With a lightweight, top-loading design, the streamlined Black Diamond Alias is an all-purpose backcountry pack for everything from hut tours to ski mountaineering.
The Alias features Black Diamond's ergoACTIV suspension system, which allows the pack to move with you. A pivot-mounted hipbelt allows you to pick your knees up high without restriction, and a steel cable that connects the two shoulder straps together so that you can raise your arm on one side and have the shoulder strap elongate to accomodate the motion, without shifting your load off-balance. Lock-out straps allow you to stop the motion of the hipbelt when you want it to sit in one spot.
In addition to the suspension, the Alias features an enclosed avy-tool organizer pocket, ice tool PickPocket and tuck-away rope strap keep all your alpine essentials sorted and handy.
Feature list from Black Diamond
|Adjustable Torso Length:||No|
|Hydration Bladder Included:||no|
|Ice Axe Loops:||yes|
|Number of Pockets:||4|
|Primary Access:||Top Access|
|Ski / Snowboard Carrier:||yes|
|Sleeping Bag Compartment:||no|
|Trekking Pole Loops:||yes|
|Volume:||[S/M] 30 L ( 1,831 cu in); [M/L] 32 L (1,953 cu in)|
|Weight:||3 lbs / 1.36 kg|
|Black Diamond Alias AvaLung Pack||$69.97 - $279.99|
I wore this pack for ski touring this spring, and I was happy with it.
Pros: I love the buckles on the side compression straps. They make lashing skis to the pack (and taking them off at the top of a booter) so easy. It's fairly light, it's a good size for one or two days, and it carries well even when it's not full. All the features are simple, functional and well thought out.
Sizing: I'm 6'00''. M/L fits perfectly.
Cons: I don't think this pack was designed to carry big weight. I wore it on four trips in late spring where I had to hike a few miles with boots and skis lashed to the pack - a pretty heavy load when you add H2O, crampons, etc. After that, I wished BD had used more padding on the shoulder straps and hip belt. Some of the straps (the stabilizer straps in particular) slip under heavy weight. Because the pack is narrow at the bottom, I sometimes kick my tails when I hike downhill with my skis strapped on A-frame style. (However, I was riding 198's, so that may have been a contributing factor.)
Bottom line: awesome pack for one or two days of traditional ski touring (skinning from the trailhead). Less awesome, but still good, for hiking into backcountry skiing with all your gear on your back.