With my focus this year shifting from mostly cycling to covering more outdoor activities, High Peak’s offer to let me try out their Alpinismo 45 backpack couldn’t have come at a better time. My current pack is sized just a bit too small for day-long adventures, and after seven years, was starting to show its age, so I jumped at the chance to test out something more modern.
High Peak offers a fairly comprehensive line of camping gear, with backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads, all offering thoughtful design, high quality construction, and very reasonable prices. The Alpinismo 45 weighs only 3lbs, but has a generous capacity, listed as both 45 liters and 3,000 cubic inches. (According to my calculator, there’s about a 250 cubic inch difference between the two measurements, but it carried all my gear) It’s constructed of nylon that should wear well while at least being somewhat water-resistant, but not waterproof.
In the past, I found most packs were too narrow across the shoulders, leaving me feeling restricted. But not only were the Alpinismo 45’s straps a good distance apart, the Vario System makes sizing a breeze. With a simple adjustment, this pack could go from large to small, meaning it will fit myself, my wife, or even one of the kids. Not only does that mean not having to compromise when choosing a pack that might be worn by two people of different sizes/body shapes, but if you’re buying one for your kids, it gives them plenty of room to grow. The nicely padded and contoured shoulder straps also have a whistle built into the orange buckle of the height-adjustable chest strap – a thoughtful detail. A bit lower, the hip belt is also constructed for maximum comfort, with a combination of mesh and foam on the interior surfaces.
Storage can be broken down into the main compartment, a generous bottom compartment, and a smaller top lid pocket. Cord locks make closing the larger compartment a cinch. Highly visible orange zippers are used on the separating panels, allowing you to combine the compartments in order to accommodate larger items. While the top pocket is designed for items frequently accessed, I found that the lower one works best when hiking with children. Snacks, sunblock, and things like cameras are easy for them to get to without removing the pack or bending down. Mesh pockets on either side also offer added capacity with quick access. And no need to carry a water bottle in them, as there’s room for a hydration pack, as well as a handy port on the right shoulder.
Loaded up with water, a light lunch, various electronic devices, sunblock and bug repellent, and extra layers in case it got cooler, I found the pack comfortable and well-balanced when correctly loaded. The lack of shifting, chafing, or digging of straps was appreciated, and the raised panels on the back kept things reasonably cool. There is no doubt in my mind that when I swap out the “family” gear for camping gear, it will perform equally well.
If it’s time for a new backpack, or you need to update your current gear, the Alpinismo 45 is worth a look. And if the capacity isn’t enough, or you need to complete your camping ensemble, the High Peak website has more than a dozen other backpacks, along with plenty of tents and sleeping bags.