When climbing an alpine route in winter there are many things that can possibly go wrong and your mental space is a finite resource being fully utilized to process the various sets of actions you must execute in order to overcome each pitch until you reach the summit. There isn’t any bandwidth left for contemplating the logistics of your gear, such as how to load your pack successfully, strap ice axes to the outside, or coil the rope and strap it at the top of the pack. For this purpose, the X2 fulfills all the necessities—simple and practical—nothing more, nothing less. It just works. Perfectly.
When buying a backpack, there is always the bias of beauty. It’s easy to fall for form rather than function. In the case of technical backpacks, it’s often very difficult to get a real understanding of the features and capacity when browsing at your local gear shop. For this purpose, we write reviews to help folks to buy the best fit for their needs. In the case of the BUILT TO SEND X2 an “in use review” is even more relevant. You need to read about how it actually feels to load the rucksack at -10°C with heavy winter gloves.
The story of BUILT TO SEND started in 1996 when a group of friends decided to pursue the goal of climbing every 4000m peak of the European Alps. About twenty years later, with the experience gained by climbing about 70 big peaks (plus rock and ice all over the world), they decided to forge the ultimate climbing pack, aiming to become the finest on the planet.
I became interested in BUILT TO SEND packs after reading the “5 Reasons Why BUILT TO SEND Should Be on Your Radar” article on Carryology. At that time I was looking for an alternative to the HMG Ice Pack. Something with a similar construction but entirely made of VX42 X-Pac fabric.
Most of all I was looking for an alpine pack engineered to answer all those problems that only people climbing in vertical, mixed rock and ice can truly understand. A pack that doesn’t leave any detail to chance; that defies the trends and is no-frills.
I received the pack in April 2020, right in time for the COVID-19 lockdown in Tokyo. So I had to wait almost one year (winter climbing in Japan starts around January) to fully experience the versatility of my BUILT TO SEND X2.