climbing
One of the main reasons I decided to purchase The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series was the dedicated features for alpine climbing and mainly for winter mountaineering. Such features are the flap under lid protects the pack’s contents when the lid is removed, the tool keepers with covered tips, the way you can attach your rope and/or crampons on the exterior of the backpack.
With regards the ice axe keepers, although they work fine and I particularly like the option to have the ice axe tips covered, I would have prefer if the ice axe keepers are similar to the ones used by another alpine backpack I have, the Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35-45.
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series has a smart system in order to reduce the volume while climbing and this is achieved by removing the detachable flip-forward lid. In this way the Verto 27 becomes very minimal and occupies minimal space which can certainly help while climbing chimneys.
Additionally, the lid also has a spacious pocket where one can place sunglasses, a snack, a GPS device and of course the car keys in the dedicated key-holder provided within the lid.
On the external, there is one pocket for a bottle of water (or snacks) and there is also a hydration sleeve with the dedicated output.
Fit & Comfort
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series is a minimally designed backpack and although comfort is not the priority, it is comfortable enough. The waist belt (read: not a hip belt) serves to keep the pack tight against you when you’re climbing rather than to offload any weight from your shoulders. Improvements I’d like to see an adjustment for pulling the top of the pack closer to your shoulders. Depending on how you have it packed, even with the sternum strap moved up high and cinched down, the compartments can sit away from your shoulders quite a lot, bringing your center of gravity out, which to me is the biggest downside of this backpack.
Packability & Transportation
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series packs into its own pocket (top lid) to save space for summits or quick adventures off the trail. It is very fast to pack it within the top lid and in case one wants to carry even less weight (and volume), can remove and leave behind the foam sheet pad.
The packed Verto 27 is very small and can be easily squeezed in any other backpack.
The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series is a minimally designed backpack and although comfort is not the priority, it is comfortable enough. It has enough room for a twin rope, both ice tools, crampons, a harness, a light rack, a light jacket, and food and water for a day. What I like is that it’s a low-profile pack that doesn’t get in the way when you’re climbing or swinging tools. The material is nice and light and quite water resistant. The North Face Verto 27 Summit Series has all the main features for alpine climbing such as ice axe keepers, hydration sleeve, lightweight but durable enough material and a sleek industrial design.
- The ultimate lightweight and versatile summit pack
- Removable frame sheet
- Tool keepers with covered tips
- Detachable, flip-forward lid with lid pocket
- Reflective hits for 360 degrees of reflectivity
- Lightweight and compressible design lets you carry the pack within another backpack
- Flap under lid protects the pack’s contents when the lid is removed
- Hydration sleeve
- Buckle with whistle on chest strap
- Fixed keyholder
- Weight: 453 g
- Volume: 27 liters
- Material: 210D high-tenacity nylon
The North Face 27 Verto in Action
Bellow some photos of The North Face 27 Verto backpack in action
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Disclosure: Product(s) discussed in this article were purchased by Olympus Mountaineering from a retailer. I do not accept compensation or donated product in exchange for media placement or product review coverage.