The Alpine Explorer is justTheTicket for 1-day summit attempts, day hiking, ultralight overnights, or even all day bikingTreks. It holds 3 liters (about 100oz., enough for 3+ hours of hydration) in its OMEGA HydroTitanium bladder, plus another 1952 cubic inches of cargo capacity for your jacket, food, bivy sack, etc. DesignedTo carry: extra clothing, food, head lamp, map,Trekking poles, ice axe, etc. Vented Air Director back keeps you cool asThe day warms Pockets let you seperate cell pho
a Weekend Warrior
from New Jersey
Date Reviewed: February 1, 2012
Strengths: Many storage areas, large insulated bladder compartment, webbing straps.
Weaknesses: Large, on the bulky side if packed, cheap elastics to hold tubing for the bladder
Small note before I begin: the pack I am reviewing is the older model Alpine Explorer, with a mesh midsection.
Well put together sack. I can comfortably fit a spare tube, tire levers, gauge, pump, patch kit, and first aid supplies in the front pocket without worrying about bulking out the pack. There is a pocket up top for electronics that is lined with microfleece, and a zippered pocket on the belt that has room to spare for a multi-tool and several smaller things. The main body of the pack has more than enough room to fit 1-2 changes of clothing and a small pair of shoes. I can then fit rain/cold weather gear into the mesh mid pocket, all while carrying a full 3 liters of water. There are carrying loops on the bottom of the pack that can hold a bedroll or other miscellaneous gear, and a section of webbing on the very back of the pack, suitable for clipping lightweight objects. A generously sized water bottle pocket rounds out the mix.
When full, as when empty, the pack is comfortable to wear, with four straps to cinch down the load on the pack, and a chest strap and belt to hold the pack securely to you. My only complaint is that the shoulder straps sit high on my short torso, cutting into my neck on occasion. A nicely padded "airflow director" sits on your back, though in practice, my back is just as swamped as it is on other packs. The pack is adequately water-resistant, the contents remaining mostly dry for an hour in light to moderate rain. Deeper pockets are better protected.
As mentioned, the Alpine Explorer comes with a 3 liter reservoir, but has room to spare for a slightly larger one. The elastics to hole the line to the straps are a weak point on the pack, beginning to cease being elastic after only a year of gentle use.
Bottom line, if you can find the older model, it is a good buy, and great for general use and commuting, and not much more expensive than a regular backpack.