The summit can’t be far. Your legs have moved beyond ache, and onto pain, sweat stings your eyes, and your head is swirling with exhaustion. The weather begins to turn foul, and you need to refuel, now.
You drop your backpack on the floor, which takes more effort than you expected and pull out a raincoat from the bottom of the bag and a snack bar from the lid. Refuelled and dry, you swing the backpack back on energised for the final summit push.
It is at times like this – when you are exhausted, when the weather is thunderous – that gear must work. Everything must be simple to use with your cold, wet hands.
You need to know where everything is; there can be no fumbling. In winter, this can have even more severe consequences.
The backpack is your house for the day or longer, and just like in a home, you need to know where everything is, and you need to be able to get to it quickly.
“Don’t expect this to scuff or rip.”
The Mammut Lithium Crest is one of the best thought-out backpacks that we’ve come across for a while. It’s a 40-litre option (+7 if you factor in the floating lid) that’s perfect for days out in the mountains when you’ll be perhaps carrying a rope and climbing gear, or, as we’ve found, for overnight camps when you’re going fast and light.