Short answer: My favorite crag pack, good for a day, or a couple days climbing. Go buy it!
The long answer… I have been out using the Mammut Neon Gear 45 crag pack for the past Summer, doing single and short multipitch climbs on nearby crags. The new Neon Gear is in color Graphite, with the distinctive red highlights of the Mammut name and mammoth logo.
Jamtastic zippers were a common complaint among the small group of climbers I knew who had the same pack. And while I knew that the great customer service at Mammut would probably replace the pack for free, I decided since I got the pack a couple years ago that I had gotten full use out of it, and would just spend the bucks to get the newest version. Some improvements Top strap The top strap changed to a sliding strap with a clip style connector, which is a more convenient way of attaching the rope (or whatever) to the top of your pack, (in order to leave more room inside the pack, for example).
The Old style used velcro to wind the extra length of the top strap. While it worked well, it took a little extra time to setup. I talked to a fellow owner who actually liked the old style better, but like they say, there’s always one…
The top strap is useful for strapping large bulky items such as your rope, jackets, etc. I use it mainly for attaching the rope when I go tradding, since it leaves more room for cams and additional gear that I might need. The 45 liter size, though, is a flexible size for most outings, even multipitch, though probably not my first selection for multiday climbing that includes camping/sleeping gear.
Improved Zipper Like I said before, the old zipper was a jammer, but the builders at Mammut must have heard, because the new zipper is beefier, and so far has worked without a glitch. Back pad I admit, I kind of liked the look of the old ribbed backing of the previous Mammut:
While there is a waist strap, it is not padded, which may be a deal breaker for some people. I think it’s supportive enough, at least for my usage. I’ve found it supportive enough for hour long approaches, which is about as long an approach as I’m willing to do in my spoiled Colorado cragging. For longer approaches I might miss the padded support. I admit, the thought crossed my mind on the steep approach to Mt. Thorodin in Golden Gate State park. I’ve always liked the fact that the pack opens completely along the area that touches your back, making unloading the rope and other gear very easy. In fact I hardly use the top entry at all, opting for the back zipper. All in all my favorite crag pack. So good I bought both the old version AND the new one. And while I’ve checked out some other offerings from Black Diamond, et al, I have never encountered a crag pack with the all the features I appreciate in the Neon.
You can get the Mammut Neon 45 crag pack from REI on the link below: