A majority of backpackers need a pack large enough to carry all of their gear, but comfortable enough to wear all day. Finding a pack that can balance both needs is difficult at times. The Eiger 40 XT pack, from Marmot, is designed to answer the eternal question of pack comfort versus storage space. Marmot has released a new model for the 2010 season. The redesigned features have only changed slightly, but will increase accessibility overall. The pack now features a top flap in a U-shape. Marmot believes the zipper and U-shape combination will allow users to access their stored items more easily.
Altogether, the Eiger 40 XT pack has one large main gear compartment and five smaller pockets. Each of the smaller pockets is arranged for maximum accessibility with the pack on. Capacity and weight vary slightly by the pack size. Medium sized packs hold 2,450 cubic inches. They weigh 3 pounds, 1 ounce when empty. Large packs contain 2,625 cubic inches of cargo space. The large models weigh 3 pounds, 4 ounces without gear inside. The packs are designed for days of camping at a time and are reasonably weighted when full. Marmot advises users to pack in an organized manner to increase the amount of items carried and to prevent breakage.
The entire pack is constructed from durable ripstop nylon. The fabric resists dirt, drops, falls, and rock abrasions. The pack should last through any outdoor adventure. The U-shape top opening allows users to set the pack on the ground and simply reach inside. A water cache and two side pockets sized for water bottles ensure users will be hydrated on their hike. A proprietary Air Comfort back panel with protective plating keeps stored items from poking users in the back. A framesheet and aluminum stays are removable. The shoulder straps are S-shaped to reduce discomfort and fatigue. A hip-hugging belt helps to support heavy loads and keep the pack stable against the user’s body. The belt also has extra attachment points for additional items. Loops for ice axes are adjustable. Twin daisy chains accommodate extra tools. Compression straps on each side can be released quickly. The straps help pack wearers maintain their stability. The straps can even hold skis on when using the pack in the winter months. With a laundry list of features, users will be prepared for nearly every situation in the wilderness.
However, the Eiger 40 XT pack can make it difficult to find items in a hurry. The top opening is wide, but items on the bottom aren’t easy to find with a full pack. The water cache pocket is only an opening designed to fit a water system. A water pouch system must be purchased separately. Although the pack is well-fitted and sized, it may not be suitable for all body types. The flaws are relatively minor. Thoughtful packing can alleviate the storage issue, and an excellent water pouch system should cost between $25 and $50.
The Marmot Eiger 40 XT pack retails for an MSRP of $129. The redesign of the 2010 model brings about mostly incremental changes, but maintains Marmot’s excellent reputation for durable outdoors gear. For people who need to carry heavy loads of gear, the pack is an outstanding choice. It has the storage space and carrying comfort necessary for long trips on foot. The pack comes with a five star recommendation for camping enthusiasts who are looking for a reasonably priced pack and need to carry a fair amount of gear. Overnight or weekend campers should choose a smaller pack more suitable for their gearing needs.