The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Millet Peuterey 40: The Brawny Ski-Mountaineering Pack
Posted on: September 22, 2008
Weight: 4 pound, 3.4 ounces
Packs, like sleeping bags and shoes, are designed to serve a specific purpose. In an ideal world, there would be just ONE super pack that could handle it all. Unfortunately mountain sports are so diverse and gear-specific that I've yet to discover the holy grail of backpacks. Instead, I closet almost a dozen packs, each one perfect for a different kind of adventure.
The Millet Peuterey 40 is marketed as a "versatile summer/winter mountaineering pack for one-to-two day excursions," but at 4.2 pounds, this little pack weighs in heavy for its limited capacity. It swaps extra space for added weight—a trade that just doesn't make sense. Personally, I would choose a lighter pack for an alpine ascent or a larger pack for an overnight climb. But, then again, I own ten packs.
I will say, however, that the Peuterey 40 really shined as a ski-mountaineering pack in Colorado's San Juan Mountains and during my high-altitude circumnavigation of Peru's 6,372-peak, Nevado Ausangate. The exterior crampon pouch is lined with a beefy, rubberized material that withstands sharp points and its open-construction at the pack's bottom allows snow, ice and water to drain effectively. It also boasts three ski straps on each side (though two would suffice).
It's built solidly to withstand harsh conditions with strong, reinforced 420D Velocity nylon and highly impermeable 420D HD Oxford nylon. These materials took abuse well and kept the pack's contents dry when an afternoon rainstorm unexpectedly hit. Its full-length side zipper allows for easy access to items buried deep inside—a huge plus when conditions turned blustery in Peru and I needed to grab a belay parka or windproof layer quickly.
The pack frame employs a Free Flex System, a flexible plastic sheet that adds rigidity and improves the pack's load-carrying capacity when you add heavy gear or skis to the mix. You can remove the plastic frame to shave off a few ounces, and the pack stays somewhat rigid even without it.
The pack lid, though not removable, is roomy with two zippered compartments. A fast-tec buckled strap sits under the lid and is ideal for carrying wet ropes, and the interior hydration pouch keeps the bladder safe from accidental punctures.
Additional features include a comfy waist belt with gear loops and small, zippered pocket for essentials. My favorite touch is the chest strap's thumb loops that easily allowed me to redistribute the load on my shoulders. The ice axe loops, however, are not very functional for a variety of ice axe styles and lengths—nor did I find them that user-friendly.
If you're looking for a heavy-duty pack for cragging at the ice park or ski mountaineering, and don't mind hauling the extra weight, the Peuterey 40's solid construction will outlast many lighter-weight alpine packs.
Pros: Heavy-duty construction; side zipper for easy access; beefy frame carries loads well.
Cons: Ice axe loops not functional; heavy, heavy, heavy.