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Guide Series - Packing For Ice Climbing And More

Posted by Insight Designs on July 17, 2014

The Deuter Guide series of packs is designed for serious, technical and dedicated use in the backcountry. Whether you are ice climbing, mountaineering, cragging or skiing, these packs have all the features you want and none you don’t need.

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Focusing on the Ice Climbing aspect, packing a Guide 35+ or any of the other packs is pretty straight-forward. In the top lid, put things like your extra hat, headlamp, snacks and the like. The top zipper is located in the middle of the top, so you can really pack it full. Personally, I keep an extra set of glove liners up there, too. Anything you want close, put it there.

Inside the lid is a secure zippered pocket that’s a great place for keys, cell phone and anything that needs a little protection, but semi-easy access. Hint: find a fleece pouch or something like a soft case to put your phone in for extra protection. It’s a great spot for things you don’t mind getting a little squished, like a PB&J.

The Guide 40+ SL and Guide 45+ have a zippered and separate bottom compartment. Depending on how you like to pack, you can either zip it completely open to have one big tube or leave it separate. On these packs, it’s a great spot for your ice screws, crampons if you aren’t wearing them or your “points” that you don’t want poking into your other gear. Conversely, it’s also a great spot for your puffy, extra gloves or your warm drinks. Keeping your sharp stuff away or protected from your other gear is key…

With the rope carry strap, just do a coil, strap it in and it will keep your line organized and out of the way. That’s key when getting into your pack from the top. If you are looking for something you packed at the bottom by accident (where is that PB&J?) the awesome side zip gives you access to whatever that may be super quickly.

On the gear in/gear out philosophy, here’s just one way and what to pack where. I mentioned above the separate bottom compartment for dividing stuff out, but let’s focus on the Guide 35+ and a simple day trip…some of this is personal preference, but it works pretty darn well.

Put your ice tools on the outside and clip them in. This gives some stability to the pack as you shove your gear in. From there, put in the heavier items – think crampons, ice screws and your draws, anchor gear and the like. Depending on what, where and with whom you are climbing, that amount will change. Then put in a small, closed cell foam pad to protect your gear from your soft things. I use a Z Rest because it insulates your feet from the ground, it’s small and super light. While the pad that comes with the pack is good, I’d just rather not trash it for standing around with crampons.

After the hardware goes in, you have a protective layer, then goes in your extra gloves, puffy jacket, harness, slings and other softwear. Top it all off with your helmet and you have a packed pack! Reasoning is, when you get to the base of a climb, put on your helmet and puffy jacket first so you don’t loose heat and are protected from ice fall, then your harness, etc. It’s all about efficiency in the mountains. From there, you strap in your coiled rope to the strap, pull down the lid and you are set to hit the trail.

In the video below, you’ll see the features and how a loaded pack should look when full. So much of packing comes to preference, but with these packs, it’s about weight distribution – heavy stuff toward the bottom or in the middle of your back. With ice climbing that can change up…just like the conditions on the ice…so be safe out there and have fun!

Check out the video.

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