High Peak Alpinismo Trango 65
lb (89.40 kg)
in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have
backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I prefer trips on
rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously
strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me.
I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not
including consumables, to under 30lbs (14 kg).
|High Peak USA
|Not listed on manufacturer's web
6 oz (1.63 kg)
|3 lbs 9oz / 1.6 kg
cbi / 65 liter
courtesy of HighPeakUSA.com
Trango 65 is advertized as a high-grade lightweight rucksack without
some of the extras that are on many other backpacks. It is a top
loading pack and the main compartment can be divided into two sections,
with the lower (sleeping bag) section accessible from the top or from a
zippered opening on the lower front of the pack, with two side (water
bottle) pockets and two zippered compartments in the lid. The pack
comes in one size but the torso length is adjustable (described below).
March 16 2011
mentioned above the Trango 65 is a top loading pack. The main
compartment can be divided into two sections by pulling a drawstring
that closes an internal divider creating two main compartments. In
addition to the main top opening that is closed by a draw string and a
lid, the contents of the bag can be accessed via a double zippered
opening that creates a front access to the bottom 1/3rd of the pack.
The lid contains two zippered compartments, the larger one accessible
from the outside of the pack and the smaller from under the lid. The
smaller (internal) lid compartment seems sized to fit flat items such a
maps notebooks folded garbage bags etc. The larger lid compartment
contains a clip attached to one side (a feature I like as it helps me
avoid losing my keys while on the trail and then quickly locate them
upon returning to the trailhead). On the top of the lid are four
attachment points made from loops of cord. The lid is sewn to the pack,
not removable, and secured in place by a single adjustable strap and
clip. There are also two side (water bottle) pockets on the bottom
sides of the pack. There is a single ice axe attachment loop at the
bottom and an adjustable elastic cord retainer, for securing the ice
axe handle, about 2/3rd of the way up the side of the pack. The pack
has two side compression straps on either side. On the front of the
main compartment (above the sleeping bag section) are six, two tone,
fabric loop attachment points. These look a bit small to be used for
carabiners, but look ideal for lacing some elastic cord. Note, the
pack does not contain an external front pocket as many packs do. I
personally like an expandable external pocket that I can use to store
things like my rain gear when not in use and/or my tarp when it is wet.
I plan to weave some elastic cord through the six fabric loops for this
purpose as I don’t like to put wet items into my pack if I can avoid it
(for obvious reasons). I am actually surprised the pack does not come
set up this way as it seems to me that the six loops are obviously
designed for this purpose and it would be an inexpensive way to add a
feature to the pack while adding very little weight.
a zipper enclosed section of the pack is a removable “pre-bended
suspension bar” to provide structure to the pack and help transfer the
load. The suspension bar consists of two vertical and one horizontal
aluminum bar attached to each other with solid rivets.
belt is one of the places the manufacturer cut weight off the pack. The
padding is somewhat thin and rather than the wide hip hugging side
straps that many packs have, these are open in the center, and what
padding there is, is perforated. While this might sound like a
negative, it is a design I kind of like. It looks like it will conform
to my hipbones nicely, and like it is well ventilated. The adjustable
part of the waist belt is so far my least favorite part of the pack.
Rather than extending all the way back to the main body of the pack,
attaching to the padded part continuously or in multiple places, each
of the straps terminate at a single attachment point on the end of the
padded sections. This concerns me as a single point of failure could
render the belt unusable. Another oddity of the waist belt is its
length. The padded sections are long enough that when I tried it on I
ended tightening it almost to its smallest extent. On the other hand
there is quite a bit of length in the adjustable straps, so the pack
could fit a much larger frame than mine and or accommodate a thick
layer of clothing.
The back padding consists primarily of two
vertical strips running vertically down the length of the pack. The
lower sections of this padding seem quite thick while the upper
sections are thinner. The gap down the middle, between the padding,
should allow some ventilation.
of the features of the pack is the adjustable shoulder straps. The
manufacturer calls it the “Vario System”. The shoulder straps attach to
the pack using a pair of horizontal fabric strips labeled XS, S, M, L,
and XL. This allows the user to adjust the torso length of the pack.
There were no instructions included with the pack but the use of the
vario system was rather obvious once I looked at it, and after loading
the pack I quickly adjusted it to its large setting using the strap
marked “L.” This seems a good fit for me. The shoulder straps include
adjustable load straps (attached between the tops of the shoulder
straps and the base of the pack lid), and a chest strap. The clip for
the chest strap is bright orange, and like many packs on the market
doubles as an emergency whistle.
I tried 3 different large (1 L)
water bottles in the side pockets, and while they do fit I was
surprised to see that they are made out of the same material as the
pack and so do not stretch (there is some elastic around the opening).
I am interested to see if keeping my water bottles from falling out
will be a problem.
final feature of the pack that I will address here is a hydration pouch
pocket inside the main compartment of the pack. There is a
single exit port for the hydration tube on one side of the back just
under the lid.
I should mention the zippers used for the front
opening to the sleeping bag section of the pack are surprisingly large.
Surprising because since this pack is intended to be lightweight, I was
expecting them to be light and maybe even plastic. I like that they did
not use lesser zippers since I tend to pack this compartment tight, and
worry about the zippers failing on some other bags that I have.
inspected the pack and could find no obvious defects or flaws. All of
the seams are tight and well finished and I could not find any frayed
material or loose threads.
it is currently winter, I stuffed the pack with my basic cold weather
kit (including this pack and 2 days food but no water it weighed 27 lbs
/ 12.25 kg), set the torso length to large, and tried the pack on.
I found I could
tighten the waist belt almost to its smallest size even over jeans and
a belt. I made a few quick adjustments to some of the straps, and I had
a comfortable fit with the weight distributed nicely. I did a few quick
bends and twists and found the pack did not shift, nor did I notice any
pinching or rubbing.
- Simple, with few extras
- Appears well constructed
- No external pocket for wet gear
- Hip belts have a single attachment point
- Side, water bottle, pockets do not stretch
|May 31 2011
- 2 nights Ancient Lakes Central Washington State
- 2 nights Dusty Lake Central Washington State
first outing with this pack was an early solo spring ‘shake down’ hike
into the Ancient Lakes area (never hiked this before). The forecast was
for some cool but clear weather turning into rain. I packed my normal
winter gear, and it turned out to be a good call. The short about 1.5
mi (2.5 km) hike was in undulating desert terrain of rock, packed dirt,
and some sand. The trail was mostly unused jeep trails so the hiking
was quite easy. It was clear and cool for the hike in but the clouds
rolled in and wind picked up around sunset. During the night it rained
then the temperatures plummeted. I awoke to a tent covered in sheets of
ice and cold symptoms (sore throat & tired) so I stuck to exploring
around the nearby lakes, cliffs and waterfall before retiring to bed
early. I awoke to a cool but clear morning for my hike back to the
My second trip was to further explore the Ancient
Lakes area. This time I bypassed Ancient lakes and hiked on to Dusty
Lake. I started late in the day for the about 3 mi (5 km) hike in, in
similar terrain but a bit more elevation gained/lost (about 100 '/30 m) and I had warm
sunny weather. I spent the following day hiking some of the local
trails (dodging the abundant but rather unfriendly snakes), in
occasional showers. I stayed up way too late talking and playing games
with some folks camped nearby and so awoke late the next morning for
the hike out.
I have found the pack to be quite easy to pack and
organize. I found it easiest to stuff my sleeping bag in from the the
top of the pack, shoving it all the way to the bottom and then tighten
the cinch cord to close of the main compartment from the sleeping bag
compartment to keep the sleeping bag compressed while I packed the rest
of my gear. I then put my tent (without the poles), food, clothes, and
other gear into the main compartment. I placed my tent poles in one of
the side pockets, held in place by the compression straps and a
stainless steel water bottle in the other. The two pockets in the lid
of the pack worked nicely for helping me to organize my gear. I placed
a few flat items (folded trash bag, notebook & Kindle book reader
protected by some closed cell foam) in the inner flat pocket and
assorted small items that I might want easy access to (first aid kit,
trowel, snacks, 10 essentials, etc) into the larger upper pocket.
the first trip I used a 2L hydration pouch which fit quite well, held
in place with the hook and loop fasteners. For the second trip, I was
using a 3L hydration pouch that I found to be almost too large for the
hydration pocket. I originally held it in place with the hook and loop
fasteners, but found it fit snug enough that they were unnecessary.
Routing the hydration hose out of the pack and fastening it on to the
shoulder straps was simple and worked well. In addition to my hydration
tube, I had a fixed blade knife in a sheath and a clip on watch
attached to the shoulder straps.
On the second trip, I threaded
some elastic cord through the six loop attachment points on the front
of the main compartment to hold my daypack in place. This worked quite
nicely and I plan to leave the elastic cord in place for items like
As I mentioned in the Initial report the padded sections
of the waist belt are quite long. I have lost about 6 lbs (3 kg)
since the Initial report, and I found I had to tighten the waist belt
to its smallest size in order to keep the belt high on my hips like I
prefer. Luckily, I don’t plan to lose much more weight. When I first
saw how adjustable the torso length was I was thinking this pack could
prove to be very versatile as I could shorten the length and my wife or
teenage daughter could use it. But, I don’t see any way I can shorten
the hip belt enough for my daughter as it barely tightens enough for
On my first hike, despite it being so short, I had
considerable trouble with strain in my lower back, something I rarely
experience. I contributed it to not wearing a backpack much over the
previous months, but experienced a similar problem on the second trip.
On the second trip I tried to adjust the shoulder straps to better
balance the load, and while the straps were easy to operate, even while
on the trail, I was not able to fully relieve the stress on my lower
On the second trip the ground was quite dry and dusty. In
addition I ended up placing the pack down on some rocky ground as well
as up against some sage brush. I was able to brush the dirt off the
pack with ease and noticed no visible scratches or snags in the
material. I also noticed that when emptied, the pack collapses rather
flat, so I was able to partially slide it under my sleeping mat,
allowing for a neater and much less cluttered tent.
Overall I am
pleased with the pack, except for the lower back pain I experienced. I
plan to try a hike with one of my older packs to see if the issue was
my back or the pack, and if it does not occur with a different pack
then I will concentrate on seeing if I can adjust the Trango straps to
eliminate this issue.
- Easy to pack and organize
- Straps are easily accessed and easy to adjust
- Very adjustable torso length
|Due August 02 2011
- 3 day solo trip to climb Mt. Adams (Washington)
- 3 day group trip to climb Mt. Adams (Washington)
the first trip up Mt. Adams I carried my full pack from where I parked
(about 2.5 miles / 4 km short of the trailhead) to a camp just below
the tree line at 7300’ / 2200 m, and on the second we were able to
drive to the trail head (about 5500’ / 1700 m) and I carried my gear up
to an area referred to as Lunch Counter (about 9000’ / 2700 m). On both
trips the route was mostly snow/ice and I wore my lightweight crampons
most of the way on the first trip due to the icy conditions. On both
trips I carried my ice axe attached to the pack using the ice axe
attachment points (a nice feature that is well designed). I also
carried a single aluminum 1L water bottle in the side pocket.
have played with the various strap adjustments, but have been having
trouble getting this pack to fit the way I like it. As mentioned
previously, the hip belt is very long and I have found it necessary to
tighten it to its smallest possible size and I am still having trouble
getting it right. I have found that most of the weight hangs from my
hips from the upper part of the hip belt while the lower part seems to
do very little, besides maybe help to stabilize the pack.
found it necessary to adjust the torso adjustment to the XL position in
order to get the weight of the pack off my shoulders, but I still am
having trouble getting the balance of the pack correct. I have tried
adjusting the length of the shoulder and load lifter straps but no
matter what I do I just can’t seem to get the weigh centered on the hip
belt. It tends to pull back and down rather than distribute the weight
around my hips. However, after a few adjustments I was able to get the
pack balanced a little better so I am was not experiencing the back
pain that I mentioned in my previous report. In addition, since
adjusting the torso length I have had difficulty with hook and loop
fastener that holds the shoulder straps in place digging uncomfortably
into my upper back, between my shoulder blades.
pack seems to be durable. With one exception, I can find little to no
indication of wear on the pack. The exception is the result of some
rather over aggressive glissading on my part. On my last trip to Mt.
Adams there was still so much snow that we were able to find places to
glissade most of the way back down to the trailhead, and aside from
some ice, the conditions were rather good for glissading. I believe it
was the ice combined with excessive speed that caused the damage to the
pack. On two glissades, upon reaching the bottom I detected a scent
that reminded me of burning plastic or rubber, and on one of then I hit
a section with ice on both sides of the glissade chute hard enough to
bruise my hip. Upon returning home I found one of the stretch side
pockets of the pack (the one I had a aluminum water bottle in) shows
signs of abrasions and looks like it might actually be slightly melted,
that could explain the burning rubber/plastic smell. I cannot fault the
pack for this, as it is clearly beyond what the material should be
expected to endure (not to mention my hips, it took 2 days for the
bruises to fade). Aside from my obvious abuse, I had no trouble getting
my water bottle in/out of the side pocked when needed and yet it stayed
firmly in place even while glissading.
While in the above I have pointed out some
things about the pack that I am less than pleased with, I also feel it
necessary to mention that on my second trip to Adams I was debating on
if I would use the High Peak, or another pack of similar size that I
really love due to its comfort. While my other pack might be more
comfortable to wear, the High Peak pack is close to 1lb (0.45kg)
lighter, since this trip involved hauling my entire backpack halfway up
the side of a mountain, the lighter weight was the deciding factor and
after the trip I believe it was a good choice.
the conclusion of this test I have mixed feelings about this pack. I
really like its light weight. However, the difficulty in getting it to
fit comfortably and the length of the hip belt will limit my use of it,
especially if I continue to lose weight. Upon first examining the pack
I was thinking that its variable torso length could make it a versatile
pack that I could use myself, or loan out for use by my wife, kids, or
friends, but the long hip belt severely limits who could use it.
Therefore, in regards to ongoing use after the completion of this test
I expect I will only use it when the weight savings overrides the other
factors, e.g. climbing.
This concludes Report.
I would like to thank the folks at High Peak USA
for the opportunity to test fine this product.