Black Diamond Covert 22

Review by planetFear
Monday 29th January 2007

It’s always a treat to receive exciting new products to review and when the Covert 22 turned up in the office I was first in the queue! I had assumed it would have come complete with the Avalung (details) but I was disappointed to discover we’d been sent just the rucksack. Therefore my review is strictly limited to the Covert 22 as a pack and doesn’t consider what should have been its most interesting and unique feature.

My first thoughts were that at 22 litres it’s a little on the small side for off piste skiing on a glacier. As I suspected in Chamonix recently snowboarding off the Aiguille de Midi, I found you couldn’t fit all the kit you needed for riding on a glacier (rope, crampons, harness etc) as well as your normal off piste kit. This is not so much a criticism but an observation that Covert 22 is fine for off-piste action when all you need to carry is a probe and a shovel.

In use the Covert 22 was comfortable and easy to adjust so no complaints there. The numerous features that allow you to carry an ice axe along with either skis or a snowboard are well thought out and worked fine for carrying my snowboard (I can’t comment on its ability to carry a skis but the skiers I was with had a good look at the sack and their opinions were positive).

There were only two disappointments with the performance of the sack both relating to the compression straps. The four webbing straps used to compress the sides can be unclipped on one side and joined together in the middle of the bag to carry a snowboard. However, it’s not possible to do this without twisting the traps and therefore it’s difficult to really tighten them up. Also you can’t compress the sack whilst carrying a snowboard and I guess that the bag was designed with skiing in mind and snowboarding as an after-thought. Also after only 6 days of use I had significantly worn two of the compression straps where the edge of my snowboard had rubbed against it. There are some 1300d ballistic reinforcements on this sack but they don’t seem to be in the correct place; on the compression straps would have been good!

Overall, the Covert 22 is a well designed off piste pack that has some good, versatile features. It looks pretty good and elicited some favourable comments from friends. I presume when combined with the Avalung that it would offer a unique advantage over other sacks but the durability of the compression straps let it down.


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