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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > High Sierra Summit 45 Pack > Test Report by Cheryl McMurray

HIGH SIERRA SUMMIT 45 PACK

TEST SERIES
BY CHERYL MCMURRAY

INITIAL REPORT May 31, 2010
FIELD REPORT August 10, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT
October 5, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

Name:  Cheryl McMurray
Age:  51
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight:  145 lb (66.6 kg)
Torso Length:  18.5 in (47 cm)
Email Address:  cherylmcmurray2ATgmailDOTcom
City, State, Country:  Garden Grove, California, U.S.

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends year around.  Overnight trips are usually long weekend trips in the Eastern Sierras with 32 lb to 40 lb (15 kg to 18 kg) loads depending on the season.  One class two rock climb with a day pack is common.   Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16 km to 24 km) in the San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15 lb to 20 lb (7 kg to 9 kg).  I'm a tent style camper and have experienced snow, sub-freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), light rain, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer:  High Sierra Sport Company
Manufacturer Website:  www.highsierrasport.com
Year of Manufacture:  2010
List Weight:  4.6 lb (2 kg)
Actual Weight: 3 lb 9 oz (1.6 kg)
Listed Capacity:  2750 in^3 (45 l)
Size:  Universal fit - torso range 15 in to 19 in (38 cm to 48 cm)
Color: Pomodoro/ Ash Wavy Stripes/ Black
Available colors: Amazon Green/ Tungsten/Black, Black
MSRP  $160 US
Warrranty: Limited lifetime

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The High Sierra Summit 45 pack is a top-loading overnight or weekend pack loaded with features that add convenience and versatility.  It's made of a combination of materials that include Grid-Weave Duralite, Mini-Weave Duralite, and Duraweave on the bottom of the pack, all having a very sturdy feel to them.  It is a universal fit that has a single adjustable aluminum frame bar that can be removed and contoured to fit the shape of the back.  The shoulder straps along with the hip belt are padded and constructed with Vapel mesh Airflow.

Backpack as it came with tags
Back View
Backpack as it came with tags
Back view (notice GPS in media pocket


INITIAL IMPRESSION

When the pack arrived and I pulled it out of the box my first impression was that the pack did not have any frame support.  It was folded slightly in the box which helped aid my misconception but after closer inspection I did indeed see that it has a single aluminum bar frame that slides in a pocket running down the inside center of the pack.  I was a little concerned how much support it would actually give me as I'm used to support stays on each side, joined together or a solid frame sheet.  I also noticed how sturdy the material felt to the touch.  The color is a nice red and gray with the red color not appearing too bright.  Although it is what I would consider a smaller volume pack for backpacking, it does come with a sleeping bag compartment at the bottom.  The website states that it is feature-rich and I would have to agree with that.  I'll discuss the features and my impressions of them in the next section.  The manufacturer also states that this pack is lightweight but the stated weight is 4.6 lb (2 kg) for a pack that only has a volume of 2750 in^3 (45 l) and I personally would not consider that lightweight.  When I did actually weigh the pack, it came in at 3 lb 9 oz (1.6 kg) which I would then consider borderline lightweight. 

The pack came with 3 tags attached.  The first one was the pack information tag that included all of the features and specifications of the pack, a limited lifetime warranty tag and a tag that stated that a portion of the product proceeds go to support the U.S. Snowboarding team. 

PRODUCT FEATURES

POCKETS AND COMPARTMENTS

The pack has a top loading main compartment with two gusseted drawstring closures.  It looks like this feature will enable the pack to accommodate varying load sizes.   The adjustable top lid has a large zippered (with zipper pulls) pocket for snacks and small items and can be removed when not needed.  Under the top lid is a sewn-on label that lists 12 survival essentials.  A nice feature, given the smaller volume of this pack, is the sleeping bag compartment which has a divider that keeps the area separate from the main compartment but can be unzipped to make the pack one large compartment.  There is a pocket on the front of the pack that zips all the way down the middle, however, there is no stretch at all to the material and may be limited in storage capacity when the pack is full.  I really like the two side mesh pockets which are definitely deep enough to securely hold a 33 oz (1 l) water bottle.  They have included what they call a media pocket that is attached on the left shoulder strap for a cell phone or comparibly sized item like my GPS which I always carry.  It is removable with two hook & loop attachments.  The hydration pocket extends all the way down the inside of the pack and is large enough to easily side my 100 oz (3 l) reservoir into it.  There are dual exit ports near the top of the shoulder strap areas and a elastic loop on the side of each shoulder strap to slide the hose through, keeping it stationary and out of the way.  This is another nice feature I have not seen before.

Double Gusset Closure
33 oz (1 l) waterbottle fits well in mesh side pocket
12 Survival Essentials under top lid
Double gusset closure
33 oz (1 l) bottle fits well in side mesh pocket
12 Survival Essentials under top lid


PADDING, BELTS & STRAPS

Both the shoulder straps and the hip belt have a thick foam padding with Vapel mesh Airflow that boasts moisture wicking.  The hip belt tightens by pulling each side away from the buckle and each side has a clip for securing the excess strap out of the way.  The shoulder straps have an adjustable sternum strap that will accomodate a hydration hose but no whistle on the buckle.  There is a compression strap that attaches over the top of the main compartment to help stabilize the load along with side compression straps, load lifters, and hip stabilizing straps.  There are two straps with side release buckles over the sleeping bag compartment that can hold a tent or foam pad.

PACK SUPPORT

The back panel has a stiff molded foam back with channels to aid in airflow (see photo of back view above) and a single contoured aluminum frame bar that slides in a sleeve at the inside center of the back panel (also inside the hydration sleeve).  It can be removed by opening the hook & loop closure at the top and pulling it out.  Once it's out, it can be custom molded, by bending it, to accomodate the contour of the back. 


Hydration sleeve, key clip, single support bar
Frame bar (sleeve open), hydration sleeve and key clip

OTHER FEATURES

There are dual daisy chains (one on each front side) with a removable lashing hook & loop strap on each side for the single ice axe loop on the left side and the dual trekking pole loops on the right side.  One of the other unique features of this pack is the tuck-away rain cover that matches the gray color on the pack.  It is located inside a pocket under the pack that is opened and closed with hook & loop.  At first glance it looks like it takes up a lot of space inside the sleeping bag compartment area as the pocket extends up into that area.  It is attached to the pack with a buckle that can be removed.  Once pulled over the pack, it can be secured around the pack by pulling a drawcord with a toggle.  The pack cover also features a name tag in the center that is very visible.

Raincover pocket underneath the pack
Pocket view from inside the sleeping bag compartment
Raincover over the pack
Raincover pocket underneath the pack
Raincover pocket viewed from inside the sleeping bag compartment
Raincover over the pack

TRYING IT OUT

I first gathered all the gear that I would take on a summer backpacking trip to see if it would all fit, including the bear canister (measuring 9 in (23 cm) in diameter and 8.5 in (22 cm) tall).  That was the item I was most concerned about fitting as most of my backpacking trips require one and I've never tried to fit one into a pack this small.  The pack actually loaded up fine and I was able to fit everything in it, including the bear canister.  Only narrow items will fit in the front pocket so anything bulky needs to go into the main compartment or side mesh pockets.  The only thing I did not put into the pack is the food but could see that I still had some room left and don't think it will be an issue.  I did notice that the back padding of the pack was a bit uncomfortable when I tried it on, poking me at the middle of my back, so I decided to try and adjust the frame bar.  It took a few attempts but I was able to bend it enough to relieve the pressure in that area, making it a much more comfortable fit. 

Summer backpacking contents minus water filter
Backpack loaded up including water filter minus food
Summer lightweight backpacking contents minus water filter and food
Pack loaded up including water filter

I went on a short dayhike of 6 mi (10 km) up to Peter's Canyon near the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California with 20 lb (9 kg) of gear and water loaded in the pack.  I took a varied route of ups and downs to test the comfort ascending and descending.  I am pleased to report that the pack was very comfortable and I never felt any pressure areas in the hip belt, back panel or shoulder straps.  It seemed well supported never pulling on my shoulders at all.  I did notice that the lid would not compress down enough to snugly fit over the pack but it also did not flop around either.  I do plan on using this pack for summit hikes during backpacking trips and will experiment with removing the lid for those outings.  I did stow my trekking poles in the dual loops, lashing them to the side of the pack and it worked very well, also a feature I have not seen before.

SUMMARY

This pack is full of nice features, appears to have enough room for lightweight summer backpacking and is surprisingly comfortable so far with a load of 20 lb (9 kg).  I think the color is attractive and the pack appears to be well made.


FIELD REPORT
August 10, 2010

TESTING LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1
Location:  Mt Baldy, San Gabriel Mts, Southern California
Distance:  12 mi (19 km), day hike
Elevation gain:  5,800 ft (1,800 m)
Conditions:  Sunny, warm
Pack load:  24 lb (11 kg) with ice axe and crampons

Trip #2
Location:  Olancha Peak, Eastern Sierras near Olancha, California
Distance:  15 mi (24 km) backpack, 7.5 mi (12 km) day hike
Elevation gain:  3,700 ft (1,100 m) backpack, 2,700 ft (800 m) day hike
Duration:  3 days, 2 nights
Conditions:  Hot, sunny
Pack load:  35 lb (16 kg) backpack, 20 lb (9 kg) day hike

Trip #3
Location:  Dobbs Camp, San Bernardino Mts, Southern California
Distance:  13 mi (21 km) backpack, 1 mi (1.6 km) day hike
Elevation gain:  3,000 ft (900 m) backpack, 100 ft (30 m) day hike
Duration:  2 days, 1 night
Conditions:  Cool, breezy
Pack load:  35 lb (16 kg) backpack, 15 lb (7 kg) day hike

Trip #4
Location:  Cirque Peak, Eastern Sierras near Lone Pine, California
Distance:  9 mi (14 km) backpack, 14 mi (23 km) day hike
Elevation gain:  1,200 ft (370 m) backpack, 2,800 ft (850 m) day hike
Duration:  3 days, 2 nights
Conditions:  Breezy, sunny
Pack load:  36 lb (16 kg) backpack, 18 lb (8 kg) day hike

Trip #5
Location:  Muah Mt, Eastern Sierras near Lone Pine, California
Distance:  11 mi (18 km) backpack, 3.2 mi (5 km) day hike
Elevation gain:  1,800 ft (550 m) backpack,  1,400 ft (430 m) day hike
Duration:  2 day, 1 night
Conditions:  Sunny, cloudy, thunderstorms
Pack load:  35 lb (16 kg) backpack, 18 lb (8 kg) day hike

Trip #6
Location:  Mt Baldy, San Gabriel Mts, Southern California
Distance:  8 mi (13 km) day hike
Elevation Gain:  3,800 ft (1150 m)
Conditions:  Warm & sunny
Pack Load:  18 lb (8 kg)

PACK PERFORMANCE

AS A BACKPACK

PACKING THE PACK

Packing this pack has been a small work in progress but after a few trips, I've found a method that works well for me.  Although the backpack has a separate sleeping bag compartment, I usually unzip the divider and use it as a single compartment inserting a pack liner first.  I use compression sacks for the sleeping bag that goes in first, clothing, and my tent, adding my bear canister last.  Smaller items get stuffed in the spaces in between and around the main items.  I stash my first aid kit and small items that I may need during the day inside the sleeping bag compartment next to the liner so that they can be easily accessed by just unzipping the compartment. 

I'm always concerned about a leaky hydration bladder inside of a full pack so I store my 70 oz (2 l) hydration bladder in the side mesh pocket but have found that I need to run the top lid buckle up through the handle to keep it from falling over as the water level decreases.  The elastic loop attached to the side of the shoulder strap works very nicely for running the hydration hose through.  In order to balance the load I try to pack other weighty items in the mesh pocket on the other side but sometimes it's difficult to find that balance.  All of my food for the day goes into the top lid and I have attached two bungee cords to the front of the pack for quickly stashing some clothing.  I started attaching my camp shoes to the front pocket zipper pull with a carabiner but I've found that the weight of the shoes will spontaneously unzip the pocket unless something is stored over the outside.  I've since started storing them under the bungee cords as well.  The front pocket is so limited when the pack is full so the only things I put in there is a trowel, tent stakes, my cell phone and wallet.  I like having hip belt pockets for easy access to sunscreen, small snacks and my camera and since the pack does not have any, I've attached two removeable hip belt pockets that just run through the belt strap.  I did use the sleeping bag compartment once for my tent then loaded the pack liner in above the compartment divider which worked very well too and I had quick access to the tent when I got into camp.

Packed as a backpack
Full backpack load approximately 35 lb (16 kg)

PERFORMANCE

I am actually impressed with how much this pack will hold.  I have lightened my load over the last few years but I am not yet an ultra-light backpacker so my solo tent, sleeping bag, comfortable pad, extra clothing, bear canister, stove and water filter are necessities for me.  The bear canister that I use is a solo carbon fiber that fits horizontally at the top of the main compartment.  My Garcia will only fit vertically and takes up too much room so that canister has not been an option with this pack for me.  The media pocket has been a great place for my GPS and although I cannot close it, it has never fallen out.  The side mesh pockets are roomy and deep enough to hold items like my tent poles, extra liter of water and hydration bladder.  I usually secure anything tall under the side compression straps and have never lost anything when bending over.  One feature of the side compression straps that I wish was there is a side release buckle to enable quick release and attachment.   The top lid extends up quite a bit which enables me to use all of the space inside the main compartment and comes with a large zippered pocket that I store most of my fresh fruit, vegetables and sandwich in without getting damaged.  As I have mentioned previously, the only feature on the pack that I have not found as useful as I expected is the front pocket.  When the pack is full, that pocket is so limited in its usable space and will only hold items like tent stakes and a few small items that have no bulk to them.  The two bungee cords hooked over the front of the pack using the top lid buckles and bottom compression strap buckles have come in handy for securing my camp shoes, sit pad and also fleece jacket.

I used the rain cover a few times on the Muah Mt trip.  I stored the backpack ouside my tent near a tree and since there was a chance of thunderstorms, thought I should cover the pack with the rain cover.  Since the pack was almost empty, the rain cover was more than adequate in size to cover the whole pack.  In the morning, after a hard rain, the cover had quite a bit of moisture on it but the pack was completely dry underneath.  I also used the pack cover during some light rain with the pack full when I backpacked out and although the rain cover leaves a small portion of the top of the pack and the side mesh pockets exposed, nothing was wet.  I had my camp shoes and sit pad attached to the front of the pack which did add more coverage volume but the pack is designed to carry something attached to the bottom compression straps over the sleeping bag compartment area and the rain cover should be large enough to accommodate anything stored there.  The  rain cover compresses well inside its pouch and does not take up much room inside the sleeping bag compartment.
 

Rain cover with full backpack
Rain cover with a full backpack (cover does not quite cover the top with camp shoes attached)

COMFORT

All of my backpacking load weights have been around 35 lb (15.8 kg).  First of all, I have problems with hip belts and shoulder straps on previous packs chafing my collar bone and pelvic bone areas but this pack has never done that at all which has amazed me.  The support frame bar was easy to mold to my back and has remained comfortable with no pressure points.  The air channel feature seems to work well keeping my back cool. 

Although I try very hard to balance the load, I get close but never perfect.  I have had some issues with the pack feeling like the right shoulder strap is slipping off my shoulder a bit while the left strap is pulling but that could be due to the fact that I store my hydration bladder in the right side pocket with usually 2 lb (.9 kg) less weight in the opposite mesh pocket.  I have noticed that the left shoulder strap loosens a little on its own, though.  Heading up fairly steep terrain both shoulder straps feel like they are pulling on my shoulders making the muscles sore.  If I loosen the straps, the discomfort is alleviated for a while but not completely.  I've also noticed that my shoulders get increasingly sore over the course of the day and my strap adjustments become more frequent.  The hip belt has always remained very comfortable but I don't feel the pack resting on my hips enough which could explain my sore shoulders. 

When bending over to pick something up, I have not noticed any instability in the pack at all and it seems to hug my back well.  I had one semi-tense log crossing over some rushing water that I had to unclip the hip belt and sternum strap for safety, and although I was on a very uneven log, the pack really did not cause me any added problems. 

AS A DAYPACK

PACKING AND PERFORMANCE OF THE DAYPACK

When I'm on a backpacking trip and doing a day hike from camp, I don't need the top lid but have found that it can be difficult to remove so I've just left it on.  The straps are triple folded and sewn so sliding it out of the buckle requires more work than I usually want to do in camp.  When at home, I have been able to get them out with a little patience.  Side release buckles attaching the lid to the back of the pack would really help a lot.  Leaving the top lid on has not been a problem even though it's really is not needed during a day hike.  With the top lid on, I cinch the straps down all the way and although they won't go down enough to make it real secure, it has not caused any issues.  Without the top lid, I just cinch both cords and clip the top compression strap.

I do load the hydration bladder into the inner hydration sleeve and then clip the handle with the key clip to keep it from sliding all the way down.  I like how large the sleeve is and how easy it is to slide the bladder in and out.  The hose is fairly easy to route through the pack and into the side shoulder strap loop which stretches.  The front pocket is much more useful when used as a day pack since I don't have nearly as much inside the main compartment and there is much more usable space.  I usually keep all my snacks, wallet, compass, and other smaller items in there.  Extra clothing and things I may not need much go into the main compartment.  The mesh pockets are used for easily storing things like gloves and hats and I've found them easy to access with the pack on which is nice.

Occasionally I store my poles in the dual loops, securing them with the removable hook & loop strap.  I've found that storing them handles first into a side mesh pocket and securing them with the side compression strap works better, though.  The reason for this is that when they are stored into the dual loops and I'm descending large rocks (sitting and sliding at times), the tips drag and catch making me more unstable coming down so I've had to relocate them to the mesh pocket.  I did one day hike where I brought an ice axe and crampons.  The ice axe fit nicely into the single axe loop and secured with the hook & loop strap.  The crampons fit nicely in the side mesh pocket but I had to be careful how I packed them so that they would not tear a hole in the mesh.  I have not found the daisy chains useful yet. 

Day pack with poles stored
Daypack with poles attached

COMFORT

The pack as a day pack has been very comfortable.  My load weights are from 17 lb (8 kg) to 20 lb (9 kg).  I have not had the shoulder issues that I do with the backpacking loads and the hip belt has remained very comfortable.  The only issue that I have had is when the pack is not perfectly balanced, the pack leans to my right causing the shoulder strap to slip on my shoulder a little.  I've also noticed that the left shoulder strap still loosens up on its own a little, possibly causing the issue.

DURABILITY

The pack seems very well made and has held up really well with no visible wear.  It has been dragged a little on some rock during a few descents from peaks but does not show any wear.  All of the buckles, zippers and straps are working well and the mesh pockets still look like new.  The loop on the side of the shoulder strap has lost a little shape due to using it for the hydration hose but that is only cosmetic.  The media pocket is showing some fraying around the elastic and the loop part of the hook & loop closure is starting to loose its stitching a little.  That started after the first use and has not gotten worse, however since my GPS is tall, I rarely ever used the hook & loop closure.

Media Pocket wear

Media pocket wear


WHAT I LIKE

Durable material
No chafing under the hip and shoulder straps
Sleeping bag compartment with zippered divider
Deep mesh side pockets
Large hydration sleeve
Large top lid pocket
Attached rain cover
Lightweight

WHAT I DISLIKE

Top lid can be difficult to remove
Left shoulder strap seems to loosen
Front pocket very limited when pack is full
No hip belt pockets
No side release buckle on side compression straps and top lid back straps
Sore shoulders

SUMMARY

The pack is lighter weight than the manufacturer states, has held up really well, has held everything I need and has a lot of nice features.  It is the first backpack that I've used that has not chafed my collarbone or pelvic bone areas but has given me shoulder muscle soreness issues while backpacking.  I like having the rain cover stored below the pack in a pouch so that I always have it with me.  The front pocket could be designed better to maximize its use and it would be nice if the top lid was easier to remove. 

Check back in a few months for my long term report and I want to thank BGT and High Sierra Sport Company for this opportunity to test the Summit 45 pack.


LONG TERM REPORT
October 5, 2010

During the long term testing period, I packed the Summit 45 the same way as in the field testing period and used the features in the same way.

LONG TERM FIELD TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Location:  Eastern Sierras near Bishop, California
Distance:  14 mi (23 km) backpack, 8 mi (13 km) day hike
Elevation gain:  2200 ft (670 m) backpack, 2200 ft (670 m) day hike
Duration:  3 day, 2 night
Conditions:  Sunny, partly cloudy, thunderstorms and hail
Pack Load:  37 lb (17 kg) backpack, 21lb (10 kg) day hike

Location:  Mt Baldy, San Gabriel Mt, Southern California
Distance:  8 mi (13 km)
Elevation gain:  3,800 ft (1,150 m)
Duration: Day hike
Conditions:  Sunny, warm
Pack Load: 20 lb (9 kg)

Location:  Mt Baldy, San Gabriel Mt, Southern California
Distance:  8 mi (13 km)
Elevation gain:  3,800 ft (1,150 m)
Duration: Day hike
Conditions:  Sunny, warm
Pack Load: 25 lb (11 kg)

LONG TERM PERFORMANCE


BACKPACKING

The first trip I took was a backpacking trip up in the Sierras and the load was a slightly more than the trips I took in my field report.  I still had no chafing on my collarbone or pelvic bone areas, which I'm happy to report, but my shoulder muscles most definitely took a toll on this trip.  I continually needed to readjust the pack straps, trying to find some relief for my shoulders but still didn't feel the pack supported on my hips and continued to feel the pull on my shoulders.  The backpack up to camp was not too bad but on the way back out, the pack (with a little less weight) became really uncomfortable on my shoulders and I felt the affect for a few days afterwards.  This, so far, was the most uncomfortable trip I've taken with it and can only assume that the extra weight pushed this pack way over its support limit.  The manufacturer's website does not state a load weight limit so from my experience so far, I would say, for me, it is below 34 lbs (15 kg). 

To be sure that the shoulder issue was not a physiological problem with me and since I was leading the exact same trip 2 weeks later, I took one my packs that had a sheet frame support with a support rod on each side.  The weight of this pack (empty) was equivalent to the Summit 45 and I had about a 38 lb (17 kg) load in it.  The experience was very different in that I had no shoulder problems, the pack rested nicely and was supported on my hips and I never felt the shoulder straps resting on my shoulders.  I only mention this as a possible issue with the Summit 45 and its single bar suspension system versus a full sheet and rod suspension system.  The latter seems to work much better for me.

I had one more opportunity to use this pack on a backpacking trip.  I was now using a 100 oz (3 l) hydration reservoir which would not fit in the side mesh pocket.  I inserted the full reservoir into the pack sleeve and began to load the pack the same as I did in previous trips.  I was able to get everything in but noticed that the back of the pack became rounded.  I put the pack on to see how it felt and the pressure on my back from the reservoir was just too uncomfortable.  Unfortunately I had to abort using this pack for the trip.

DAY HIKING

During the Sierra trip, I had an 8 mi (13 km) cross country day hike that involved a .5 mi (0.8 km) upper class 2 rock scramble up to the summit.  The pack handled any contact with the rock very well and I didn't even notice any wear or abrasions on the fabric.  I had 20 lbs (9 kg) of gear and water in the pack which carried comfortably.  Once again, I kept the top lid on the pack as it was just too much work to remove it when I was tired in camp.  It still posed no issue staying attached and did not flop around at all.  We ended up with a thunderstorm, complete with hail, on our way back.  It was really nice to have the rain cover already stored under the pack and I was able to quickly pull it out and cover the pack.  With the pack being used as a day pack at this point, I had no problems covering the complete pack.  The storm lasted about 1 1/2 hrs and the pack was exposed the whole time.  It remained completely dry underneath protecting my contents from getting wet. 

I did a day hike up to Mt Baldy with a 20 lb (9 kg) load.  The top lid was removed and all of the pack features worked well.  I carried a 100 oz (3 l) reservoir of water in the hydration sleeve along with my food, map, compass, phone and wallet in the front pocket.  My coffee thermos went inside one of the mesh pockets and my sit pad in the other.  All of my extra clothing was in the main compartment.  The pack was comfortable and I had no issues with performance.  So far the pack has been comfortable for day hike loads up to 20 lbs (9 kg) but not for backpacking loads at 35 lbs (16 kg).  I repeated the Baldy hike again a few weeks later packing 25 lbs (11 kg) in it to see where the load begins to become uncomfortable.  I most definitely could feel the weight on the pack pulling downward and being supported on my shoulders.  It was not an uncomfortable hike but it was not comfortable either.   The extra 5 lbs (2 kg) of gear seemed to make the difference.  I had the hip belt snug around my hips but still felt no support there.  When I got back to my car I unbuckled the hip belt first and notice that the support of the pack did not change at all of which indicated to me that the support of this pack is all on the shoulders and there is nothing transferred to the hips at all. 

SUMMARY

Although this pack is only 2750 in^3 (45 l) it fit all of my summer backpacking gear including my solo bear canister.  High Sierra Sports Company has put a lot of thought into all of the features adding extras that really came in handy like the media pocket, attached rain cover and hydration hose loop on the shoulder strap.  The ice axe and dual hiking pole loops are a nice touch along with the roomy hydration sleeve.  An addition of hip belt pockets, expandable front pocket and quick release top lid would have been nice.  The quality of workmanship along with the durability of the pack were very good and the pack even handled class 2 rock climbs and more importantly descents without showing any wear.  Unfortunately where I think the pack really falls short is the support system.  The single bar support did not do an acceptable job of transferring the weight of the pack from my shoulders to my hips and continually left my shoulders sore when carrying backpacking loads of approximately 35 lbs (16 kg).  Day hiking loads of 20 lbs (9 kg) and under were comfortable but I began to feel the pulling on my shoulders at a weight of 25 lbs (11 kg).

This concludes my test series of the High Sierra Summit 45 pack and I want to thank the High Sierra Sport Company and BGT for the opportunity to test this pack.



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