One word best describes Mountain Hardwear's new Dihedral technical alpine pack: burly. This beefy ruck tips the scales at 4lb out of the box, which although far from obese is still a tad on the heavy side for a 2,450ci/40L pack. Luckily you can strip it down to quickly lose a pound for lighter duty.
Why the weight? One more word: bombproof. The Dihedral and its bigger brother the 3,200ci/52L Direttissima have MH's new "Hardwear Tarp" on the front panel. That's the white part in the photo at left, and it's certified Borg technology. You can drag it over rocks and beat your climbing partner's face with it and it won't get damaged. Crampon points and ice tool teeth? No problem, just strap 'em on.
Features are fully fluffed. MH's cool dual Axe-S toggles slip through the 'biner hole on the head of your tools, and with a bit of practice you can remove the tools without taking off the pack. There are conventional loops as well, plus ski loops/gear slings, center daisy chain, under-lid rope strap, three-point haul loops, tuck-away compression straps, hydration sleeve with dual ports and a nice fixed (instead of floating) buckle design that is easy to operate one-handed and with gloves on. There are even two little sleeves per waist strap that will accept plastic ice screw 'biners, very handy when your hip belt is riding over your harness.
The Dihedral carries like a champ, with great balance and plenty of room to work your chicken wing on Bridalveil. We really liked the fact that you can carry it stripped down and clean for fast and light days, yet still strap every accessory known to man (but not to woman, don't get all crazy) on it for gear days. If you're the type who likes to abuse your gear, or if you're just looking for a backcountry ruck that has a place for all your stuff, the Dihedral is beckoning. And with a nice price too.