Just Enough


How much space do you really need in a pack? The 26-liter capacity of the Wild Things Guide Pack ($175, wildthingsgear.com) definitely raised my eyebrows. It’s minimalist for sure—no external pockets; the waistbelt is nothing but two-inch webbing; and there’s no framesheet, just a removable pad. But it proved to be just enough for all my multi-pitch days, especially as an “up and over” pack for climbs where we didn’t return to the base of the route. The Guide is light and small enough [1 lb. 12 oz.] that after ditching the removable lid, I could fold the pack in half and stuff it in the bottom of an overnight pack, and then use the Guide as a bullet pack on a few alpine climbs. Wild Things didn’t skimp on straps for gear—there are ice tool attachments, compression straps, and two straps over the top opening to secure a rope. I eventually wore a few small holes in the bottom after months of abuse, but the composite five-ply VX-21 fabric held its own as well as that of any other climbing pack. The Guide is the first new consumer pack in a few years from New Hampshire–based Wild Things, which gear Tested Fall Prep has focused mostly on making military gear since 2000. I’d say they hit it spot on. —Brendan Leonard