Chris Townsend reviews a tough, minimalist pack made in the UK

This review is part of our mid-size packs gear guide, and was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Great Outdoors.

No side or front pockets, no zip-out panels, no stretch mesh anywhere – just an uncomplicated alpine-style pack, the Ibex is for those who prefer simplicity. The only pockets are in the lid and the main body is only accessible from the top. There are side straps and front shockcord for attaching items like crampons and skis and for compressing the pack around a small load.

The Ibex is made from a tough lightweight fabric that feels quite stiff and crinkly. Alpkit says this X-Pac material has ‘great strength to weight properties’. The UK-made pack also has bar-tacked contact points, double-stitched seams, and load-bearing straps sewn into the seams. This is a pack made to last.

The back is quite stiff and transmits the weight to the hipbelt okay. The latter is quite narrow and not that heavily padded. For loads up to 10kg it’s okay. The pack hugs the body and stability is excellent. I used it snowshoeing on some very rough terrain and it never threw me off balance.

The Ibex is quite light and the weight is quite low. If you won’t miss pockets and other features it’s one to consider. The harness isn’t adjustable but there are two back lengths.

alpkit.com

Overview

  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: tough fabric, quite light, two back lengths, cost

Cons: few pockets, narrow hipbelt

  • Price: £125
  • Weight: 1.37kg
  • Capacity: 50 litres
  • Materials: X-Pac VX21 4-layer 210D laminate, 500D Cordura base
  • Closures: detachable lid with twin buckles
  • Compartments: 1
  • Back: framesheet with central alloy strut
  • Sizes: 2
  • Hipbelt: detachable, thermo-formed
  • Pockets: 1 outer lid, 1 inner lid
  • Features: twin ice axe loops, twin side straps, front bungee cord
  • Volume-to-weight ratio: 18.2
  • Max. recommended load: N/A
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