An in-depth review of the new Gregory Alpinisto 38 LT
This new addition to Gregory’s popular line of Alpinisto alpine climbing packs isn’t just a lighter version of the Alpinisto 35 so much as a redesign. With different fabrics, panels, features and pack volume the new Alpinisto 38 LT has a very different feel though there are still a lot of similarities between the two. The result of all these changes is of course a lighter pack. However, it’s also has a much sleeker, simpler design that works very well for alpine climbing. A bit of a step in a new direction for Gregory who are known for well featured and durable packs that carry very well, but not necessarily for trimmed down, fast-and-light type packs. The new Alpinisto LT is definitely a step towards fast-and-light.
- Volume (M/L): 40L
- Type: Top Loader
- Access: Top
- Color: Orange (demo version green)
- Weight (M/L): 1050g (750g w. lid, frame and waist belt pads removed)
- Main Body Material: 100D & 210D High Density Nylon
- Fusion-Lite suspension w. HDPE framesheet (removable)
- Floating hip pockets (removable)
- Hydration sleeve
- Bungee attachment for crampons, etc.
- Occipital cut-out on lid
- Dual ice tool carry
- A-Frame ski carry loops
- Dual side compression straps
- Top lid w. 2 pockets (removable)
- Zippered interior pocket
- Rope strap
Given that the Alpinisto 38 LT is an alpine climbing pack I was a little surprised that they kept the a-frame ski carry strap but didn’t add a helmet attachment system. Needless to say, I bring a helmet with me when I go climbing! The designers likely expect people to load the helmet inside the pack, however that’s just a recipe to break a modern light-weight helmet.
The slimmed down LT version of the Alpinisto pack is limited to the standard top access via a single drawstring closure. Like most packs of this design this closure is covered with a top lid. The regular Alpinisto 35 featured an additional side access that I’ve come to really appreciate as it makes it easy to get to the bottom of the pack without pulling everything out.
Pockets, Storage & Attachments:
The Alpinisto 38 LT has a variety of pockets, pouches and other gear attachment points. Each are detailed below:
Top-Lid: The Alpinisto has a top-lid with a spacious zippered top pocket. Featuring dual zipper pulls this pocket can be accessed from either side. The underside of the lid features a smaller zippered pocket with a key clip. Ideal storage for smaller items that you want protected from the weather. The top lid is closed using a single indestructible metal clip.
Interior: The top of the pack sports a small zippered pocket that’s ideal for small gear that doesn’t need to be accessed very often, something like a headlamp. It also comes in really handy for organizing small items when the top lid is stripped off. Lastly, there’s a hydration sleeve. The inside is otherwise uncluttered.
Main Body: The exterior of the pack features dual bungee, through-the-head style ice/mountaineering axe attachment points with a nice pick sleeve. Simple but well thought out and functional. I especially like the pick sleeves as they keep the picks from snagging, especially in my truck. There’s also a lattice of bungee cord down the center of the pack that works great for storing crampons, an improvement over the pouch option used on the Alpinisto 35.
Hip Belt: Basically a simple 1.5” nylon strap with two removable pads that feature gear loops. These pads work quite well and, while they cannot be moved much, were very well located for me. The hip-belt itself can be adjusted where it connects with the pack as well as on the front buckle. This system felt needlessly complex, a simple adjustment at the pack attachment point would have sufficed I would think. That being said it works fine, just set the pack connection first and then use the front to do small adjustments.
Fit & Feel:
The Alpinisto 38 LT is very comfortable to wear so long as it’s not overloaded. The lighter Fusion-Lite suspension system utilizes an HDPE framesheet with a lateral reinforcement bar but no aluminum tubing frame like the Alpinisto 35. Functionally I found that this change made the pack better to wear when climbing as it was able to flex a bit more with my movements. The reduced weight capacity didn’t end up being a big deal for me but would be a consideration for backpacking trips.
The dual adjustable shoulder straps and a nicely padded hip belt allow the Alpinisto 38 LT to carry very well on the trail. The soft scaled foam back-panel allows can be a bit warm on hot days but doesn’t seem to absorb any water or allow snow to stick.
I’ve put the new Alpinisto LT pack through its paces over both a summer and a winter season and it’s stood up extremely well to punishment. Not all that surprising though as Gregory was quite strategic with the construction. Heavier fabrics were used in high wear zones such as the bottom on the pack. Other areas are lightly padded to avoid having bulges or protrusions that rub against rock, etc. resulting in high-wear points. This padded zone also serves to protect the contents from crampon points and so on. To top it off, the pack exhibits impeccable workmanship making me believe that it will last a very long time for what is a fairly light pack.
One of the more unique features of the Alpinisto line of packs is the top lid design. Gregory has added what they call the “Occipital cut-out”, basically a low-profile area on the lid, to allow climbers to look up without their helmet hitting the lid of the pack, even when it’s fully loaded. A simple solution to a frustrating problem.
Pros: Comfortable, functional, great workmanship, great ice tool carry.
Cons: No helmet carry system or side access zipper.
Overall: Lightweight and comfortable it’s a great pack for both summer and winter climbing, mountaineering and scrambling. Definitely worth considering if you’re in the market. However, despite having and A-frame ski carry option it’s not a ski pack so if that’s what you’re looking for I’d look more towards a more ski/snowboarding specific pack like the Gregory Targhee, Osprey Kamber or Patagonia Descentionist. If you plan to carry heavier loads then you might want to consider the Alpinisto 35 instead as the frame is more rigid.
Note: We were supplied with a sample for testing but of course this didn’t influence our review in any way.