Why We Chose The Blue Ice Squirrel 22L: Lightweight design, technical details, high functionality
Blue Ice, if you’re not familiar with them, is a company that lives and breathes climbing. They’re in fact based in Chamonix, right at the foot of Mont Blanc, and have been there for 10 years, producing a range of climbing equipment, but most notably, making some very good packs. In the words of our staff writer Jordan, who spent a year living out in the chocolate box alpine town, ‘these are the people to go to for minimalist, tough and streamlined packs that only carry the essentials’. Last year we featured their big, 45L capacity Blue Ice Warthog in our Outdoor 100, this time round we’ve chosen their small but mighty Squirrel 22L.
Who Is Blue Ice The Squirrel 22L For?
As the above paragraph has already alluded to, this is a pack that’s specifically made for climbers – those who need something to get their kit to the crag or even to get their kit up it. There’s no reason why it won’t serve any hillwalkers as an all-purpose day hiking backpack either. We wouldn’t even write it off as a trail running pack.
Materials And Construction
The crucial thing about this pack is its weight, at just 507g it’s a seriously light pack. The main material they’ve gone for here is a 210 denier Duramax, one of the most durable fabrics on the market, and there’s a high tenacity ripstop nylon weave as well. In other words, it’s seriously tough stuff. You’re going to be pretty unlikely to find you’re able to tear this, even if there was a flailing ice axe involved. As for water resistance, it’ll be able to see off light to medium heavy rain, but it’s not fully waterproof and there’s no seam taping, so it won’t be able to prevent ingress in anything too heavy or sustained.
“This opens up nice and wide to allow you to see right into the pack.”
The back system is very simple. It involves a semi-stiff, semi-padded foam back panel which has zoned holes cut into it to allow airflow. Coming into contact with your back there’s a light and thin fabric nylon. As for the harness, that’s fairly simple as well. It features ergonomically shaped straps that are wide enough for comfort, have inch-thick foam padding and also use a mesh lining for airflow. The sliding sternum strap and the basic hipbelt (a webbing strap) are both removable.
Access to the main compartment is via a bucket-style lid. This opens up nice and wide to allow you to see right into the pack and there’s a slim storm flap to slow any water ingress. Inside you’ll find a clip and two handy webbing straps for hanging gear. There’s also a sleeve for a hydration bladder.