2014-15 Backcountry Access Stash 40 Pack
This spring I spent most of my time in the hills with the BCA Stash 40. I carry around a lot of gear when I ski lines for writing. This spring was all about just that. I use a Nikon D-7000 for shooting lines and usually have a selection of lenses with me along with all the other gear that I bring out with me. The first aid kit is large and I always have a bivy sack after a very cold unplanned night on Blanca a few years ago. I’m not one of those travel light kind of guys. Summer, especially this season after so much vert, is all about recuperating.
I really like the way this pack carries skis in the a-frame position. When you have Dynafits mounted on your skis the strap position is acts like it is lower on the pack and you can run into calf bang while walking or touring. The straps are high enough on the pack to deal with this issue.
This pack has the space to get the job done. I like how there are two large compartments for gear. The front zone is for the rescue and snow gear. I also put my skins in this pocket. There are multiple pockets for storage of your probe and shovel along with a pocket for the BC Link radio system.
The main compartment is where I store all the stuff I need. I’ve carried cameras with extra lenses, ropes and gear, warm clothes, food and a jetboil, extra glasses and hats, a bivy and first aid kit and other essentials, all on the same trip. There’s that much room in this pack. If you get out there and want to be prepared for anything this is a great pack to take with you. It’s even big enough for light overnights. I never did that with it but I could see getting a compressed sleeping bag, sleeping pad and a super light mountaineering tent in it.
Another area of the pack that I like is the axe carry system. This is a great feature that is super easy to use. The clip system isn’t intuitive at first but after you think about it for a second it makes sense as the most efficient way to strap on an ice axe. It also is great in that it shields the pick. There are few things that hurt like stabbing yourself with your ice axe.
In the beginning of the winter I was skiing the 13-14 version of this pack. There were some things I didn’t like about it. The layout of the top pockets for one and the closure on the helmet carry I thought could be improved. The sternum straps also seemed to have some issues. I never mentioned this to them but they knew and fixed these zones. The top pockets are now better organized. The closure for the helmet cover has been strengthened. The sternum straps on the 14-15 are far superior to the old model.
One thing I would like to see added to the pack are some waist belt carabiner loops. When you have on your harness and are wearing a pack it’s far easier to clip loops on the waist belt than on your harness. The harness tends to get moved around when you load the rope. Having loops on the waist belt would make a lot of sense.
Overall I’m super happy with this pack and look forward to many more days with it out in the hills.