The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mammut Creon Light 45Lt plus (2746 cu in.)

  Getting my hands on this rucksack has certainly been challenging. I had tried to get hold of one, or at least have a look at one prior to going to New Zealand. Without success.

  In a similar vein, i had also simultaneously tried to get an Osprey Hornet 46 from a European supplier but was told by Osprey Europe that they were not going to sell it in the UK and probably not in Europe. I knew that it was being sold in New Zealand, so i thought i would hang on and look at it when i got to Auckland.

I printed off the Mammut retailers in New Zealand and if we were anywhere near the locations i called in with great hopes.
The main retailer, Mountain Designs, have branches in many places and we were going to pass quite a few of them.

  We landed in Auckland, and map in hand searched out Mountain Designs for the Mammut and Bivouac for the Osprey Hornet 46. Bivouac was a well laid out shop, but as i was to learn very quickly, when you enter the shops in NZ the staff are on to you faster than a Scottish midge on exposed skin.. Very polite, but overpowering to these Brits.
Some of my dry sense of humour was lost in the translation. I will say more later.

  So i found the Hornet 46, and then had to explain to 2 staff why i just wanted to have a look at it. I was so pleased that i never bought it, or had it shipped from the USA. I thought it was poor in lots of respects.
Not suitable for backpacking in my opinion but probably good enough for competition running events where an overnight camp is required.
  Although i called into quite a few Mountain Designs they didn't have it and couldn't tell me who did, strangely enough. But i was offered to have it ordered in for me.
All the same, it did give me chance to have a look at the Mammut Rucksack range and especially the Creon Pro, which is similar but heavier duty.
  It gave me the confidence that if i saw a Creon Light on the internet that i would order it.
And here it is, in my hands at last.
  So lets see what all the fuss has been about.

 First and foremost, the weight.

The weight on the spec. sheet says 1090kg. And as you can see mine weighs 1108kg.
I am not going to grumble about 18 grams over. 18 grams could easily be reduced by altering the lengths of some of the straps if i was desperate enough. Which i am not.

Shell, 70 Denier nylon ripstop. Trim, 100 Denier nylon ripstop, Base  420 denier nylon oxford.

Back Support  
The first thing i noticed was how stiff the back of the sack is. Unlike quite a few light sacks on the market which use sheet material of one kind or another located down the back to give some support.
This sack has a fixed length internal aluminium frame which resembles an 8mm tent pole, and is all around.
Also, there is a small diameter spring steel frame which provides the tension. (It can be just made out in the above photo almost at the top of the oval cutouts.) This acts like suspension and allows  separation between the contents bag and the mesh support. 

Ventilation is huge as the whole back support is mesh. Mammut call it “Fourstream’ which basically just means that air flow is in four directions. Like a cross. ✚. 
But considering the back support is completely mesh, air will be transferred in every direction.
As well as the back, the shoulder straps are also mesh as is the reinforced hip belt.
Shoulder straps and hip belt.
Tough mesh and slightly “S” shaped. The straps have 3 levels of adjustment for differing back lengths, XL, L, M. and allow for a small amount of sideways movement. I liked this idea and rubbing on the neck should be eliminated.
I don’t have a measurement at this time for the differences in back length. A carry handle is included.

With loads of around 12kg and after 3 days of backpacking i found the shoulder straps didn’t support the weight too well. They deformed in the middle which then put pressure on my shoulders. They didn’t spread the load. I had really sore collar bones. I have since modified the straps by adding closed cell foam to the straps (similar to Ospreys) and so far so good. (The straps were correctly located as was the hip belt as per Mammut instructions)

  Adjusting straps are located between the sack and the shoulders to bring the load nearer or sturdier or more air flow if required. Easily reached when wearing.
Adjustable sternum/chest strap and built in whistle in the  side release buckle. Unfortunately the strap is the sliding variety which moves to much as you progress through the day. Why respected companies use this type of sternum strap is beyond me. You need a strap that stays in place. Once I am settled with the position I will probably super glue it.
3 elastic gear attaching points on the RH strap only.
The hip belt is fixed to the frame and gives good transfer of the weight. Although the belt is a reinforced mesh it feels very comfy  but i think i would prefer something a little more padded. Closure is with a std rucksack side closure buckle.

Apart from the main compartment there are 4 extra pockets. One inside the lid and includes a key retaining hook, one external lid pocket and one pocket on the hip belt. Also on the front of the sack is an open top pocket for wet gear, helmet or solo tent etc, this includes mesh sides and a drain hole
Hip belt pocket on LHS

Large front wet gear pocket
Internal lid pocket with key clip
External Lid pocket
The lid “Floats”.  It has large adjustment that will allow the lid to be raised and will increase the load capacity to about 50 litres. And for those who desire an even lighter bag, the lid can be removed completely without damage to any parts.

The “Floating” lid almost removed.
A nice bit of attention to detail are the pull rings on the main compartment draw cords.

On both sides of the sack is a large mesh pocket with a tensioning strap and buckle. This tensioner is dual purpose. It can be used independently or for securing larger gear in conjunction with the strap system located above it and also helps to compress the sack if the load is not full.

Side pockets and gear tensioning system.
Again on both sides is a re-inforced gear loop and retainer that also incorporates a sleeve for the point of your walking poles.
Adjacent to the RH pocket you will find zipped access to the main compartment.

The one section main sack is hydration compatible with a internal sleeve for the bladder and covered exit slot for the tube. 
  For a straight out of the bag summary, i have to say it looks a good buy. I am not sorry i took the gamble and bought unseen. I am pleased with the weight, the colour, the overall design and finish of manufacture. I have loaded it up fully and i am impressed with the load carrying stability. I have never worn one as stable as this is. The internal frame obviously does a good job. 

 There’s nothing much i don’t like about this rucksack except the sternum strap and that it doesn’t come with a rain cover. 
Now i know some people don’t use them, and probably that’s why one hasn’t been supplied. They have left it up to the purchaser if they want to buy one.

This sack was purchased by me from Spike Outdoors and not supplied FOC. It cost £105. It is also available as a 32L sack as well as this 45L.

Similar products. Osprey Atmos, Exos and Talon packs.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a nice pack. Interesting to see if the mesh back system works.

AlanR said...

If it does Robin it will be a first. I have never had a dry back whilst backpacking and i doubt i ever will.
Sweat has to go somewhere.

Wurz said...

To me that looks like a cross between an Exos 46 and a Gregory Z55 both of which I own. In fact the Exos reminds me of the older Gregory but with the external frame which is very similar to this one. Hope it's as good!

AlanR said...

Hi Wurz,
Yes i agree, They probably picked the good points for a number of good sacks during the design process. And good on them for that.

afootinthehills said...

If it's as good as their ropes it'll do the job nicely Alan!

Seriously, your description reminds me a little of the GoLite Quest, although that's bigger. I'll be very interested to hear what you say after some use because it looks like something I'd buy. Thanks.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
I admit that i have never had a GoLite Quest in my hands although i know the Pinnacle and Jam quite well.
The nearest well know sack is the Osprey Atmos as far as my experience goes.
I am certainly looking forward to using it for real because after filling it with some heavy gear it felt superb.

John said...

Wow, thanks so much for the review and all the pictures! I've had my eye on this pack for some time, and as you pointed out, it's hard to find in the states as well! I live in Seattle, WA, USA, and I have been entirely unsuccessful in trying to find this pack locally, hence my question to you: by any chance would you be able to post the torso lengths from the bottom of the frame for the M, L, and XL sizes? I'm usually a medium, but before I order sight-unseen I would at least like to have an idea if the pack will even fit. Thanks so much!

AlanR said...

Hi John,
Thanks for your comment. As far as i can deduce the sizes are M = 18", L = 19" and XL = 20". Mammut sizing can be found here at the bottom of this link.

Hope this helps. It is a good sack.

John said...

Thank you Alan, that is extremely helpful! I have one other question for you: what size do you wear the pack? I'm 6 ft. 200 lbs., but I usually wear medium packs and I'm just trying to figure out if this pack will be too large for me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey there,
Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents about this pack. Bottom Line: I love it. Excellent weight transfer to hips, very comfortable in the 25lb area, which is about the most I carry. As mentioned, there is great attention to detail in the design of this pack, like 1) The drawstring pulls are very well thought-out, 2) the compression straps have buckles, making loading/unloading/compressing the load much easier, 3) the adjustable torso length is quite clever and super easy to use, 4) tool attachments are well designed and easy to use.

I do have a few gripes about this pack, but even with these I would buy another one in a heartbeat. IMO, its main shortcomings are 1) The lower compression straps go outside the side pockets, making it difficult to use the side pockets while hiking, 2) the side pockets are somewhat difficult to reach while wearing the pack (too high up the pack to easily reach back and grab a water bottle), 3) I found the side-access zipper to be unnecessary 4) the padding on the shoulder straps is a little too thin, and caused me some minor soreness on longer, multi-day hikes. I fixed this by attaching my spare socks, folded in half lengthwise, to the straps via hair ties. I cannot overstate how much comfort this adds, for almost zero weight gain. With the sock mod and putting the lower compression straps inside the side pockets, this pack is as close to perfect as I have found for a do-it-all pack. It is the only pack I use anymore.

Happy Trails!

AlanR said...

I wish i knew your name.
Thanks for the comment and i agree with all your comments except number 1 of your gripes. Everything else i am with you 100%. If you strap roll mats,snow shoes, ski;s etc to the sides of the pack then the side pockets don’t play a part. If you use the side pockets for items of wet gear, tentage maybe, water bottles then the lower strap is ideally placed, but then you cannot strap items to the sides very easy.
I too found the shoulder strap padding too thin on long hikes. What i did was purchase a pair of car seatbelt comfort pads which are almost weightless and they work very well. See link below.
I re-adjusted the straps so that the majority of weight was transferred to the hips and all has been ok since.

Erik said...

Thanks for the response, and great idea with the seatbelt pads! Now I don't have to get my spare socks wet when hiking in the rain :) Agreed on putting most of the weight on the hips, which this pack does very well.

My name is Erik, by the way :)

Hope you're still enjoying the pack!

AlanR said...

Thanks Erik. I think this pack is one of the best for medium weight backpacking. Glad you liked the seat belt idea.

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