The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
The rest of the MS Team
Arc'teryx NoZone Pack
Posted on: July 30, 2005
The Arc'teryx NoZone backpack belies the need for a porter or a weight-carrying boyfriend. The suspension makes lugging a Cassin Ridge load feel like going for an afternoon of sport climbing. The "ghost" compression straps assure no snagging on trees or rocks, and the gear loops come in handy when your harness's loops are unaccessible. Its unsewn lid allows you to fit a rope underneath it or to pack high without sacrificing comfort. The versatility of this mid-size pack makes it perfect for an ultralight, multi-day Darwin traverse in the Sierras or for ice cragging in Colorado. Whether I am carrying loads of iron to the base of El Capitan or climbing a mixed route in Alaska, this is my pack of choice.