Switch 40+5


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Switch 40+5
Manufacturer Osprey
Page By kheatwol
Page Type Aug 7, 2005 / Aug 7, 2005
Object ID 1386
Hits 4003
The Switch 40+5 features backside panel entry and a separate snow safety gear compartment with organizers on the front side. A top access goggle compartment, front slash pocket and attitude-maintenance pocket on the hipbelt keep the rest of your snow essentials organized. Versatile options for carrying your snow locomotion gear abound. Fiberglass peripheral rods provide added stability for heavy loads and a contoured aluminum headrail maximizes headroom.

Top access goggle compartment
Separate snow safety gear compartment with slider lock-off has organizers for shovel, skins and probe
Foam reinforced sidewall crescents
Reinforced ski carry straps
Safety equipment pocket on hipbelt


Viewing: 1-3 of 3

kheatwol - Aug 8, 2005 12:02 am - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This pack speaks for itself. Osprey, a company that calls Colorado home, is well-known for making quality packs. And if something should happen, they will stand behind their product.

I took a pretty good fall skiing with this pack on. One of the seems on the pack ripped out- which really didn't suprise me because I was cart-wheeling down the side of a chute. When I explained what happened, they were happy to replace the pack.

This pack also boasts extreme comfort. I have done Long's Peak 3 times with this pack and my legs always end up hurting before my shoulders.

This pack is great for ski mountaineering!

Dan the Jones - Feb 16, 2007 2:51 am - Hasn't voted

Not the best
The quality and materials of this pack are superb. The general fit of the pack is great, it is rare that the pack tires out the shoulders. It has excellent wear areas and the location and access of the hip pockets makes it easy to grab a quick item or two. I however dislike the entry to the main compartment, not only do all the straps have to be undone. The entry to the pack is really unconvienent and often causes more problems then it does anything else. I would only reccomend this pack if access tp the main compartment is going to be very limited.

delmarco - Feb 23, 2008 5:23 pm - Voted 1/5

Good Laundry Bag!
I got this pack because of the rave reviews it got in the 2005 Backpacker Magazine for its unique Taco System. It also looked really cool and that helped my decision when I saw the price tag was close to $200. Nevertheless, I got a late season online sale and paid 50% less which had me stoked until I tried to take this pack out in the field.

First impressions of this pack left me confused. The stiff taco shell set up on the sides and round pouchy shape on the front is very clumsly for packing oddly shaped gear like climb shoes, fuel bottles, or anything square and hard in both the front and rear compartments. The larger rear compartment was impossible to get to without taking the pack off, unzipping the shoulder straps, fighting the multiple zippers snags, and then you have to blindly stuff your gear thru (or pull it out from) a very small dark opening.

As an alpine & ice climber (something I got into shortly after buying the Switch 40+5), I found the pack virtually useless for holding rope, climbing hardware, crampons, and ice tools. As for shovels, snowboards, snow shoes, skiis and poles you would need the pack to be 50% empty in order for the taco system set up to support the lashing-on of these technical gear on the exterior. So with that said, the Switch 40+5 is best used as a daypack for light runs in the hills and nothing more. At the end of the day you paid $200 for a clumsly 4 lb. heavy daypack that is barely good enough for lashing on even heavier gear for your ascents. Where as a lighter weight, smaller, pack with more lashing options would be more superior (see Dana Design Tattooish or Mammut's Snow packs).
That brings me to this important lesson I've learned over the years when buying packs. Daypacks are best when they are between 10-30 Liters and under 3lbs. Alpine/Cragging/and Weekender packs are best at 50-60 Liters and at or under 4lbs. Then we have the "no man's land" 40 Liter pack family. These packs tend to be more pricey than other sized packs and tend to be labeled as specialized packs or as I found out with the switch 40+5 these packs will eventually fall in the "useless-zone" between daypacks and weekender.
Unless you are a expert at packing light during a weekend overnight or you like to carry a house on your back during a dayhike eventually you will end up not using this pack. This is exactly where I fell out with this Osprey pack and it just ended up sitting in the laundry room for a few years.

Actually after a few weeks of having it, this pack BECAME my laundry bag for hauling dirty clothes down to the laundromat.

Another negative; the fit of this pack is off. I'm an 18 inch torso/33 inch waist (a.k.a medium) and the medium size was too big for me in both the shoulder straps and waist belt and the whole system was tricky to adjust so I ended up ditching the belt (which is useless deadweight if you are going to use this as a daypack).

The few positives of this pack were the hydration pocket was very useful for keeping fluids from freezing and close by whenever I needed a sip. Also the front pocket had an umbrella sheath and a few well placed mesh compartments for keeping gear sorted (if only the main compartment had this). The ski-google pocket was useful as well.

BOTTOM LINE: Osprey radically modified this series a year after it debut and most likely did so as a response to user complaints similar to my own. The modified packs look very ugly but can only be more functional and easy to use than this first version Switch.

Three stars for bold style, durability and that umbrella pocket for all those snowboarders that carry umbrellas with them on the slopes.


Viewing: 1-3 of 3