Black Diamond Epic 45 Review

May 11, 2013
Black Diamond Epic 45
2Black-Diamond-Epic-Back
3Black-Diamond-Epic-Front
4Black-Diamond-Epic
Black Diamond Epic 45 2Black-Diamond-Epic-Back 3Black-Diamond-Epic-Front 4Black-Diamond-Epic
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
84
Comfort/Adjustability
8
Stability
8
Storage
7
Organization & Access
4
Features
7

The Good

  • ErgoActive suspension can comfortably support large loads
  • Thoughtful alpine-tool carry systems
  • Tough textile and padded base

The Bad

  • Can feel very unstable if not packed carefully
  • Poorly designed fixed lid
THE VERDICT

The Epic was purpose-built for gear-intensive mountain excursions, and was the toughest pack we tested this year. BD’s ErgoActive suspension is among the best for maintaining actual climbing mobility while carrying a multi-day load.

ITEM DESCRIPTION

A tough alpine rucksack equipped with a uniquely mobile suspension system and an array of mountain-specific bells & whistles.

FULL REVIEW

Comfort/Adjustability
While it tended to polarize testers’ opinions, the Epic’s suspension got mostly rave reviews. Back panel ventilation was minimal when compared with the trekking-style packs we tested, but was typical of most climb-inspired bags.

Stability
This pack carried well regardless of its load—even the heaviest lumps of climbing kit seemed to float along whilst carried on-trail. In “balancey” situations, however, there is a shifty tendency to the independent suspension.

Capacity
The fixed lid and minimal exterior attachment points are the only things keeping the Epic from carrying absolutely gigantic loads.

Organization/Access
Top-only access is standard for this type of pack; a poorly designed lid is not. The Epic could have gained a couple of points here, were its lid not so floppy and prone to spilling its contents.

Features
As a technical mountain rig, this pack should be more completely and more easily strippable. Though it seems BD has done their best considering the unique suspension configuration, a removable lid should be standard. Users with waists narrower than 36” will likely want to avoid racking ice screws on the hip belt, as the gear-carry slots are mounted too far forward to safely do so.

Value
While reasonably priced for a full-featured alpine pack, the Epic is slightly pricier and considerably less versatile than many similar-sized bags we tested this season.

* One bonus point for BD’s SwingArm harness allowing for actual climbing movement.

 


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WHERE TO BUY
MSRP
$190.00
*Your purchase helps to support the work of Gear Institute.
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