Rab Ascendor 28L Mountain Pack | Review - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at OutdoorsMagic.com



Rab Ascendor 28L Mountain Pack | Review

A durable, details-heavy pack designed specifically with climbing adventures in mind

Rab are proper climbing and mountaineering specialists and we’re rarely disappointed by any of their products here at Outdoors Magic. Fortunately, we’re pleased to say that they haven’t broken form with this clever daypack.

The Ascendor 28L is designed primarily with climbing in mind, whether that’s in summer or in winter. This thing’s incredibly versatile, however, so there’s nothing to stop it serving as a hiking pack or just a day-to-day workhorse either. 

Materials and Construction

Probably what stood out the most to us when we tested the Ascendor is its durability. This thing feels built to last a whole lifetime of demanding use. That’s not just due to the toughness of the fabric but also the seams and stitching. It all just feels super solid. 

OM editor Will using the Ascendor in the Cairngorms. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

Pros: Very durable, lots of useful details for technical use, wide top opening
Cons: No dedicated rope attachment point

The back system has a sturdiness to it too with the padded back panel and an internal frame creating a sturdy structure to manage loads well. It weighs 900g but can be stripped back a further 300 or 400g by removing various parts to it, including the sternum strap, the hipbelt, spring steel frame, internal panel and even the ice axe leash attachments.

The back length is fixed at 19 inches / 48cm. This, we think, should only be a problem for really tall or really short people. The hipbelt, sternum strap and shoulder straps are all adjustable on the fly. 


While the 28 litre volume inside the Ascendor should provide plenty of room for kit for a whole day’s climbing or walking (we certainly found it did), there are a lot of details on the outside of the pack to allow all kinds of extra kit to be carried. You’ve got headlockers and bungee cords for two ice axes, for instance, and there’s an A-frame carry option for skis too. The compression straps can double as points to fix climbing rope while there are daisy chain loops right across the front where you can clip on extra gear. 

Then you’ve got things like an emergency whistle, an internal bladder compartment, glove friendly zipper tabs and a key clip in the zipped underlid pocket.

Tester’s Verdict

Lewis Brown, Mountain Leader Trainee

An all-round awesome climbing bag. I was sceptical of how comfy the minimalist harness-friendly waist strap would be during longer approaches, but the contouring of the back system made it fit snugly into my lower back and kept the weight off my shoulders without any hip aggravation. Its design definitely allows for full utilisation of the available 28 litres, and I reckon (anecdotally) that I was packing in considerably more volume than that.

The lid design is quick and convenient, and I’m a huge fan of the internal “hang-open” point for easy gear access at belay stances during multi pitch routes. The outer fabric seems totally bomber, I’d have no concerns about using it as a haul bag (although I’d maybe remove the plastic back plate first).

I like the tried and tested attachment system for ice tools, and all of the zips and features are easily operated with thick winter gloves. The internal storage sleeve easily fits my avalanche shovel and probe with room to spare for other emergency equipment. My only criticism, and it does seem like a bit of an oversight by Rab, is the lack of any external rope attachment system, although I think this could be macgyvered quite easily.

Despite this, its design is clearly well thought out and its construction of very high quality, a 9/10 from me. This will definitely be my go to day bag going forward for both summer and winter climbs, and I plan to take it on some ski mountaineering trips this season which I think it will also excel in.

Some other key things answered

Is there a women’s version? It’s a unisex pack
Are there any good eco credentials? It’s made from 50% recycled materials
Can I use it for running? It’s not made for running and the back might not provide much ventilation but we found the harness copes well enough. The Rab Aeon Ultra is a versatile alternative to this that suits running.

Rab Ascendor 28L Mountain Pack

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Winter 23/24
Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.