Mammut Neon Light 12 Review
Cons: Small, flimsy, not versatile
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Mammut Neon Light 12
$69.95 at Amazon
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$69.95 at Amazon
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|Pros||Comfortable, light||Simple, great zippered pocket, streamlined||Comfortable, easy to pack, great packing volume||Durable, sleek, stylish||Simple, sturdy, light|
|Cons||Small, flimsy, not versatile||Limited attachment points, easy to drop stuff||Heavy, average durability, no emergency whistle||Uncomfortable shoulder straps, no external carrying options||No emergency whistle, draw cord and cord lock blend into pack|
|Bottom Line||Though it's one of the most comfortable small climbing packs, this bag isn't very abrasion-resistant||Though there are no extra features, this bag ticks all the boxes for multi-pitch climbing||This pack is great to climb with and easy to load, though it's not particularly light||This classic is still going strong, though you cannot carry anything on the outside of the pack||This is a great pack for multi-pitch rock climbs at a very fair price|
|Rating Categories||Mammut Neon Light 12||The North Face Rout...||Petzl Bug||Black Diamond Bullet||Black Diamond Rock...|
|Climbing Utility (25%)|
|Specs||Mammut Neon Light 12||The North Face Rout...||Petzl Bug||Black Diamond Bullet||Black Diamond Rock...|
|Measured Weight||0.9 lbs||1.1 lbs||1.1 lbs||1.1 lbs||0.9 lbs|
|Fabric Type||70D nylon||420D nylon||400D nylon||420D nylon, 1260D ballistic nylon||840D nylon|
|Accessory Pockets?||Two external zip, one internal zip||One external zip||One external zip, one external open, one internal zip||One external zip, one internal zip||One external zip, one internal zip|
|Outside Carry Options?||Daisy chains||Daisy chains||Top strap, one daisy chain||No||Top strap doubles as rope strap|
|Hip Belt?||Yes, removable||Yes, removable||Yes||Yes, removable||Yes, removable|
|Hydration System Compatible?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Neon Light 12 is the smallest pack in our selection and among the lightest. Our testing team found it to be comfortable but occasionally frustratingly small.
The Neon Light is among the more comfortable packs in our review. It's a fairly low volume pack, so the back length is correspondingly small. This lets it ride right in that sweet spot where it doesn't interfere with your chalk bag or your helmet. The pack also sports a nice taper from top to bottom. These two qualities, combined with the well-padded back panel, make this small pack big on comfort. Shorter climbers, in particular, might find a good fit here.
The Neon offers a pretty functional feature set. The hydration system has its own pocket and works well with all reservoirs, and the sternum strap buckle is also a whistle. The outside of the pack has a useful number of attachment points yet remains streamlined. The hip belt is removable (most hip belts in our review are), and there is a space to tuck it in when not needed.
For a bag this small, the Neon has a lot of pockets: there are three, not counting the hydration system pocket. An internal mesh pocket harbors the key clip and is big enough for your headlamp, phone, and a couple of bars. The two external pockets are a bit bigger, but they're hard to use when the pack is full. The outside external pocket has a 40cm shock cord loop that Mammut says is a leash for a camera. Our testers rarely carry dedicated cameras, and when they do, they're reluctant to put them in an unpadded pocket on the part of the pack that takes the most abuse. The Neon has no hauling-specific features, which makes sense given the small size — if you only have 12L of stuff with you, it's probably not that heavy.
The Neon Light 12 is not a very durable pack. This won't be a problem for multi-pitch climbers who can avoid wide cracks and hauling — two things many climbers are already trying to avoid. The light fabric can't handle much abrasion, and the main compartment zipper isn't protected by a flap. Our testers did some minor but noticeable damage hauling it about 40 feet.
While nobody wants to be carrying a giant backpack around a city, we found the Neon Light to be a bit smaller than we would like for urban applications. Only smaller laptops will fit inside, and visits to the farmers' market might be fruitless. It does, however, come in a number of colors to better suit your personal palette.
This bag has the attachment point style we prefer: enough to secure a couple of things to the outside using slings and draws for rigging. However, it lacks dedicated attachment points for snow and ice gear, and its small size cramps utility in that type of mountain situation. While it's small enough and light enough to not be burdensome inside a larger pack, other models weigh the same but provide more benefits.
The Neon Light 12 weighs in at 0.9 pounds (about 400 grams). It's among the lightest packs in our review. We think eliminating one of the external pockets would be a way to make it the lightest pack in the test without cutting functionality.
Overall, we don't find the Neon to be a great value. For a similar price (or less), climbers can buy a pack that's lighter or more durable or has better features, or some combination of those three. However, if you only carry a few things when multi-pitch climbing and you don't want to carry them on your harness and you avoid chimneys and you're a smaller person (so the pack fits better than others) it could be a reasonable value.
Mammut's Neon Light 12 is a very small climbing pack. It does well at long face climbs or cracks smaller than offwidths. It's quite comfortable, and for climbers with shorter torsos, the fit could be great. It has a lot of pockets for such a small pack, so it's a good choice if you just want to keep a few things well organized.
— Ian McEleney
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