MB Super Critical Mass Alpine II


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title MB Super Critical Mass Alpine II
Manufacturer McHale & Company
Page By Ardvark
Page Type Jan 6, 2005 / Jan 6, 2005
Object ID 1221
Hits 4131
The MB Super CM Alpine II is an expedition pack that also works great for extended backpacking. These packs are custom made to your specifications. Pack features include a unique shoulder strap system and hip belt. The pack has a U-shaped internal frame, not just stays. The top 8" or so of the frame is a removable bayonet that allows you to trim the pack for smaller loads. The basic pack is no frills and light. You can order the pack with a wide variety of options, including hydration sleeves, exterior pockets and essentially anything that can be sewn on. Choose your fabric based on weight and durability.

Visit the McHale website for complete details and the full range of comparable packs.


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Ardvark - Jan 6, 2005 11:54 am - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
What a great pack. It's best feature is the ability to carry monster loads comfortably. I came off Aconcagua with about 90 pounds. Although my knees buckled occasionally, my back and shoulders had no complaints. On Denali, it easily carried 60 to 75 pounds and pulled a sled.

I really like the shoulder strap system, which is hard to explain. It uses a sliding second strap to pull the pack into your back. That frees the shoulder pad strap for vertical adjustments. The hip strap is free floating and tapered to the hips with double buckles. McHale uses camming buckles that are easy to manage with mittens.

Although McHale claims the pack is 5000 to 6000 it seems much larger than Gregory, Lowe and Dana packs advertised in the same size range. On expeditions, I can usually get all my gear inside (including sleeping pads), whereas my buddies are strapping stuff outside.

Another great feature is the light weight. I had mine made out of spectra grid, which has held up very well over many months of rough field use.

The pack rides high (well over my head), which means you need to pack it carefully to prevent a top heavy center, but I like the high and narrow profile. This high profile literally saved my life when rockfall took out my rope team on Denali last summer. The pack is back at McHale for repairs, but my head is still on my shoulders.

It has plenty of straps and a unique attachment system that allows you to move the straps (including the ones that hold the lid) around on the pack. Wand pockets and other exterior pockets can be moved around on the pack or removed.

Pay the extra bucks for a custom fit and an incredibly well-designed pack. It's the last pack you'll own for whatever application you choose.

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