Light, Strong, Simple: the Oryx Backpack

By Alpkit

You just never cease to surprise us!

It's one of the wonderful things about chatting to our Alpkiteers and customers. No matter how much thought we put into a piece of kit – nor how niche that kit is – you tend to choose something that's in noway built-for-purpose for your exploits, for reasons we don't always expect! That's why keeping an open dialogue with you – the people using our products – is crucial to our design process.

Incidentally, it was a conversation with one of the UK’s gnarliest climbers that inspired us to make this pack. The Oryx backpack was to be extremely lightweight, simple, and strong - with a decent capacity to boot. Perfect for fast, minimalist alpinism.

You set us a challenge, so we set ourselves some targets:

  • Price: £75
  • Weight: 500 g
  • Capacity: minimum 30 litres

You may now be wondering: 'how can Alpkit make a 500g Alpine climbing pack for £75 when other brands are releasing packs that retail at nearly 3 times that?Are we missing something?'

Turns out we missed out a lot, but by doing so have created a pack that does exactly what you need it to.

Simplify, then add lightness – Colin Chapman (design guru at Lotus Racing)

Making a product complicated is easy. Add a buckle here, a compartment there, adorn with all sorts of bells and whistles: the world of features is your oyster! As the Alpinists among you know, the challenge is keeping 'stuff' to a minimum. Now that's innovative.

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Ingenious construction

By making the backpack less complicated, we could put more emphasis on the materials, on how we put it together._We make the Oryx pack in our UK factory, which means that:

A) we get to produce a really specialist climbing pack here in Nottingham,

B) you can ask us to customise your pack for you, and

C) throughout the design process we could explore different constructions, tweaking and testing the pack until we got it exactly how we thought you'd want it.

To make Oryx lightweight yet durable, we decided to use VX07 – a lightweight laminated fabric with excellent abrasion-resistance and durability that is slightly more expensive than the other options available.The puzzle: how could we use VX07 without the price of the pack skyrocketing?

What we’ve ended up with is an incredibly hardwearing yet lightweight backpack. It fits in exactly what you need for fast and light alpine ascents and its features are tailored to a day out in the mountains. It’s simple, and therein lies its ingenuity.

Testing

You've got to be sure after all! Unfortunately we couldn't find any athletes prepared to chuck the pack with hundreds of pounds worth of their own climbing equipment off a cliff. Here's some in-house testing instead...

Test 1
10kg in the pack
Lifted 4m and small shocked dropped. Repeated 3 times.
Test 2
25kg in the pack. Lifted 4m and small shocked dropped. Repeated 3 times.
Test 3
33kg in the pack
Lifted 4m and small shocked dropped. Repeated 3 times
Test 4
33kg in the pack_
65kg added for 5-10 seconds. Repeated 3 times

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