Mountain Hardwear South Col


Mountain Hardwear South Col
Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Mountain Hardwear South Col
Manufacturer Mountain Hardwear
Page By delmarco
Page Type Feb 26, 2008 / Feb 26, 2008
Object ID 4863
Hits 13309

Product Description



Trek with all of your gear to base camp, then head for the summit without having to take a break to switch out your packs - the Mountain Hardwear South Col does it all. Developed with direct input from Mountain Hardwear's 2007 athlete team, versatility for the serious athlete has been built into every feature.

Balance comfort, ventilation, snow shedding, and load transfer with the HDPE framesheet with an alloy shaping rod and compression-molded backpanel
Save your shoulders for the final push thanks to dual-density shoulder straps and dual-density hipbelt
When it's time to be minimalist, strip out the framesheet and top pocket, and swap the hipbelt out for the included webbing
Compress your load for a more stable carry with the hide-away, full-wrap compression straps
Carry all your gear in the fully reinforced three-point haul system
Glove friendly buckle designs can be operated without chilling your fingertips
Save your rope from being dragged through mud and slush- store it with the under-lid rope strap
Stay hydrated through your entire journey by filling the hydration-compatible design with your favorite hydration system


Capacity: 4200 cu in (Small); 4600 cu in (Medium); 5000 cu in (Large)
Weight: 3 lb 8 oz (Small); 3 lb 14 oz (Medium); 4 lb 1 oz (Large)
Material: nylon
Frame material: HDPE and aluminum
Access: top, panel
Number of pockets: main compartment + 2 pockets

Forum Link and Discussion

Description: Gear Forum Discussion on South Col Pack



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Justin Pucci - Sep 4, 2008 4:33 pm - Voted 5/5

Mountain Hardwear South Col
I just picked up this beauty after having used its little brother, the Dihedral for some time now. This series of packs fits my body so well, that when I went looking for a bigger pack, I couldn't find one that beat out the South Col.

The pack is extremely light and has lots of great features. I especially like the metal tool holds, as opposed to the typical ice-axe loops, as their tension can be varied to hold the tool loosely or very tightly to the pack. The black material appears to be much more fragile than typical pack cloth, but it can take a beating. It was brushed up against rocks, trees, bushes, and snow on my latest trip with no tendency to fray or wear thin. The pack is absolutely enormous, with the ability to expand enough to swallow a huge load or compress down to a quick and easy summit pack. Also, there is a two-drawcord system at the top opening of the pack so that you can tighten down the load from up top with the first cord if you're not overloading, or you can use the extra few liters in the upper collar and tighten it down with the second cord. This keeps everything nice and snug from all directions and affords you a bit more flexibility in space.

I just carried 40lb in it over two days and 15 miles on and around Mount Daniel in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and it worked great. The load suspension is adjustable and the hip belt and shoulder straps are great. Lots of padding and a good contour. The orange daisy chain on the front is great for clipping in all sorts of little gadgets and extras...I use it to clip in my helmet. The rope strap up top works wonderfully too. It can be clipped into the daisy chain to hold your rope down very tightly, or if you're not using rope, it can act to tighten up the load from above and keep everything nice and compact.

Of course, you can also break this pack down for a summit day by removing the framesheet, top pocket, and padded hip belt (to be replaced by a thin nylon strap belt). This is said to remove a good 1 - 1.5lb, but I can't speak to this from experience, as I've yet to use it in this configuration. Over all I think that Mountain Hardwear has done a great job with their Alpine Sport series of packs and I can say that their flagship AS pack, the South Col, is a great purchase for someone who wants a modular, lightweight, and technical-featured mountaineering pack. I'll provide more input, where appropriate, as I get more experience with the South Col.

chieffancypants - Mar 3, 2009 3:58 pm - Voted 4/5

This bag is incredibly lightweight for its size, but it comes at the cost of comfort. Bags a third of the size have more padding than this one. I'm certainly not writing this as a complaint, but make sure you have your priorities straight before jumping into a purchase here. Try to find a local shop that carries it so you can determine if this trade-off is what you're looking for.

Additionally, it comes with "ice axe toggles" which I unfortunately have no idea how to use, and it doesn't include a manual or instructions. Does anyone have a picture to illustrate how I should tether the axes?

aermotor - Jul 26, 2012 12:05 am - Voted 2/5

Bummer of a Pack
Bought this thing with high hopes and it let me down almost everywhere. The pocket systems are cumbersome and conflict in so many ways with the main compartment. The front pocket is almost worthless and can't be packed up if the main is packed first. The secondary flap and pocket are annoying to use and if you put much in it, it just sinks inside and makes it hard to pack. The hydration pouch or whatever it's used for is terrible. Once you put something in it, it eats up tons of space in the main compartment and makes packing a pain. Never remove the frame stay as the pack becomes unusable and folds on itself. There is so much wrong with this pack sadly. Really wish they would test and address these issues.

This pack could be amazing but isn't. Good thing I bought it at REI *cough* return *cough*

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