Rated 4 out of 5 by thehikingelectrician only one issue
Very nice pack. I like the compact yet roomy size of the pack. I've used it on a few day hikes and it was just the perfect size.
The only issue that I found is the left toggle that holds the bladder in place came apart where it was sewn in. I tied it in a knot and has been working ok.
September 24, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by MountainHiker Thoughtful Design / Good Value
You probably won't regret buying this pack. It's well made and very comfortable - and the price is right. I wore this pack on a 9-hour hike up (and down) Colorado's La Plata Peak. Hydration is very important at that elevation. It stowed a light fleece jacket I peeled (although a bit tight) plus a few energy gels, an extra water bottle and a bottle of gatorade. Very comfortable. Only one issue, which I later discovered was my own fault: I apparently had the bladder lid cross-threaded, causing a leak down my back. After the hike, I refilled the pack and tried to simulate the leak with the lid screwed on properly - it does not leak.
August 8, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by sfreed Fantastic Pack
Bought this pack for shorter hikes and while mountain biking. Went with this pack because I already own another larger Ascend pack so I knew it would be well made and well designed. Lots more room in this pack than many other more expensive packs. Hydration bladder isn't the best, but it doesn't leak and does what it's intended to do. If I ever need another pack I have no doubt it will be another Ascend brand.
May 13, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Archaeologist The PERFECT pack for me
I pay my bills as a CRM archeologist doing work in Oklahoma, Texas, and the surrounding states. I also work at an ongoing survey project at an Iron Age site in Israel.
For both jobs, I've been needing a small, durable, and compartmentalized pack with hydration bladder capabilities. When I first handled this pack at my local Bass Pro, I was immediately surprised with its quality (I was expecting to lay down $100+ for a name brand pack) and it had several features I appreciated over more expensive comparable packs. First, most of the packs in similar size configurations had only two or three pockets - I've used these in the field before, and all my tools and gear fall to the bottom, get jumbled up, and poke my back. I needed something with a tall main and secondary pocket with internal organization. This has it.
The size is perfect for my needs - it is small and sleek enough that with the sternum strap on, I can wear it securely while hopping over or even crawling under most barbed wire ranch fences or crossing steep drainages/streams (which is a several times a day occurrence for survey archeology in Oklahoma). Its small size and shape also mean I don't get hung up on brush in thick cedar stands or bottomland vegetation nearly as often as I'm used to. I can carry all of my tools, my med kit, my lunch, and enough water to last half a day without re-filling, while still having enough space for an extra layer of clothing or a rain jacket, and still room to haul any artifacts I need to bring back to the office. All of my tools stay EXACTLY where I put them without shifting. Furthermore, the pack is very comfortable, and I usually wear it all day for 8 to 12 hour days in the field (even while digging), taking it off only for lunch break.
Other features I appreciated were the shrink-rubber coated zipper pulls and the "ice pick" loops. I actually use the loops to carry a small hand pick and surveyor's tape. The removable hip belt is great, because I rarely use it and it would just get in the way, yet I can always re-attach it when I'm out hiking for leisure. Finally, with the vertical webbing on the shoulder straps and the front of the pack, with a little work I can easily adapt inexpensive military surplus MOLLE II pouches. I have added one for a compass pouch to the left shoulder and plan on adding a second on the pack front for my trowel. This is a great "hidden" (probably unintended) feature and allows me to access more tools without having to remove the pack.
For what I use it for, this has been exactly the pack for me. It has just enough room for what I need and carries securely and comfortably. It has also held up remarkably well despite long days and rough use. While I like the Microban hydration bladder and straw/bite valve, it may be the first element of the pack to wear out. However, I can easily replace it with another brand if I need to. Also, with the small opening for the bladder, a bottle brush is necessary to clean it after use. Those wanting additional carrying capacity would probably do better with a larger pack. For those needing a good 24-hour pack and who don't intend to carry a large amount of gear, I (obviously) recommend this Ascend H1250.
March 18, 2012