The Black Diamond BBEE 11 is a simple, lightweight summit pack that doesn’t have a lot of features but is comfortable to wear with lighter loads. We didn’t like it as much for general use or running because of the fewer features or less-structured design. That said, it works very well at what it was designed as: a simple, packable bag.
The Black Diamond BBEE 11 is a simple, lightweight summit pack that doesn’t have a lot of features but is comfortable to wear with lighter loads.
The flexible OpenAir back panel is comfortable to wear without a water bladder inside and with hard-edged items like cameras pressed against the back panel. An internal water bladder pocket holds bladders up to two liters but 2.5-liter bladders will fit if they are not full. The back panel doesn’t hold its shape well and curves out to fit the shape of the water bladder. Testers found smaller or flatter bladders were more comfortable to use with this pack.
Contoured shoulder straps were comfortable up to about 13 pounds for our test load but comfort diminished above that weight. One-inch webbing attaches the bottom of the shoulder straps to the pack.
The sternum strap and waist belt are also made from 1-inch webbing. An elastic section increased the mobility of the shoulder straps when moving a lot. The sternum strap easily moves up and down on the shoulder straps to dial in fit.
One thing to note with this pack was that the shoulder straps and waist belt are shorter than average. The waist belt totals 42 inches long, 4-6 inches shorter than other packs tested.
Ventilation was good with holes cut in the foam and a corrugated surface to the back panel shoulder straps.
Stability during our test hikes was relatively good. With no secondary pockets or compression straps the load bounces when moving quickly or running.
The BBEE is 11 liters, which held water, food and clothing for half-day hikes. Most of the storage is in the one main pocket and one small zippered pocket inside the flap of the main pocket. The small pocket held a wallet, phone and keys comfortably. Testers found the location of the internal pocket convenient not having to pull other gear out to access it.
There is a segmented compartment inside for the water bladder along the back panel. There are no other pockets on the sides or front.
The BBEE 11 is a simple pack feature-wise. One main pocket with a small zippered pocket and the bladder pocket make up the storage. The waist belt is attached to the pack with webbing loops and were easy to remove.
The sternum strap has an elastic section which increased comfort during movement. The buckle on the sternum strap also has an integrated whistle. Daisy chains run vertically long the front of the pack which fit carabiners or cord. One tester tied elastic cord back and forth along the daisy chain for makeshift stash pocket. At the bottom of the daisy chains is another loop for rigging up gear storage. At the center of the front is a 2-inch wide piece of webbing for holding a bike light.
The BBEE 11 is very packable. The back panel is flexible and can be rolled or folded tightly. The whole pack collapses flat in a suitcase or other pack.
With 400d nylon twill on the bottom and 210 nylon ripstop for the body, the BBEE is quite durable and we didn’t notice any pulls or stitching during testing.
The price of $49.95 is a bit high for the number of features you get when compared to other options. While it doesn’t have many features like some of the other packs, it does very well at its intended purpose of a summit pack.
The water bladder is stored internally on the BBEE 11 with two webbing loops (one large, one small) at the top of the bladder pocket to hold the bladder up. The hose routes through a small port at the top-center of the pack then through two loops on either of the shoulder straps.
The internal water bladder pocket is harder to use than an external pocket. We had to remove some gear from the pack to be able to fit the bladder back in after a refill.
We had problems hanging the bladder in the pocket. There is no clip on the bladder hanger, just two loops of webbing. These webbing loops can hook around a bladder handle that has an opening on the end but it can’t hang through bladder handles with closed openings (see photos). We used a small clip or piece of cord to hook the bladder to the hanger.
The Black Diamond BBEE 11 is a good summit pack. It’s packability and simplicity lends itself well to that one use. We didn’t like it as much for a general day pack as other options. For the same price there are better general half-day packs for hiking and travelling.
Running and riding weren’t very comfortable when the pack was full of gear and water. The flexible back panel didn’t keep its shape well. Packed carefully with flat items and a half-full bladder it was much more comfortable. With no compression or secondary pockets, items bounce inside when running.
Ross is an outdoor adventure writer, photographer, and sometimes computer programmer based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He runs, rides, SUPs and skis but often finds himself in CrossFit gyms trying to lift heavy weights.