Black Diamond Mission 50 pack

GearFlogger reviews the Black Diamond Mission 50 packIt's ice climbing season baby! Time to sharpen up tools and crampons, binge on Nutella milkshakes and prostitute yourself down the 'hood for extra money to buy ice screws. Seriously, it's an expensive sport: ass, stash or cash, nobody climbs for free.

Luckily, Black Diamond's Mission 50 pack (also available in big-brother size, the Mission 75) doesn't break the bank. The sexy lava red Mission 50 is a great pack that starts with a comprehensive tick list: floating top lid with exterior main pocket and inside flat zipped pocekt, six inch spindrift collar with a single cord at the top, vertical slash zipper on main bag for access to interior on right side as worn, inside hydration pouch and hang loop with exit ports on both sides, dual compression straps on each side, and ski loops for side carry round out the generic portion of the 50's feature list.

But wait, there's more. Ice climbing involves a lot of sharp objects. The Mission 50 does a superb job of isolating the pointy things from the rest of your stuff. The PickPocket ice tool system conceals the picks, and a welded crampon pocket stores your claws. Each side of the waist belt has a loop for an Ice Clipper to hold your screws that you prostituted yourself for earlier (see step three in paragraph one above), and a gear loop for the inevitable "other stuff as assigned." The minor caveat we mentioned above is the rope strap, the design of which was evidently shopped out to a drunken three-year-old in a penal colony. The buckle is stuffed into a tiny pocket that you can only get two fingers into if you use a Star Trek wormhole. Solution: cut the pocket material around the buckle away and you're good to go.

On a much more important note, the Mission 50 has a beautifully designed suspension, a lot of which (frame, framesheet, top pocket and hip belt) can be removed to strip it from 3lb 10oz to 2lb 5oz, a respectable difference. The hip belt pivots independently of the pack just enough to make scrambling less of a spine-torqueing exercise than normal. The rest of the adjustments are standard, with some nice touches like elastic keepers on the load lifter straps and a sternum strap buckle whistle.

Overall the Mission 50 is a great ice climbing pack. It carries the large amount of bulky stuff you need for winter fun, hides all the pointy parts and carries comfortably. The hip belt, shoulder straps and other suspension components are sized generously to fit over winter clothing, and with the relatively minor exception of the rope strap, the buckles and other fittings are glove-friendly. You are cleared for Mission: Screaming Barfies.

$199.95 at Moosejaw




Note to readers: As of November 1, 2022, Gearflogger no longer participates in affiliate programs or accepts commissions on links to products. We’ll find some other way to make money. Maybe get a real job. Maybe not.

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