Montane Trailblazer 44 review

Discussion in 'Packs & Accessories' started by Chiseller, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  2. HillBelly

    HillBelly Section Hiker

    Those strap pockets seem to make a lot of sense. I've found on smaller packs (and some larger ones) that the hip pockets are a pain to use - so become redundant. I've gone smaller in my mid season camp pack before, but now settle around the 38-45 mark. This looks nice. My Mammut pack is a similar weight, but this looks good.
    Chiseller likes this.
  3. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    Montane's website gives the weight as 980g? Still looks like a good and well-priced pack though.
  4. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Tag says 800....ive not weighed them but I will do when we get home. E
  5. HillBelly

    HillBelly Section Hiker

    I don't need another rucksack... I don't need another rucksack... I don.. :watching: :stop:
    stonemonkey, Diddi, WilliamC and 2 others like this.
  6. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    Everyone needs another rucksack. :D
  7. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Video is up, bit long, but there was plenty to talk about.
    I didn't mention the internal bladder pocket ..or the little stash pockets for the rear pole carriers.
    Should be worth your time if the pack is on your radar. .
    Shewie, fluffkitten, Diddi and 3 others like this.
  8. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Just put it on the scale... Not very happy... 1002g !! I'm ringing Montane on Tuesday. Their tag weight is approx 800g !
    Approx doesn't allow. For. 202g in anybodies book.

    However We are very happy with the comfort and handling. I wore. Mine today with 8.5kg and did some milage without the waist fastened....
    Very comfortable .
  9. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Not good. If they have it, it's always worth checking on UOG since they actually weigh it themselves. They have it as 990g.
    tom and el manana like this.
  10. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    I'm not hugely surprised, these inaccuracies are common place in mainstream gear.

    The Ultra 40 was similar, no way 40 litre, it just swallowed gear, bigger than my Prophet. The Trailblazer looks nicer.
    Chiseller likes this.
  11. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    It looks like a label error. .. The trailblazer 30 is quoted at 800g ....
  12. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Early review. .. ..

    Bought two packs, one for the wife and one for myself.

    I've been using another brand of fastpack and saw these. We figured the 44l would be ideal for a 10 day trek in Norway. We're familiar with vest style harnesses and have respect for Montane gear through experience.

    1st impression was 'fantastic' and we set about packing for a two day hike with a Camp.
    The 44L seems conservative. These packs swallow gear.

    We usually travel with ultralight gear, but this time we loaded our packs out, similar to what we expect to carry in Norway.
    We couldn't find a recommended load weight.... So we just packed them with the shoulder season type kit.

    With 1.5L of water each, my pack weighed a heavy 12.6kg, my wife carried a total of 8.4kg.
    They filled out well and carried effortlessly for the weights..

    There was some gentle bobbing, when loaded.
    The wand pockets swallowed my windshirt, water/sterilising kit, midge net, spare running cap, gloves and ultralight compact phone/camera tripod.

    The harness pockets carried my large mobile p30 pro phone, so would also carry a phone as large as a Samsung S10+ etc.
    I fitted a 500ml soft flask (not provided by point of sale) to one of the pockets. I used the front harness bungee as a securing feature, as found on running vests. Sadly, there is only this elastic on one side of the harness. A point lost there. Would be greater to have one available on each side... Not just for use as I did... but for choice of either side for attachment.

    Perhaps slightly more volume, of these two pockets and perhaps a small pocket sewn on the lower external material for small items, like salt tablets, small head torch, whistle etc.... Perhaps a larger mesh external pocket for a compass to be quick when blazing the trail?

    The chest straps work very well, and the clip system is great. Sometimes the cord pulls get in the way, but it's a minor detail. The lock is secure and the elastic gives freedom of movement when breathing hard, or the need to unzip a layer, without the need to unclip.

    I would have liked to have seen a whistle attached to one of the chest clips for emergency use after a fall etc whilst wearing the pack. Another point lost.

    The vest adjustment pulls work great, but lose a point if fastening poles in whilst jogging, running. This is due to the Web loops being able to move to freely and allow the pole (mine are folding type) to work free. Perhaps a better kind of system can be found?

    The harness its self, works very well and is very comfortable and secure considering its low bulk and profile.

    The hip belt, again works ver well, easy adjustment, secure fit when backing the load off the shoulders while descending or to let some cool air through. The tempreture this weekend we're very high in the lakes and the padding on both the shoulders and waist, never felt sweaty.

    The load lifters work well and we found them Easy to adjust on the fly.

    The adjustable back sizing is easy and quick to adjust until that 'sweet spot' is found.
    It's difficult. To say wether the aluminium brace, helps with comfort or not.
    As a gram weenie I will be trying it without this when my base weight is around 6kgs or less.

    The day after our camping hike, we used them as day packs. I again packed heavier than normal, to see how the Trailblazer handled....

    With 8kg (Inc. 2L of water) I hiked with the waist belt un fastened. I was amazed at how comfortable it still was. Its a shame the waistbelt isn't removable to give more freedom when fast packing.

    As the wand pockets are nearly Independant of the waist strap, they would work well without the padded wings. ( I may cut mine off if I buy a spare to trim weight off for weight saving when fastpacking with my ultralight kit. (sub 5kg base for shoulder season)

    I had no difficulty with reaching the zip pulls.
    As for the small side pockets on the main pack. They will comfortably take an 850ml smart bottle but if the pack is. Loaded out and the wand pockets, a nalgene size bottle would be almost impossible to insert on the fly, as a smart bottle can take some inserting when full.

    Onto the rear.....
    The mesh.... Oh the mesh...
    I'm a big fan of. Stretch mesh on packs, and have it on three of my other packs.
    On the description page, it mentions using the mesh for a tent fly or coat. I put some soft items inside, 1st aid kit, foil blanket, etc but rightly or wrongly, inserted a folded. OS map inside as I wanted my wife to be able to access it easily as we moved.

    Wrongly, I inserted it between my soft kit and the mesh.... This resulted in a small HOLE being torn by the corner of the laminated map.... NOT a good experience.... My other packs have endured more testing items than this! It doesn't bode well?

    The daisy chain tape is however great as it will be very durable even though it should have very light items attached. Another brand uses a thin cord and have had durability and craftsmanship issues. Montane won't have these problems. I attached some thin bungee and secured my small sitmat rolled up. I will confidently add a synch cord for stretching between the loops to secure the top opening of the mesh. Or to attach an ultralight foam. Sleep pad?

    The supplied pole, walking axe? Cords are EXCELLENT very easy to use, adjustable, secure and glove friendly. I wish I had two more.

    The rear bottom pole/walking axe holders, sadly have no adjustment ability, and again can loosen with bounce and allow poles to slip.

    They are however quite easy to reach whilst wearing the pack if it's not loaded with too much bulk at the bottom.....

    Which brings me to what I see as another area for IMPROVEMENT? The side compression webs, start too high up the pack and allows the base of the pack to balloon outwards, which becomes annoying if squeezing through ancient passageways in walls or narrow kissing gates. It can also be a hinderence when turning round to close a gate next to a fence.

    My wife turned the wrong way and scuffed a barbed fence with the rear of her pack when closing the gate. Fortunately it was a light scuff, and her mistake. Fortunately the lightest of contact and no damage.

    This could have been alot worse. How her mesh didn't tear on the fence when mine did with a map is a mystery.

    The 'bivi pocket' between the body is a great feature and deceivingky spacious. A great place for keeping secure items that you don't want to be exposed.

    The base of the pack is more robust material and should survive a few good skirmishes with rock, gravel etc.

    The main body is FANTASTIC it will swallow kit and is a pleasure to use. The top opening appears to be slightly wider than the trunk and makes adding and removing kit a real pleasure compared to a competitors fastpack that is narrow at the top.

    The webbing around the top to make the roll top is great and I'm glad Montane didn't add velcro, as this is a real pain for snagging on sleeves or fleeces etc.

    The rooltop fastening is Fantastic as it allows you to either attach to the lower webbing buckles or leave fastened across the top. This works well when your going in and out of the bag at camp.

    This brings me to the grab loop.... Very well made, perhaps too well made. Depending on how the bag sits, it can occasionally rub on the back of a bare neck. Not so good. Perhaps marginally smaller or softer tape?

    Inside the main pouch, the valuables type pocket is great, but perhaps overkill on the material and weight could have been saved with lighter material and zip.

    The bladder pouch is a good size, and as I don't use a bladder, is handy for keeping certain kit items separate and easy to access without opening your pack Liner. I do recommend using a liner as even though the seams are solidly constructed, there is plenty of opportunity for prolonged exposure to driving rain, for moisture to track inside. I have yet to get the pack soaked through, but will expose it to prolonged soaking with a bathroom shower to see how long it takes for signs of ingress.

    Overall after 3 days use... We are very happy with the Trailblazer and look forward to racking the miles up with it.
    The quoted weight on the site is 980g mine weighs in at 1002g. A bit of a disappointment as on the label it states approximately 800g!!! Which is what the Trailblazer 30 is reputed to be.
    If it was nearer to the 800g mark, it would knock alot of the ultralight fastpacks into the dust thanks to its excellent comfort and great features.

    I'm looking forward to trying it with minimum overnight kit and blazing some trails.
    I'm that happy, I'm seriously considering a third pack in the form of the 30L to strip back a bit and tweak where I can for fast and light flight...

    There's a bit more to add. .. But it should be enough for folks to have a better idea....
    Thanks Montane..... Further Faster we will go.
    P's. I could have wrote more but I've written this on a phone....
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
    PhilHo, el manana, Shewie and 6 others like this.
  13. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Edited to make it more Readable ?
  14. Jon jons

    Jon jons Ultralighter

    That's more than I've written in 5 years :rolleyes:
    Chiseller and Clare like this.
  15. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Felt. Like 3 years typing on my phone lol
    Jon jons likes this.
  16. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I'll add relevant pictures tomorrow.. .
  17. Jon jons

    Jon jons Ultralighter

    Looked at the 30 myself in my local cotswold, not sure it would bring anything to my stable that my Omm 32 doesn't do. Nice looking packs though, glad you are enjoying yours. The featherlite 30 in m/l is only 45 sods on amazon this morning BTW.
    Chiseller likes this.
  18. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Just had a sweeping peep... The featherlite is a different pack altogether and wouldn't do for me what a vest style pack would do . For the 90g less, it seems to have far less features and comfort. Cheers for the heads up though.
    Jon jons likes this.
  19. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Looks nice. @Chiseller what are the dimensions of the mesh pocket? Thanks.
  20. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Just winding down, I'll measure them. Tomorrow.. Do you mean the large mesh hip pockets? The side pockets arnt mesh,.
  21. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Just done a couple of mods... I think it will improve handling and help get through those tight spots.
  22. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I mean the large back pocket that supposedly fits a wet tent. No rush! I’m still in cold windy Barcelona.
    Chiseller likes this.
  23. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    The mesh is 10" opening, tapering to 7.5" at the bottom. 13" deep , but in reality, 12" deep.
    The zipped bivi pocket as they call it.. Is the same dimensions except it is 16" deep. In either the bivi pocket or the mesh t I can fit, shelter, bivi, bathtub and pegs.
    Packing the bivi pocket out, does reduce the main compartment marginally. IMG_20190424_195020.jpg
    *edit I can fit my shelter pole in aswell!!
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  24. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Chiseller likes this.
  25. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Your welcome :thumbsup:

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