We take a look at the totally strippable and light climbing pack from The North Face.
With its 30+10 litre storage capacity, this innovative and versatile alpine backpack takes you from base camp approach to summit bid.
The North Face Shadow 30+10 pack is a Summit Series roll top pack suitable for all mountain activities. I have found it most useful for multi pitch rock climbing, winter climbing and alpine mountaineering. The North Face Shadow 30+10 is sleek, simple and nice to carry. The wide shoulder straps were comfortable even with a full winter rack and the extendable collar meant I could really pack to the gunnels and it still packed down nice and compact for climbing. When stripped the S/M sized pack weighed in at a ridiculously light 615g.
My favourite way to use the Shadow pack has been fully stripped, the framesheet was easy to remove and I haven’t felt the need to replace it. There is also an internal pocket that was super easy to remove using the press studs. This was big enough to stash plenty of kit such as wallet, keys, phone, etc.
There is also a large hydration pocket for those of you who use a hydration system, there is hose exit on the right hand shoulder. I don’t but still found it useful for stowing a map and guidebook. The Shadow has a nice and easy roll top closure which is great for making the pack compact for climbing in, the pack was really nice to climbing with and the compact nature meant I had full head freedom.
There are two aluminium ice axe holders that are cleverly utilised within the compression straps. The bottom bar is kept in place on the bottom strap and the shaft is placed within the Hyperlon reinforced upper strap, so as you tighten up the compression straps it secures your ice tools. A very clever bit of pack design. The pack exterior also has plenty of screen printed protection on areas that are in contact with parts of the axe.
The waistbelt was comfortable to wear when hiking and had two zipped pockets that were big enough for energy bars, phone, gps, etc. The only issue I had with the waist belt was how it was removed. This seemed overly complicated and would be a faff in the field. There was an extra security buckle near the pack that had to be undone before the padded section could be removed. You also had to remove the buckles to get the tape through this security section. So I have used The North Face Shadow 30+10 without the waistbelt as I’m using for climbing and don’t mind it being a little uncomfortable on the approach. I would also like to see some sewn in tabs to I could thread som elaticated cord to stash extra stuff. I carried crampons on the top with a rope which was simple with the single closure strap.
That said though, the Shadow 30+10 is the best The North Face pack I have tested for climbing. It really is good. If you want a lightweight and simple climbing pack that you can use for all your mountain activities you won’t go far wrong.
Lightweight when stripped down.
Sleek and simple to use.
Great ice tool carry system.
Get plenty of gear in for a day out.
Waistbelt removal is a faff.
Top closure strap is very long and could do with some Velcro to roll the excess strap up and help shorten it as you need to secure it in windy conditions.
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