Black Diamond Speed 30 Pack | Review
Black Diamond's Speed 30 is a reasonably light, strippable traditional alpine pack complete with floating lid and solid build quality.
'The Speed 30 is a solid, modern take on the traditional lidded alpine pack with the option to strip it down by an additional 400 grammes on days when you want to dance nimbly up the mountain in uncompromising fast and light mode...'
Outdoors Magic: Reasonably light, strippable, stable and supportive, classic features, selectively tough, traditional top-loading, floating lid lay-out, pockets, happy with heavier loads. Good build quality.
Outdoors Tragic: Weightier than some in full spec, dinky gear-loops on belt a little fiddly.
Outdoors Grabbit? The Speed 30 is very much a lightened-up classic alpine pack complete with supportive frame-sheet back system, floating lid with pocket, soluble snow closure, removable crampon straps and so on. It carries heavier loads better than some lighter packs thanks to the combination of foam pad and frame-sheet and feels stable and supportive, though not exactly luxurious. The sleek, tall profile works well too. Strip out the lid and backpad/sheet and you can cut the weight down to 830g without losing all your back padding. All of which makes it a versatile all-round technical mountain pack.
Lightweight mountaineering pack / fabrics Nylon 210d ripstop main, 420d abrasion / reinforced base / thermoformed back panel / top-loading with removable floating lid / drawcord skirt closure and tuck-away rope strap / Micro ice-tool PickPockets™ and removable 20 mm crampon straps / removable hipbelt with fixed webbing belt and removable framesheet that doubles as a bivi pad / hydration compatible.
Full Review Below
Black Diamond Speed 30 Pack | Performance
Compared to other technical packs we've reviewed - the Patagonia Ascensionist 30 and the Lowe Alpine Ascent 32 - which have been stripped back and lidless, the Speed 30 is a more traditional design complete with a detachable floating lid, a spindrift skirt to stop snow sneaking into the main compartment and all mod cons including a hydration sleeve and full weight axe attachments.
It's still reasonably light even so thanks to selective use of fabrics: 210d lightweight fabric on the main body, but thicker, tougher 420D on the base of the pack, where abrasion is most likely.
The upside is that you get not just some padding in the thermoformed, anti-snow back-panel, there's also a (removable) frame plate come foam pad with a metal cross-tube that means heavier loads don't overwhelm things.
It's hardly a luxurious carry, but it's stable and well supported and stays close to your back. The floating lid means you can overload it more easily if you need to and there's also a simple rope-carrying strap under the double closure, spindrift-cheating lid.
You also get two lid-pockets - handy - twin ice-tool attachments - see images above - and, although they're not pictured, 20cm removable straps to allow you to lash your crampons to a reinforced section of the front centre of the pack.
There's a low profile padded hip-belt with two dinky gear loops and a couple of ice-screw carrier attachment points too.
In standard trim, it's a comprehensively specced, all-round pack, but you can shed a bunch of weight by taking off the lid and removing the frame-sheet (easy) and the padded section of the hip-belt (fiddly). Do that and overall weight falls from 1230g to just under 800g, though of course you lose some support and functionality at the same time.
Black Diamond Speed 30 Pack | Verdict
It's easy to get fixated on weight loss, but take things too far and you start to lose functionality. That's less of an issue with a 30L mountain pack like this than with a larger capacity hauler, and everyone has their own idea of what counts as acceptable comfort and support, but we'd bet that for many 'normal' mountaineers, the Speed 30 would be about right when it comes to the balance of weight and function.
It's a light-ish, but pleasingly solid, modern traditional pack with a proven floating lid format and handy extras like crampon and rope straps and an easy to use set of ice-tool attachments in a stable, slim-cut, well made package.
You can, if you choose, strip parts away to lower the overall weight, but we doubt many users will actually bother for the sake of 400g or so. If you do want all-round lighter, BD has a wide range of technical packs including the new ultralight 444 gramme Blitz 28. Your call.