Who say's it's just a day pack?
The first thing I noticed upon grabbing the Alpine Explorer Hydration Pack off the shelf was all of the compartments. Its design intrigued me because for a 'day pack' this thing looked like it could hold a lot more than a day's worth of gear.
With 2015 cu. in. of cargo space, I quickly found myself opening all the compartments and deciding what gear/gadgets could go where. One by one I threw in clothes and gear. All of the sudden, I was done packing for a weekend trip to the Rockies. And the best part was that I had room to spare.
The weather-resistant zip pocket with key clip and organizer on the front of the pack is a back packers best friend. I'm the type to just throw all my little essentials in one pocket, so this was perfect.
Hydration is key
The plan for this weekend trip was to tackle Twin Sisters Peak bear Estes Park, CO. Essentially we would be starting at the trailhead and hike all the way to the summit of the mountain, which was at 11,428 ft. We would be experiencing 2,000 ft. in elevation gain over a four-hour hike. This meant we each had to take a lot of water.
A key feature to this pack is the included 100-oz. Omega™ HydroTanium™ Reservoir. Now I could carry almost one gallon of water and trust me, you can never be carrying too much water while hiking on a blistering hot day.
The Big Bite Valve on the hydration tube makes taking in fluids a very simple task. Instead of having to stop to take a drink, now you can drink as you go and stay active.
With almost 8 lbs. of water plus gear, it should be heavy right?
I had never "bagged a peak" before, let alone do it carrying 10 lbs. of gear/water on my back for a few hours. That is where the pack's Dynamic Suspension™ Harness and articulated and vented semi-load-bearing waist belt come into play. Both of these features ensure that the load is spread out evenly throughout your shoulders and waist. It also creates a better center or gravity, giving you more stability.
Since I tried to pack light for the hike, I was able to use the dual compression straps to cinch down the load. This allowed me to make the pack more streamlined and easier to carry.
Sweaty backs are no longer an option
The other members of our hiking party would take off their packs and I could see that their backs were drenched with sweat. When I took off my pack, I felt that my back was still cool and dry. I thought back to when I first bought the pack and noticed the interesting looking design it had. It honestly looked like a set of six-pack abs. It has five raised-mesh pads that are all separated from each other. This design in called the Air Director™ back panel. It combines with the Air Mesh harness to provide enhanced ventilation unlike any other day pack.
Throughout the day, I periodically checked to see how my back felt. I can honestly say that you can feel the air circulating around your back as you move. Talk about an incredible design that works!
Technical features everywhere
I don't consider myself to be an advanced backpacker. But what I did find was that the Alpine Explorer has all kinds of features that would cater to the needs of the backpacking enthusiast who demands certain things out of their day pack.
I hung my carabineer and pocketknife on the daisy chain for quick access if I needed it. And on the way up, my arms got tired so I stuck my trekking poles through the two ice axe loops.
I also found that it had a port for headphones to an MP3 to run through. I didn't pack my iPod for this trip, but I was nice to know that I could use it when I'm hiking. The external, fleece-lined sunglasses/MP3 pocket keeps valuable items safe and accessible.
Worth every penny
I was hesitant to spend $100 on this pack. I just didn't think I needed "that much pack". As I soon found out, I loved every feature that it offered. This day pack affords all the features and then some that any hiker could ever want in a day pack. I know that that the Alpine Explorer will be on my back for all the peaks I will be tackling in the future.
Click this link to purchase: CamelBak® Hydration Packs