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planetFear - Rock Climbing, Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking

Grivel Manu & Alpine Light

Review by planetFear
Monday 8th January 2007

Grivel “Manu” & “Alpine Light” rucksacks

Manu - RRP £44.99

 

The Manu is aimed at use for big wall or multi pitch climbing, and I haven’t climbed anything more than 15m high since I received it! But I have used the bag extensively, often experimenting to work out its uses.

The Manu is a well made rucksack that has been extremely well thought out, combining numerous useful features, such as two outer mesh pockets, an inside zipper pocket with a key fob, an ice tool loop which holds two axes, and a vest style gear sling incorporated into the shoulder and waist straps. There are 4 plastic covered gear loops on each side, for clipping extra gear. It also has an internal sleeve to hold a water bladder, as well as an exit for the tube.

Whilst the 13L capacity is enough to fit in shoes, food, drink, and rain clothes etc. it remains light (555g) and is not very bulky; especially at its bottom so as not to interfere with your climbing harness. You can detach the bag from its gear slings, enabling you to use the bag without shoulder straps, or the gear/shoulder straps without a bag. This versatility also means that you can swivel the bag round to your front, for easier access whilst it’s still securely fastened.

My main point against the Manu is its seemingly excessive amount of strapping for such a simple bag and racking system, making it un-user-friendly as a normal day sack. Having 8 large plastic gear loops, on top of those you’d have on your climbing harness anyway, seems a little excessive to me, even for big wall climbing. But at least there is too much to it, rather than too little – after all, you can always remove the bits that are surplus to your requirements.

The ‘Manu’ attaches (without its gear sling) onto either the Grivel ‘Alpine’ or ‘Alpine Light’ models, using 4 plastic clips, one at each ‘corner’, allowing you to carry more equipment, as well as giving you the opportunity to release the Manu quickly for a brisk start up the climb once you’ve reached the base of the route.

 

This is a very specialist piece of kit, but if you plan on doing much big wall climbing then it is definitely worth investing in, along with either the “Alpine” or “Alpine Light”.


Alpine Light - RRP £99

First things first; as I have come to expect from Grivel rucksacks it seems extremely well made so I am sure it will be a very durable sack. Weighing just 1295g for a 42 L rucksack, the Alpine Light truly is a fantastic option for serious climbers, where both performance and weight limitation are paramount. It has a relatively narrow profile, potentially useful if you ever need to climb through narrow chimneys with it on. However, it remains a stylish looking bag whatever you choose to use it for, and the use of special absorber gel and padding, in the shoulder straps and back panel, make it an exceedingly comfortable sack.

The waist-belt has a secure zip pocket and a plastic covered gear loop on each side, but neither should encroach on your climbing harness. The outside of the bag has two bungee chords for carrying more equipment, as well as the essential ski slots and ice tool holders on either side of the sack. External compression straps enable you to minimize the size of the bag when appropriate.

There are three internal gear loops to help you manage your gear more efficiently, and help keep the weight balanced whilst climbing – i.e. closer to your back, rather than pulling you backwards. Just a minor point, but the yellow material inside enables you to find your gear slightly more easily than the more conventional ‘Black Hole’ scenario. To help you keep things organised, the lid has an external and an internal zip pocket. Like the Manu, there is an internal pouch and an exit hole for a hydration pack.


 
It is clear it has been extremely well made and  is an excellent rucksack, designed specifically for those who are serious about their climbing and mountaineering, particularly when combined with the ‘Manu’ as an attachment. I'll certainly be taking them both with me on any future climbing trips and especially look forward to getting to grips with them on some big walls...

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