I took a pass on the Switch 26 last season because I didn't like how the main compartment was divided in half. Right now I'm into using a one compartment top-loader and organizing my stuff in stuff sacks. I'm probably a minority in that sentiment. But I can never remember what I put where when there are too many zippered compartments. That's probably not great feedback for Osprey since I think they like including those features in the Switch.
But on my wish list for every pack manufacturer is an avalung model. Does your contact at Osprey have any idea if BD will be licensing their avalung technology? It would be cool to get a better selection of avalung packs.
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:48 pm Posts: 214 Location: N. Vancouver <=> Santa Cruz
I have the Switch 26, but don't have the current model, I think mine is around 2 years old, but I think my comments would apply to the line in general.
It appears the current model has dropped the feature from which it got it's name, the removable mini aqua source pack. If it is indeed gone, that is the best change they could have made for that pack. I found that feature over engineered, bulky and completely useless. I've yet to run across a scenario where I would be out on a trip and suddenly have the need to have only bladder hanging on my back.
Like SF, would love to see an integrated avalung.
I think the general design of the pack is awesome. I love the compression straps, you can use them to quickly cinch down and carry any random piece of gear when you're in a hurry, I doubt I'll ever buy a pack in the future that doesn't have this feature. And the multiple ski/board carry options are really handy.... now if they could just figure out how to make it do a horizontal carry
Unfortunately I don't have an Osprey Switch. It is, quite possibly, the biggest advance on organized packing for backcountry snowboarding. The features are perfectly placed and well thought out. I'll continue to obsess over these packs until they are on SAC and I can afford one.
i have a switch 36, size Large that i may be selling. i used it exactly 4 times last year...and it's as good as new. but, i think i would be better off with a medium. i got some bad fitting advice at the gear shop i went to last year...
went with a Large..and felt like it was just too big on my back..and the adjustment straps (shoulder, chest, waist, etc) were pretty close to maxed out.
anyway. i'm new to the backcountry..but, this pack was great last year.
i'm going to head to a gear shop (different one) and get sized again. if, i think a medium is better...i'll probably buy a new one...and sale my Large.
it's coffee grind color, btw. not sure what i'd ask for it. i realize i'll lose out (since it's still as good as new)...but, at the same time, i realize it is 'used'.
i'll give an update..and maybe post a FS post in the trader forum if i'm going to sale it.
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm Posts: 293 Location: Northern CA
I'm saving all my feedback for Deuter... Osprey's number one competitor! He, he, he
I think the Osprey Switch packs are pretty nice, but I have seen some short comings on their attention to detail. I'm pretty picky and find every pack brand has shortcomings here and there... no one brand is perfect. I've seen many packs that have a smart suspension and harness or well thought-out features and even ideal placement of those features, but rarely all together.
My only feedback is to make their helmet pocket able to actually fit a helmet and store/protect goggles at the same time. Also add some kind of compression system (maybe internally) that holds the board/skis solid when the pack is nearly empty... i.e SF's mod on the Exposure pack. And for you Chris... add an iPod Specific pocket with w/p buttons built onto the shoulder straps.
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm Posts: 293 Location: Northern CA
Btw... the statements regarding the BD Avalung:
I've heard some strong evidence against having the AL integrated into the backpack. The evidence that held the most "water" if you will was the fact that a backpack is HIGHLY prone to being ripped from your body during an avalanche. Good proof of this is the reason why you should NEVER put you beacon in your backpack. Currently no buckle mfg makes a snap buckle that can withstand the turbulance and energy of an avalanche. The sling version of the AL allows for a snugger and more secure fit that's WAY less likely to be ripped off in an avalanche... largely due to the fact it is slinged accross your body.
Some schools of thought believe that removing your backpack when involved in a slide will further your chances of not being anchored down or snaged on debris during the slide and thus increase your chances of survival... in addition it makes it a lot easier to "swim" in a slide without all your gear still attached.
Other schools of thought believe that the more surface area you can produce the better your chances of staying on top of a slide. Keeping your backpack on is the best way to increase your surface area, so they say leave it on. There's even a backpack available that can expand two large air-bags that keep you on the surface of a slide and help prevent you from being buried. http://www.rockymountainxtreme.com/abshowitworks.htm
What ever school of thought you subscribe to, from the given evidence, I personally feel that having the backpack of your choice combined with the sling version of the AL is the safest and most secure way to ride when it could slide.
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:25 am Posts: 82 Location: Gunnison, CO
Hmm...I've thought about this pretty extensively, especially when I was deciding whether or not to buy a BD pack with the avalung integrated. I agree with your point.
BUT, have you used the sling avalung? If you generate a ton of heat when hiking and are constantly adding/removing layers to regulate your temp, like I do, the sling avalung becomes a pain in the ass. As you know, it has to be worn on the outside of your clothing.
At a point, one might make the decision to leave it in the car. "I don't need it for these yoyo laps and it's a pain in my ass anyway." Then it won't do you any good. If it's part of your pack, though, it's coming 100% of the time and isn't another thing you have to take off when you ditch or don your shell.
Valid points for and against pack integration. I'm with the crowd that would like to see avalungs in other manufacturer's packs. For the record, though, I think BD's are pretty sweet.
_________________ Someday the mountain might get 'im but the law never will.
I put up with the sling and have learned to love it, I wouldn't want it in the pack
I've used the Switch 36 a lot, it's by far my favorite day pack ever, I love it so much
I have to think back to things I would have liked, most of them are minimal, but one thing I really would like is an air panel, exactly like on the Stratos 40 except it could be less cavernous (the cavern is perfect for the Stratos 40, but a ski touring aircore pack could probably do with less air volme)... I hope there are enough people who would like that to justify an aircore version! it could be a switch 36 with added aircore, but no added interior volume, so it ends up being the same size as a 36 except with like, 28L of useable packing space or whatever, that would be sweet
also I wish there was a 40-50 litreish pack that could cary a switch 36 on its back... so you could stuff a week's worth of shit and camping gear in it, and carry your daypack behind it stuffed with normal daypack stuff
and then once you're done carrying that semi-awkward load to a remote location, you drop the 40-50L and set up tent and to day trips for a week, or even set up camp and do 2 days of riding around there, then mobilize to a new location, and reset up camp... you could just go up into the mountains for a week or more and have your trusty daypack with you to shred everything! like a traverse, but with good snowboarding!
I might eventually pick up that 26L for daytrips... and use the 36 for bigger days or overnights with the tent strapped on the back
Transform and roll out team
do other people who use the switch pack their poles in the compression straps, one on either side facing up, for the descent? I don't think it was designed for this, but the poles somehow fit so snugly and perfectly right on either side, I've never had them fall out (also maybe because I have my shovel blade right under all that on the inside, and I use that massive ortovox one haha)
Transform and roll out team
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 3:11 pm Posts: 78 Location: Jackson Hole, WY
currently i do not own one of these packs, but have considered the purchase for quite a while now, and have spend plenty of time futzing with the pack in the store. i'm still in the process of picking my pack, but heres what i think from what i have seen sofar:
1. backpanel access is key. i wish all the switch packs had this, currently only the 26 does. the 36 should definatly have it, cause the side access sucks. nothing beats being able to flip the lid and grab something quick without having to unload all your gear to get to that balaclava buried in your pack. i passed on the 36 because of this (a literal deal killer) and otherwise i thought the pack was perfect for what i wanted.
2. kill the flip top lid. i don't like the flip top lid of the 26, seems kinda pointless, i also don't like how the two compartments (wet/dry) are completely separated. i think the lid should be a zipper lid like the 36 with access to both pockets from the top, but still keeping wet/dry capability.
3. that stretch woven mesh like bs on the helmet lid has got to go. its flimsy, it doesn't look weather proof, and i think it is THE weak point materials wise on this pack. there are plenty of stretchy, waterproof fabrics out there that could replace this, and be way more durable and weatherproof. otherwise the helmet pocket is a great idea (although this particulaur configuartion is kinda useless with a board strapped to the back).
4. the bottom straps on the side of the pack for a framing should be compression straps. they would serve the same function, but would probably be better for a framaing cause you could tighten the strap to your ski. it also gives you another place to lash something on to your pack (poles/ice ax) and it compresses the load. 3 in one...yeehaw! mabye you could make the bottom strap similar to the arcteryx/north face system where its all one strap that compresses the board, and the pack...also snugging up the side area.
5. how about one more small pocket for small miscellanios stuff that you don't want to put in a hipbelt or helmet pocket (keys, wallet, cell phone, etc). i like to keep all this stuff kinda together, and its nice to have a dedicated pocket. putting it on the body of the pack so that its easily accessable from the outside would be sweet, but probably not neccessary since you do have hipbelt pockets for the stuff that you do want access to. mabye you could put it on the underside of the lid, underneath and separate from the helmet pocket.
6. gear loops on the hip belt. i do a fair bit of mountaineering/ski mountaineering, so this is something i would like very much. it could be as simple as 2 small loops on the bottom of each side of the hipbelt that you could run a piece of 5 mm accessory between.
7. what happened to the burly materials? i love the burly 400 denier of the old made in usa osprey packs. i would love to see a return to burly nylon on the outside. sure its a little heavier, but i'll take it knowing that my pack will laugh at the thought of ripping due to a tree snag or something.
8. how about like a small 2 loop daisy chain right where the switch logo is now. it would be nice to have one more lashing point of attachment.
9. kill the idea of every pack being designed differant with way differant features. I like the backpanel access of the 26, but i think it may be a bit too small for what i want space wise. that said the 36 is perfect size and i love the zip top lid, but no back panel acess...thats a deal killer for me cause the side zip sucks.
anyhow, those are my gripes. and while that list may seem like its complaining, don't worry i'm not. if i went thru most other ski packs on the market the list would be way way longer. i will say that the design of the osprey packs is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else out there. i'm sick of going thru clamshell pack after clamshell pack and seeing bad designs without and thought of gear organization in mind. this is what i have now and it sucks. i hate having a yardsale of gear every time i need acess to something in my pack. that said, i think the hipbelt pockets are awesome (a must have) and i love the size. the backpanel access is awesome and should go in every pack. insulated hydration sleeve is great and i like the bladder placement in the middle of the pack where its well insulated. the avy gear pocket with quick acess from the top is great, with quick deployment. these packs are well designed, porbably the best out there. i think with a few small revisions these would be a no brainer as best ski pack on the market. just my $.02. And umm...if you need a beta tester to uhhh..destroy stuff, PM me, i'm out 100 days a year and i love to putting stuff thru the rigors.
_________________ the quiver: 164 Never Summer Prospector w/ Spark Blazes and LT pins 164 Never Summer Raptor with Burton Diodes 164 Never Summer Titan with Burton C60's 164 Burton Custom X 163 Never Summer T5 (Frankenboard...its ALIVE!)
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am Posts: 1173 Location: Denver
I have an older Eclipse 26 that I used for BC riding the last few years. It has the removable aqua pack. I too think it is too bulky for its purpose. I could see the advantage of this on a multi day backpack, but not really on a day pack. I bought a small camelback pack that I now use for summer day hikes and climbs, its much lighter while still holding about the same volume of water and gear as the Eclipse.
For my new pack this season, I decided to go with Rome's Insugent pack (with a coupon code on backcountry.com )
1) It appears that they copied Osprey's system with the "power panels" (which is a great system). But they added burly pvc coated nylon, which will take more abuse from snowboard edges.
2) 3000 cu inches, but still holds the board well when the pack isnt full.
3) 3 way access from top, bottom and back panel, so removing the board is not necessary to get to the goods.
4) "Pole harness" which allows for easy carry with tips down.
5) Horizontal carry system on the back panel. This is key for certain instances where hiking downhill is required ( ie: steep slope with no snow to ride, your board doesnt hit the ground or your feet. ) Also key for snowmobile riding.
Love to support Osprey, but I liked this packs features better over all. That being said, I wish Osprey kept all production in the US, they were one of the few.
I havent actually taken this pack out yet, I'll write a mini review when I do.....
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:39 pm Posts: 339 Location: Ft. Collins, CO
I've been using the switch 36 for the past two seasons. Whats impressed me most is its toughness. The thing has been scraped hard/and hung up on some nasty trees up on Cameron. We got some pretty tight ones in spots. One day i caught a tree branch pretty hard,it ripped a big size hole in my Koven jacket but just ended up scratching my pack. I've brushed it on trees several times and still no holes. I've also been using it on my NSR trips. Its pretty much my carry-on. I've thrown it on the floor of planes and trains and overhead compartments,trunks and such. Even had buckles stuck in the tailgate hatches and no breaking.Wore it all over Europe-so its quite comfortable. One thing i would LOVE on it would be the air panel. My brother has the Stratos and it looks super breathy. I'm really not into a shitload of pockets. It seems to have plenty for me. Stuff all my spare split parts into one+sweat rag,and all my snacks into the other. Oh and the "safety supplies." I break down my poles(BD expeditions) and stuff them inside,they fit perfectly. I hate shit hanging off my pack. Also,i'm not into drinking from tubes so i just use water bottles most of the time. But i do like the sleeve for it to slide in(when i do use it.) I'm also a fan of the divided compartments. I usually just snap the "tools" compartment tight so that its out of the way and i have access to drinks and the big compartment. I dig the tool organizers too. For the beacon,probe and shovel. I use the small BD deploy shovel and it fits in that back compartment perfectly. Its a pretty good day tripper pack. Not nearly enough cargo room for overnighters though,but i guess its not really designed for that.