Macpac Pursuit 50




Weight: 1550 / 1550 / 1700



Available in women's and size 2 and 3, capacities 48 / 48

and 52 litres respectively, Hypalon, VX-42 X-PAC and 420D HT

Nylon fabrics, Wraptor back system, removable lid with

internal and external pockets, Toolport for ice tools,

crampons and skis, twin haul loops, dual storm closure, side

compression straps, base and hip gear loops, hydration tube

exit port, daisy chain. Also available as Pursuit 40 and

Pursuit 30 with the same features.

Bombproof, comfortable and stable.

No hydration sleeve even though there's an exit.

The Concept The renowned Macpac Pursuit has been around for

donkeys years and still is, albeit with tweaks, under the Pursuit

Classic name. The new Pursuit pack, in 30, 40 and 50-litre

incarnations however, is a more predatory, technical animal aimed

squarely at alpine and general climbing use.

Macpac has a hard-won reputation for making some of the most

robust sacs on the market and clearly doesn't see any point in

softening up for the 21st Century, so what you're looking at is a

bombproof climbing sac that won't damage the scales with excess bulk,

and should allow you to accommodate all the technical paraphanalia you

need, without impeding your progress.

Features Current trends in the pack market seem to be towards

the 'less is more' school of rucksac philosophy. That's all very

well, but simple packs tend to suffer when loads increase and, with

climbing packs, that's inevitable, which is why Macpac have

concentrated on load-carrying and stability with their Wraptor back


It's an impressive thing with a massively strong internal

framework of anodised alloy tubes running the length of the back

with the outer Wraptor Rods feeding directly into the fins of the

hip-belt for direct load transfer to the hips. The hip-belt itself is

fairly minimalist for easy access to harness gear loops, though the

fins are still pretty fully formed.

Macpac's other ace is the use of tough but light fabrics including

super abrasion-resistant Hypalon - used to make Zodiac dinghies no

less - and the snappily-named XV-42 X-Pac material, a laminate of

Nylon polyester that the company says is tear resistant, waterproof

and very light.

Along with that you have all the features you'd expect from a

technical sac including twin haul loops, a detachable lid, gear loops

and ergonomically contoured shoulder straps.

In Action If the Pursuit 50 wandered into a wild west saloon

bar, you'd give it a wide berth. Even before you put it on, it exudes

a wiry toughness with reassuring black, rubbery Hypalon panels in

vulnerable areas plus the bomber feeling XV-42 X-Pac. The latter

looks similar to the fabric used by Berghaus in some of its technical

sacs, and we know from personal experience that it's as tough as

Clint Eastwood's complexion...

Load it up with climbing kit and nothing changes. The brick

sh**house back system and thermoformed ergonomic padding feel

immediately stable and supportive. Cinch up the various tensioners

and load transfer is excellent. We were a little concerned that the

relatively small hip fins wouldn't be up to transferring weight

efficiently, but we were wrong and the narrow belt allows easy access

to harness gear loops. Sturdy and stable but comfortable just about

sums it up.


loads are heavy - walk-ins for example - you can cinch up the side

straps to pull the Wraptor Rods into the hip-belt, when the pack's

lighter, loosen them off for improved mobility. Usefully, then you

unclip the belt, the fins pull back out of harm's way for even better


Clean lines - no side pockets here Jose - and slim profile are

ideal for mountain use too and side compression straps allow you to

keep things stable when partially loaded plus an extendable lids

allows you to overload if needed. The 50-litre version we tested would

be ideal for extended alpine use or possibly Scottish winter, but if

you want a smaller capacity version, there are 30 and 40-litre

Pursuits with the same features. Two male plus a women's specific

back sizes should ensure a decent fit for most users out there.

Some will prefer stiffened gear loops for easier clipping, though

it wasn't a major issue for us as we prefer harness loops anyway.

Just about the only other issue we had with the pack, was the lack of

an internal hydration sleeve. There's an exit for the tube, but we'd

prefer to be able to hold the bladder in place too. Hello sharp ice




We can't unequivocally tell you that the Macpac Pursuit is bombproof

- that would take several year's use - but given the toughness of the

materials used and Macpac's renowned hardcore reputation, we think

it's safe to say that it's one of the more robust climbing packs on

the market.

Coupled to that is a great combination of stability, comfort,

mobility and easy access to harness loops. Lines are alpine clean and

the features have been well thought through and nicely implemented.

No weedy elasticised string here, just tough webbing and proper


No, it's not superlightweight, though it isn't exactly heavy

either, but it carries so well that weight is a secondary

consideration. All in all, one of the best technical packs we've ever

used. Watch out Clint...

For more general walking and mountain use, the Pursuit Classic may

be a better option. Test to follow.

Pushed for time:

Bombproof, stable, comfortable - choose all three with

one of the best technical packs on the market form the Kiwi

masters of hardcore kit.