Bask Light 69 Pack Review

This lightweight mountaineering pack from Russia provides large volume, simplicity, and durability.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

The Bask Light 69 carries well, wears well, has good capacity for a lengthy walk, and a nice clean design for mountain use.

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by Roger Caffin |

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 1
The Light 69 pack, photo by Bask

Preamble

This pack was sent to me from Russia at the instigation of a BPL member. The review of it has been sadly delayed by a system crash that wiped all my disks. Some recovery was eventually possible, six months later.

Introduction

Bask is a Russian company and has a very high reputation for its sleeping bags. So, I was happy to field test their Light 69 pack when it was offered. This is a single compartment mountaineering pack, and the design shows it. The exterior has a very clean design, but with adequate anchorages for ice axes and rope. Yes, it does have small side pockets at the bottom for catching the bottom end of poles, etc.

Brief Description

This is a single compartment pack of traditional design: straight sides, side compression straps, a short throat, conventional lid with single pocket, and webbing attachment points running up two sides. It is quoted at 69 L capacity, and mine weighed 1.18 kg. The lid pocket is quite large.

Field Testing

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 2
First, I took the pack on a local day trip, just to make sure it was comfortable. The load was lumpy but not heavy.

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 3
Next, I took the pack on a 5-day, rather fast trip in the Australia Alps to climb the Big Dargal.

The photo to the left shows Mt Jagungal and the pack in front. It was a bit cold and misty: I had a windshirt on over my normal shirt. The photo on the right shows morning tea on the second last day, in gorgeous sun. The pack is on the right, opened up so I could get the stove out. A bit of gear spread around - it was, after all, fine weather.

We woke up the next day on top of the Great Dividing Range to find a foot of snow on the ground. Fortunately, we didn't have too far to go as we were both wearing light joggers for this trip. But that sort of turn-around is quite common in our mountains.

I was quite pleased with how the pack performed on this trip. I probably had about 12 kg in it all told, and it rode well with no sway and no pressure points.

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 4
Via Alpina route in Europe for 2 months.

I was sufficiently happy with the pack at this stage that I took it to Europe to walk the Red Route of the Via Alpina for two months. I would normally take my external H-frame pack for such a trip, but handing the very light H-frame over to the airport baggage handlers for an international flight has always worried me. So, I went with this pack instead.

I started with 14 kg total in the pack. That is probably just a bit high for the design, although it was quite manageable. If the majority of weight were food, it would soon sort itself out. I reduced the load to about 11.5 kg halfway through the trip by posting some gear that we were not using back home. That did seem to make a lot of difference in comfort.

In the composite here we have, from top left clockwise:

  • A via ferrata route above Wolayerseehutte, Austria (note the cable) - Sue wouldn't let me climb too far though.
  • Early morning above Obstanseehutte, Austria - it was a lovely day.
  • Sue climbing up to MeilarHutte in limestone country - 3,000 metres of up and down that day ending up on a tiny col barely wide enough for the hut. For some reason Sue was not interested in taking a photo of me and the pack just here.
  • Finally, lunch on Feldernj÷chl pass at 2,045 m near Zugspitz, Germany's highest mountain, looking at Gatterl Pass in the middle of the photo. That is a tiny gate on that narrow spur between Germany and Austria.

Okay, some spectacular photos (in some spectacular country), but the pack performed very well for the whole trip.

Technical Details

The body fabric is a light but quite strong proofed nylon, easily as good as anything available elsewhere in the world. The base fabric is strong, although a slightly tighter weave would be nice if that was possible, as I could see spots of light through the weave. However, many tough pack fabrics are like that. The buckles are by National Molding, one of the two major USA brands (ie not Chinese). The nylon webbing is, well, standard stuff.

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 7

It has a couple of interesting features, as well. The lid can float if you wish. There are two webbing straps by the shoulder to adjust its position, or to detach it. Normally when this feature is offered (and I don't like detaching lids) you end up with a gap between the lid and the pack above the shoulders which lets rain in. Well, in this pack they have added a storm shield to handle that. It is the rectangle of fabric marked with a blue cross. It works very well except that the fabric used has a sad tendency to lose the coating after a lot of heavy use. The 'white' areas show where that is starting to happen. The throat fabric is similar. A better fabric for the two would be nice, but remember that I gave this pack a lot of use.

If you remove the lid, you can still use this flap as a sort of lid. The two buckles marked by green lines can be secured to the conventional straps on the outer face of the pack to cover the throat. I haven't used this feature myself.

There are no straps over the throat under the lid. As I often carry a tent on top of the throat and under the lid, this concerned me a bit. So, I added two straps as marked in red. They proved to be essential in the field for me.

Between these two added straps, you can see a little loop of yellow cord. There are a few of these scattered around the pack. You can use them as anchors for extra cords to attach gear if needed. They are quite strong but very unobtrusive. I thought they were clever.

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 6
Lunch near Falken Hutte

The throat is made of a medium-weight fabric - no silnylon here. It was adequate. I would have preferred it to be slightly longer, but never had a problem as the lid covered the throat very well. In the photo here, the throat is open and only partly covered by the lid, and the sides of the lid are tucked up inside. When walking there is a complete seal.

The buckle at the waist did tend to slide very slowly: I would have to readjust it every couple of hours. To add some friction I added a bit of soft webbing to the main webbing and doubled the excess webbing back through the buckle. That worked. The problem lies with the design of the buckle: some have a more aggressive bite on the webbing than others.

There is a single pocket in the lid. I added a small security pocket inside the lid pocket to hold money and passport. Some packs have a security pocket under the lid, which is a very good idea.

The D-rings on the shoulder straps worked very well as anchor points for my camera case. The sternum strap is not long, but it was adequate.

Bask Light 69 Pack Review - 5
The internal frame sheet.

This is an internal frame pack. The frame consists of a sheet of stiff plastic foam tucked into a sleeve on the back panel, as shown here sticking out a bit. This foam is light but served well to add strength and shape and protect my back from hard lumps. It had an unfortunate curl about the horizontal axis in it, which made the pack curl up a bit when empty. Perhaps if they had oriented the roll of plastic foam the other way when cutting the sheet out it might have been beneficial. Once I got some gear into the pack, this ceased to matter. Even after the two months of continuous walking in Europe, the foam showed no particular signs of wear, just a faint curl in the corners.

The back has two padded strips down the full height: they sit on either side of your spine. That seemed to work fine, although it did get a little warm in very sunny weather. But, in the mountains, sunny weather is unreliable!

Summary

Bask makes good packs. This one gave me no trouble at all. I liked it. This might sound like 'faint praise', but praise it is, and I don't give praise easily. It handled our 2-month European walk just fine.

Specifications
Outer fabric 210D DuPont Cordura 2000 PU coated
Reinforcing 1000D DuPont Cordura
Frame high-density 3 mm foam sheet
Volume (quoted) 69 Litres
Weight (measured) 1.18 kg
Hipbelt and sternum strap adjustable
Lid pocket large
External pockets none (good)
Security pocket no
Side compression straps 2 each side
Attachment points two vertical webbing chains on back
Ice axe attachments 2
Buckles and fitting: Duraflex
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge and is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.


Citation

"Bask Light 69 Pack Review," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bask_light_69_pack_review.html, 2012-05-22 00:00:00-06.

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Bask Light 69 Pack Review
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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Bask Light 69 Pack Review on 05/22/2012 19:12:23 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Bask Light 69 Pack Review

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
bask light on 05/23/2012 03:57:56 MDT Print View

Awesome! Roger, thank you for the review.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Bask Light 69 Pack Review on 05/23/2012 06:21:46 MDT Print View

No pictures of the shoulder straps and backside?

Going to tell people how to get one?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Frame sheet ONLY? on 05/23/2012 12:47:27 MDT Print View

Hmmm... a pack that size needs vertical stays of some type. I've never had a framesheet-only pack that could properly transfer weight to a hip belt once the load went over 10 kg. Which is why I installed 1" flat aluminum stays (that I precurved) into a 5 liter Camelbak pack.

Thanks for the review Roger. Seems like a decently made pack that held up to many kilometers of hiking. I notice the hipbelt is "split" where it wraps around the iliac crest of the pelvis. I have always liked that design for its comfort. I first saw it on a British pack.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
backside on 05/23/2012 12:51:23 MDT Print View

back

As for ordering - there is some Canada distributor on the contacts page of BASKcompany website - http://baskcompany.ru/info/contacty/ May be they can help.

Yaroslav Istomin
(Yaroslav) - MLife

Locale: Moscow/Murmansk, Russia
Bask light? ) on 05/23/2012 14:49:22 MDT Print View

Bask is not a lightweight company. It is strange to see it at this site. Rather, russian lightpackers get a things like that pack when they can`t buy something else in US or Europe. We have the only beautiful, modern and big outdoor manufacturer - Sivera (well, maybe another is RedFox - second place). And Bask is just a company with an ordinary and a hard product line. Regards from Moscow ,)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: backside on 05/23/2012 17:25:56 MDT Print View

Hi Roman

Thanks for the photo and the URL.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 05/23/2012 17:26:11 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Frame sheet ONLY? on 05/23/2012 17:33:46 MDT Print View

Hi Eric

I agree with you that stays seem to be needed in many cases. That's why I tried this pack out rather cautiously at first: to see how it went with a good load but no stays.

Technically, it seems to me that what matters is not the stays themselves, but the rigidity of the pack when filled up. Does the shape slump? This was well covered by Ryan J in his two articles on the structure and load carrying of frameless packs:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00179.html
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00194.html

The first trip, in the Australian Alps, suggested that the pack was stiff enough with just the foam frame sheet and no stays. The European trip confirmed this for me, at least up to about 12 kg load.

Yes, the split hipbelt worked fine.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Bask light? ) on 05/23/2012 18:00:15 MDT Print View

Hi Yaroslav

Well, Bask contacted me, and their web site has an English version.
I had not heard of Sivera until now, and their web site is only in Russian.
Red Fox - interesting, but they also sell a lot of other brands? Some English pages.

We would love to hear more about Russian gear companies.

Cheers

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: Bask light? ) on 05/23/2012 22:46:57 MDT Print View

Sivera has some very interesting and top quality products in their line (i have pointed to pair of them on BPL already). But it is very small company (say almost semi-cottage) and sometimes it is hard to buy what you want even here in Russia. And they don't want to sell abroad (at least today).
Red Fox has a couple of interesting products for adventure racing and may be for alpine climbing (as i can see from lightweight perspective).
As for this BASK pack - there is no pack of such volume to match its price/quality relationship‎ here in Russia.

Edited by joarr on 05/23/2012 22:50:22 MDT.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bask Light 69 Pack Review on 05/23/2012 22:56:11 MDT Print View

Roger, thanks for the review- I really enjoyed the pictures (is Sue still sporting the MacPac?)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Bask Light 69 Pack Review on 05/24/2012 00:38:53 MDT Print View

Hi Tad

> is Sue still sporting the MacPac?
Sigh. Yes. One day, maybe.

What it lacks in the light-weight class, it makes up for in the comfort class. Sue still has not found a pack which is as comfortable for her.
Note for all: most packs are designed by males for males, but the female shape is DIFFERENT. (OK, long live the difference!)

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Bask light? ) on 05/24/2012 00:41:59 MDT Print View

Hi Roman

I spent some time looking at the web sites for all three. Strange: I could not find any stoves or any cooking gear listed. Almost everything else, but neither stoves nor pots.
Where do you buy stoves and pots in Russia?

Cheers

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: Re: Re: Bask light? ) on 05/24/2012 02:15:11 MDT Print View

We buy stoves in local stores or through the Internet. But they all are from foreign manufacturers, we have no russian stove makers, except for big wood stoves - for backpacking in large groups.
As for cooking pots - there are some from russian brands (for example this), but i think they all are from China catalogues. Once again-except for big pots - for backpacking in large groups :)

Edited by joarr on 05/24/2012 02:25:12 MDT.

Andy Jarman
(AndyJarman) - M

Locale: Edge of the World
Photos of Rogers walks on 05/28/2012 02:11:11 MDT Print View

Guys, I'm trying to work less scenery please.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Photos of Rogers walks on 05/28/2012 04:07:31 MDT Print View

> Guys, I'm trying to work less scenery please.
Gee - I'm just trying to help you reset your priorities upwards...

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bask light? ) on 05/28/2012 16:58:42 MDT Print View

Hi Roman

Don't feel too bad about that - there are NO American stove manufacturers either (apart from alcohol stoves from cottage companies). And no American pot mfrs either. Yep, they are all made in Asia.

I could be wrong about aluminium pots, but I don't think so. I am not counting beer cans - I don't know where they are made. :-)

Cheers