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Descensionist Pack 40L Reviews

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Patagonia Descensionist Backcountry Touring Pack 40L

March 1, 2023

Great Pack

Love the simplicity and the side zip. You can set it down and see all your gear inside. I also like that filling the pack doesn't seem to push against the avalanche gear too much if you overstuff it the fabric design seems to push higher than wider, and the roll top closure can be expanded for more gear or rolled for less. Overall really love ... Read Morethe pack, but wish the zippers were a little more bomber. I think this across the board with Patagonia gear, otherwise love the pack. Coming from an Osprey Kode 32.

February 28, 2023

Great Product

Great back, very spacious. Only two items to improve are: hydration pocket and opening for line, and make the hip pockets according to current phone sizes. Other than that amazing bag that I used for skiing and snowboarding, very light.

February 16, 2023

Great Quality

Haven't had a chance to use the pack yet but from reading reviews and lightly testing out the pack I will agree with most folks that another storage compartment would be nice. Curious how accessing avy gear will be as it seems it could be a little tight if the pack is loaded up. All aspects of the pack seem to be super high quality and I'... Read Morem stoked to use it.

February 7, 2023

Worst touring pack Ive owned

I traded in a competitors 30l pack for the 40l Descensionist. I had high hopes. I was going to do overnight or more tours, lines that included rappelling, instead, it has become a burden of a pack. It doesnt load well, no matter how you try. The avy pocket doesnt inspire much confidence. The straps constantly run through themselves. Ive tied them o... Read Moreff, Ive tried to melt the ends into little balls to lick them in place, but ultimately I have lost gear because the design is such a flop. I had a helmet fall out of the helmet carry while standing still and tumble 1500 feet into a creek. I am stubborn and have held onto this pack for two seasons with at least 30 days of touring because I dont want to just buy something new but I think its time has come

Response from Patagonia
February 15, 2023

Hi William, thank you for sharing this feedback. We definitely don't want you to feel stuck with something that isn't going to work for you! We'll be happy to help you [return](https://www.patagonia.com/returns.html) it. Please let us know how we can help!

February 1, 2023

Good bag, bad buckles

Bag is well designed and very user friendly. Can easily fit avy gear along with extra layers and medium sized camera bag (12x9x6 inches). Only downside was the waist buckle broke on the 3rd day wearing it in 20 degree f weather, had to tie it on the way down. Other buckles seem to be made out of the same material.

Response from Patagonia
February 10, 2023

Hi Regan, we're sorry to hear that buckle gave out! If it's still an issue, or if you're concerned about the other buckles, we'll be happy to help you to [return](https://www.patagonia.com/returns.html) this pack.

January 19, 2023

Fix the helmet carrying system

This is a great pack with many useful features. Side zip allows easy access to whatever I need inside. Small pockets on waist belt allow me to carry a scraper and skin wax as well as a small multi-tool and have them easily at hand. The main problem I have with the pack is the helmet carrier. This could be better designed with some ladder lock strap... Read Mores so that you can cinch the helmet down making it more secure. The mesh holder is convenient, but I have had my helmet pop out several times when shouldering my pack. So far it has not taken off downhill.

September 9, 2021

Almost there, but not quite for Ski Mountaineering

This pack has a lot going for it. - The fit is great, some other packs get the ratio of hip belt to torso wrong, this one does not. - It carries loads VERY well. I manage overnights with the 40L. - It is quite water resistant - The side zipper is large, and I almost never unroll the pack in normal circumstances - The ski carry works quite well - T... Read Morehere is some modularity with ski carry, and the roll top. "clip together" roll tops are kind of subpar when filling a pack, but you can use the straps that come with it to roll it and clip it on the sides - Looks good! - It's streamlined, it doesn't have a bunch of dangles and pockets and pouches and zippers that just get in the way. But, for implementation in a ski mountaineering context, it leaves a bit to be desired... - It tries to be TOO clever with the side straps. Your external axe and ski carry systems utilize the same straps, and there are situations where if you are carrying skis and you want your axe, you have to take off your pack. I don't like this. The straps double back through the yellow areas, the helmet carrier also clips to these. Pretty cool, but I think there can be a few concessions made to get a better axe carry. - Durability, overall it is quite good, but for prolonged ski carries... I have already worns holes from ski edges (they were sharp skis, but no burs). Aqua seal works well, but it's just a shame it abraded through already. - I know I already mentioned this, but the axe carry just isn't right. I ended up sewing a pick pocket on the back, with buckles and adding velcro loops at the top. This allows for quick deployment of the axe, without finagling with straps that should primarily be for ski carry. MUCH better, near perfect now. All in all, this is a well carrying, simple pack, with JUST the right amount of features, and comfort. Just needs a better axe carry, and maybe some abrasion resistance for edges. If I wasn't inclined to modify my packs, the axe carry would be a deal breaker. Patagonia, I know you can make this the ski mountaineering pack it was meant to be!

May 14, 2021

Good All Around Touring Pack

Purchased this season as my main Splitboard/Splitboard guiding pack. Really like the volume for carrying extra emergency gear and warm jackets that are needed to guide with, also has all the room for a quick overnight or hut trip as well. The roll top closure is amazing for a pack of this size because I can use it as my light day pack for personal ... Read Moretrips as well and it compresses down nicely. The pack material feels quite burly for how light the pack is and I haven't had any durability issues with it. The pack carries quite well with a heavy load and my board strapped to it. For the helmet carry I've been putting my helmet on top of the pack and using the netting to hold it in place there which has been really nice when I need to use the front of the pack to carry my board on. The side access zipper allows me to get to all my stuff with the helmet blocking the roll top. I've never really used an internal ice axe storage before but I have grown quite fond of it on this pack. Really love that both sides of the hip belt have pockets and gear loops. Can carry my glacier rack on the loops while keeping sunscreen/inclinometer/scraper in the pockets. There are a few quirks with this pack I've found that have been minor but not enough to detract me from highly recommending the pack. One is that with the lack of internal/external storage pockets I've gone to using more stuff sacks, etc. for organizing things like food/journals/electronics. The other is that when the pack is really stuffed it can be challenging to avy gear back into the Avy pouch since it is only a horizontal access zipper as compared to a larger flap style of pouch. Haven't had trouble getting the gear out quickly though. Only thing I would change is how the snowboard carry straps attach to the bag. With the way they thread onto the compression straps I've often had the issue of trying to tighten the straps and them just unthreading themselves from that attachment point. All in all I love this pack and it's now the only pack I use for backcountry touring unless I am going out for more than two nights.

April 28, 2021

Pretty good, but not perfect.

This pack is awesome, however I wish it had clam shell opening on the back rather than the side zipper. Access into the pack with skis attached on the sides is virtually impossible without removing a ski or diving into the black hole from the roll top. Also, given its 40L pack I was hoping to fit overnight gear in more easily than I did.

March 16, 2021

two big mistakes need to be fixed

I love my Ascensionist pack which I have used for four seasons for alpine climb, so I had a huge expectation on this pack for my ski touring. Fitting is great, weight is awesome (I love a minimalist pack), but there is two big mistake they made, made me believe previous season model was much better. First, need a top flap back. Without it, there is... Read More no medium size pocket with this pack, I hate stuffing goggles, buff, little snack into the main compartment and never being able to find it without pulling all other items. Next, need better solution for carrying an ice ax. Avi gear compartment is already very tight, not a god idea to suggest ice ax to be added there! or please add classic ax loop to the bottom of the pack. Over all I'm pretty disappointed with this pack, wouldn't recommend to any of my buddies.

Response from Patagonia
March 18, 2021

We're sorry to hear that this didn't work out and thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. If you're still in the market for a great pack, we'd recommend checking out the new [Altvia Pack 36L](https://www.patagonia.com/product/altvia-pack-36-liters/48915.html?dwvar_48915_color=NGRY).

March 16, 2021

10ish Days of Use

I have gotten about 10ish touring days with this pack and have a few thoughts. Overall a great piece. Pros: - Side zip pocket access is revolutionary. I have not used another ski touring pack but the Side zip pocket access is fantastic. It allows you to access the main compartment without fully taking the pack off and provides protection from blow... Read Moreing snow when it is unzipped on the ground during a stop. I rarely even use the rolltop for trip packing. - Great, durable material - Simple Cons: - Shovel can sometimes be difficult to remove from the avy pocket. - It could use one more medium/small pocket or pouch to keep things a bit more organized in the main compartment. - Horizontal ski carry. Patagonia claims this is possible but I am not sure how. - External attachment for .5 L water bottle. These last two items would just allow the user to be quicker in the backcountry. Other than that this is great pack. Get stoked to use it each time out.

March 15, 2021

Great Touring Pack

I really like this pack. My beacon, probe, shovel fit perfectly into the front pocket. There's plenty of space for layers and snacks an other things. I like the roll top. My friend (5'2) and I (5'4), both have this pack and both think it doesnt fit short torso-ed women that well. It would be nice if there was more petite sizing. Othe... Read Morer than that, I love this pack, especially for longer days.

February 26, 2021


This was a gift, the person had a friend that had one. That is why this one was chosen. Thank You Randy

January 22, 2021

This IS the bag for Ski Touring

I'm not one to write reviews but this bag deserves ALL THE LOVE. After 20+ days touring this season I have yet to find anything I don't like. This is rare with gear for me. First off, a waterproof material. Essential. PNW days are wet and this makes sitting on the bag during breaks not a problem. The roll top / side zip combination make... Read Mores getting gear and snacks in/out obscenely easy. I've got a nice little storage system all setup that allows me to keep my helmet inside the bag. If I didn't, or needed the storage space I could use the removable elastic storage. As for sizing, I'm 6 ft , 175, athletic and I use the S/M size. It might reduce the storage but it sits so comfortably that I rarely use the hip and chest strap.

January 14, 2021

rugged and stylish

My main motivation to purchase the descensionist was for the helmet carry. Its solid in that respect. I am at the smaller end of the fit for the S/M size, so i have some lengthy straps cinched pretty tight. Ive had it for only a few weeks and havent tested it with avi tools or filled it to capacity. The side zip access to the main pocket is conve... Read Morenient. The waist belt fits snugly, although the zipper pockets in the belt require two hands since they are far back (almost behind my hips). My large gps smart watch catches on the shoulder strap consistently, so i normally have to perform a left-right-left maneuver to get it on. Yet none of these are deal-breakers. While downhill skiing the pack stays in place. I hardly feel the weight or the frame. And the zippers are pretty easy to operate even while wearing padded ski gloves. Its a bigger pack than i need for skins, a few snacks water and incidentals my resort ascensions have required. Im really psyched to take it on a true trek. Nice that the Z factor video was media-fed to my account. It increased my outlook for safety. Lastly... i love gear labels. this pack has none. Again, not a deal breaker, it could make an awesome pack even slicker. Thanks for asking.

December 8, 2020

Near Perfect, One Large Miss

This simple pack answered a lot of desires I had in a touring pack. Most notably: Useful additions in place of unnecessary bells and whistles (no goggle pouches, but internal ice-axe carry, roll-top w/ side-zip access). Also, the simple and effecting ski carry systems are great and offer room for self-customization. The removable back pad allows sp... Read Moreace for a small thermaresta feature that all packs should have. Last, it's durable and lightweight. The BIG MISS is one that I find a bit frustrating. The zippered "key" pocket located at the top of the wet/avy tools pocket is in a horrible location. If you have more than a ski scraper or credit card in it, accessing your shovel quickly is nearly impossible and thus creates a huge safety issue. If this is a must-have feature, and perhaps it is, relocating the pocket is a must.

December 6, 2020

Exceeded expectations

Excellent pack! Very pleased with the re-design of this pack with a new tool pouch up front and still keeping the roll top and side entry from the original. much sturdier than the previous and more supported as well. fits my needs perfectly!

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