≪ Go to our review of Climbing Packs
Hands-on Gear Review
Mountain Hardwear Hueco 20 Review
Cons: Expensive, no hip belt
The Mountain Hardwear Hueco 20 is a well-featured rock climbing daypack with one distinct flaw, no hip belt. We understand that not all climbers like hip belts, but we can't understand why the largest bag in this category (20L) would be the only pack without one. Especially because all the other manufacturers recognize customers' varied preferences and make the hip belts on their packs stowable or removable. If you happen to be someone who hates hip belts, the Hueco could be right for you. It's streamlined and the vinyl coated HardTarp fabric can handle some abuse. We also like the internal gear loop for keeping things organized. In addition, the nifty three-point rope strap on top can be tucked inside when not in use, via a convenient velcro flap. Who would want to carry a full 20L pack topped with an 8 lbs climbing rope without a hip belt? We're not sure. We just hope updated versions of this pack feature a removable way to support heavy loads.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Climbing Packs Review
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Hueco has been designed to combine many of the most useful features of a climbing backpack into a sleek and comfortable form. We like so many things about it, from the internal gear loop to the stoweable rope strap, but the lack of a hip belt was a deal breaker for many climbers we spoke with.
The HardWear Tarp 18 fabric used to reinforce the outside panel of the Hueco adds a little extra weight to its design. Nevertheless this pack still weighs in at a reasonable 17.1 ounces. This places it slightly above the middle of the field of climbing backpacks that ranged from 12.0 to 20.3 oz. You can cut a tiny bit of weight by removing half of the sternum strap.
This pack is shaped in a tapered design—wider at the shoulders, thinner at the waist—that makes it a pleasure to climb with. The shoulder straps and padded mesh back panel also form to your body to help it smoothly adjust to any movement.
We like the Hueco for straightforward multi-pitch climbing. Its larger capacity (20L) makes it especially useful for bigger objectives, inefficient packers, or anyone that likes the added safety margin of bulkier insulating layers.
At $80.00, this pack costs a dollar more than the second most expensive pack, the Patagonia Linked. This price seems kinda high for a dedicated climbing backpack, but if you can find other uses for it, then it might become more reasonable.
Mountain Hardwear offers a wide array of backpacks. The Hueco itself comes in 20, 28, and 35 liter versions in red, green, black, and gray with either red our orange accents. They also make the Splitter 20, a more casual crag pack and the SummitRocket 20 VestPack for light-weight alpine missions.
— Jack Cramer
You Might Also Like
The Best Climbing Packs ReviewLooking for a backpack for your multipitch adventures? We tested 5 of the top climbing packs to determine which was...
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 8, 2016
Where's the Best Price?
*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Table of Contents
Other Gear by Mountain Hardwear