Macpac Pursuit 50 Pack | Review

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.




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