A Guide’s review of the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15
Vest-style packs have become significantly more popular in the last couple of years, and for good reason. They’re light, stay close to the body, and hold the essentials in a balanced position. On days when I want to move fast and don’t need to carry lots, they are a superior choice to a traditional pack. The Mammut Trion Nordwand 15 is just such a backpack, one with a mountaineering heritage but whose design has been influenced by trail running vests. I wore it throughout the Alps this summer and found it excelled at carrying light loads on all trail missions whether they were mountaineering, running, or hiking.
- Bag Material: PFC free DWR coated Cordura Ripstop
- Volume: 15L
- Weight: 420g
- Country of Origin: Vietnam
Who is Mammut?
Mammut has been making outdoor gear since 1862 when company founder, Kaspar Tanner, made climbing ropes in the Swiss town of Dintikon. The company has since grown, remaining family-owned until 1924 and still remains Swiss to date. We at BlackSheep are fans of Mammut, you only need to read one of our previous reviews such as the Spindrift 32L Ski Pack, to know that. We had high hopes for the Mammu Zinal Guide Pant and we weren’t disappointed.
What is the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15?
The Mammut Trion Nordwand Pro is a mountaineering pack meant for fast and light approaches in the mountains. It is designed to carry the essentials when you want to move easily over technical terrain by staying close to the body and not swinging around. It is well suited to that and so much more with well-placed pockets, durable materials, and a great fit.
How does it Fit?
Traditional backpacks adjust with load lifters on the shoulders, waist straps with big buckles, and chest straps. The Mammut Trion Nordwand 15 adjusts quite differently.
Starting at the top, there are no load lifters. A 15L pack typically can’t hold enough weight to warrant them. The shoulder straps start with a wide yolk at the backpack. Pre-curved as they leave the backpack, each strap starts at 2.5 ” wide and gets wider as it moves farther down towards the lower portion. This is great for keeping the pressure evenly spread across your shoulder. The straps, and the back pad too, are made of a cross-hatched perforated thin nylon. The straps and back pad breathe well and have proven to be durable showing no wear after a full season of use.
Instead of the typical slide adjuster at the end of the shoulder straps, there is a shock cord and also webbing that attach to the main body of the bag. The top strap shock cord helps with minor adjustments in tension. The lower strap is webbing with a slider. The webbing helps with larger adjustments and does a bulk of the work transferring the load of the pack to the shoulder straps.
On the inside edge of each shoulder strap is a daisy chain that serves to hold the chest compression chords. This is where the Trion Nordwand 15 really differs from a traditional pack. On each side is an elasticated cord that weaves through the daisy chain terminating at buckles both at the top and the bottom. There is great adjustability thanks to this as there are four adjustment points. It also does a good job of spreading pressure throughout the length of the shoulder straps.
What Can the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15 Carry?
The name says it all, 15L. With its large, roll-top enclosed main section, it can carry 15L of Mammut, so maybe one Mammoth toe? Actually, it can carry 15L of anything. Preferably 15L of gear to help you on the trails, rock, and elsewhere in the mountains.
The 15L main compartment is closed with a roll-top enclosure. Hold the bag closed, roll the top down thrice and clip the buckles together or on the sides. It’s a simple design for packs without a brain and is commonly used on waterproof bags. This has become a very popular system for closing lightweight packs and offers greater flexibility when overstuffing your pack.
Inside the main compartment against the back is a water bladder sleeve with a short strap and buckle to attach a water bladder to. Sitting above the water bladder clip is a small zippered pocket that is good for a wallet and small valuables. There is also a key clip inside.
On both sides of the pack are large waterproof zippers. The right side zipper reveals an inner floating pocket perfectly sized for a map. At the top of this zipper is a zipper garage that houses the port for a water bladder hose. The left side zipper allows quick access into the main compartment of the bag. This is greatly appreciated when the pack is stuffed and you inevitably need something from the bottom.
The Trion Nordwand 15 is DWR-coated and deals with light rains quite well. I did not test it in heavy rain, fortunately. Since this is meant as a mountaineering pack it needs to be able to carry a rope. There is an external strap that runs from mid-pack and hooks at the top of the shoulder strap yoke. It is a long strap and can be removed for adventures that do not require the ability to carry a rope.
At the bottom of the pack are two loops designed for ice axes. These two loops then turn into daisy chains that run nearly to the top of the pack. Two removable velcro closures at the top round out the ice-ax system. The velcro closures can be removed and placed anywhere on the daisy chain to match different length axes. You can attach hiking poles here, too, as the velcro closures are just long enough to reach around a hiking pole handle.
Each shoulder strap has two stretch mesh pockets. One smaller pocket (elasticated opening) whose bottom is overlapped by the lower and much larger pocket. This pocket can easily hold a mobile phone or a 500ml squeeze bottle. This pocket closes with a shock cord and button closer. I have the longer Hydrapak bottle and it just fits. A slightly shorter model would fit perfectly.
How does the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15 carry?
The first thing I notice about the Trion Nordwand 15 is how it stays in place with a 2-liter water bladder. Most of my pack weight is in the form of water and I find running packs typically sag backward with a full bladder. Not so, at least for me, with the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15L.
Once the bag is full and you are moving fast, there is little to no movement on your back at all. The wide shoulder straps do a great job distributing the load.
Part of the comfort of this pack is its adjustability. It can be changed to fit a fairly large range of shapes and sizes. I wore it extensively, and I’m 6’1” and 200 lbs. When I guided larger groups and needed to be able to carry more than 15L my wife wore the pack. She is 5’2”. Never ask a lady’s weight. After two days of using it, she told me there was a problem. The problem was that she didn’t want to give the pack back to me. One of my guests, upon seeing the bag in action, promptly went home and bought one for herself.
This is a great bag. Getting the fit was just a little fiddly at first as there are quite a few options to adjust. Once properly adjusted, or perhaps better said, once you are used to the adjustment system, changes come quickly. In most cases though, your spouse will not be borrowing your gear and changing it around.
I would love it if the shoulder pockets were just a smidge higher and if there was better separation between the two pockets on the shoulder strap to be able to use them to their full potential.
The Pack carries 15L of gear really well and there is no bounce while moving quickly. The DWR does a good job and it is, for such a light color, surprisingly still very clean after a full season of use. Overall I really like wearing the Mammut Trion Nordwand 15, and my wife really loved it! Can I have it back now?
Pros: Great DWR, carries high, great adjustability, comfortable
Cons: The small pocket in the shoulder strap is a little low and when there is something in the large pocket, it is totally blocked.
If you are interested in checking out the Trion Nordwand 15, head on over to Mammut and check it out!
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of the Trion Nordwand 15. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the hat.