I recently was able to test the Alps Mountaineering Shasta 3600 backpack. This company was started by Dennis Brune in 1993. Located in rural east central Missouri, Alps Mountaineering has a great story that you can check out on their website. The focus of the company is to produce quality products at great prices that will last a lifetime. From my experience with the Shasta 3600 backpack, Alps Mountaineering delivers on this promise.
The Shasta 3600 is an internally framed 3600 cubic inch (59 liter) top loader pack. It’s equipped with an internal lightweight tubular frame to support the load, and has shoulder straps that are infinitely adjustable up and down along this frame to accommodate a wide range of users. A standard 26”-40”waistbelt is included with the Shasta with other sizes available if needed. There are load lifter straps and side tension straps on the waistbelt. Padding on the waistbelt, lumbar, and upper back is excellent. The shoulder strap padding is good, but not luxurious. Overall, the pack was quite comfortable, and adjustment was super simple, so I was able to get a comfortable fit fairly quickly.
In the main compartment of the Shasta 3600 is a separate sleeve for a hydration pack and ports for the drinking tube on either side. A sleeping bag compartment is at the bottom of the pack. The horizontal divider can be removed to combine the two storage areas. An expandable spindrift collar sits atop the main compartment to allow for different sized loads in the pack. Two cinching cords are provided to get good compression of the load.
The outside of the Shasta 3600 features three stretchy Lycra pockets. Two pockets on either side can hold water bottles and other items that you would want to access quickly. A large stretchy pocket is located on the front of the pack along with several points to lash on anything that might not fit in the pack. Very useful side and top compression straps finish off the main part of the pack.
On top of the Alps Mountaineering Shasta 3600 is a cap/fanny pack. A webbing waistbelt is stored inside the bottom of the top cap. There is no need to disconnect the main waistbelt and assemble the fanny pack here. Simply detach the fanny pack, slide out the dedicated minimal belt, and you are done! I really like this feature. The top cap itself has a large main compartment with the zipper facing the back of your head. With the zipper located as such, it is possible to access the compartment while wearing the pack. Two smaller zippered compartments are below the main area, and one of these has a convenient clip to keep your car keys in place.
The Shasta 3600 is made of sturdy, but lightweight material that should provide a long service life. I loaded it with about 30 pounds of gear and hiked around a lake which included some rather technical climbing alongside a 30’ waterfall. The Shasta felt great on my back and moved well with me. I was able to fit all the gear necessary for a two night hammock camping trip into this pack with room to spare. This gear included: hammock, top quilt, bottom quilt, tarp, clothes, water, food, pillow, stakes and ropes, hatchet, and more. I found the storage compartments to be very functional and well thought out, and I look forward to using this backpack for many years.
I only found two small issues with the Shasta 3600. The Velcro loop used to hold the hydration bladder in place was just a bit too low to attach my 3 liter bladder when full. The bladder did stay upright in its sleeve though. Second, with the pack not full, the top cap cinched down low enough to interfere with the load lifter straps and the straps on the front were at their shortest adjustment. Neither of these issues affected the comfort or functionality of the backpack.
The Alps Mountaineering Shasta 3600 offers great value for $169.99 retail. Please visit www.alpsmountaineering.com for more details on this great pack and many other quality products from this family-oriented company.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Shasta 3600 Backpack for free from Alps Mountaineering, in consideration for review publication