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Blue Ice Octopus 45L Review

blue ice octopus 45L
Overall
4.3
  • Back breathability
    (3)
  • Comfort
    (4.5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Stability
    (4.5)
  • Weight
    (4.5)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

A backpack designed for climbing at crags, with a minimalist design and full of clever solutions that are highly appreciated in use in the field. The capacity is just right for handling all the materials needed for a day’s climbing, including the rope. Given its robustness, it is also interesting as a travel backpack.

Pros

  • Lightness
  • Robustness
  • Roomy, well-positioned pockets
  • Versatility
  • Rope cover included

Cons

  • Unstructured back
  • Breathability on the back

With the Octopus 45L, Blue Ice offers a product specifically for those who habitually climb at crags. Its typical ‘crag climber’ shape and ease of use make it a backpack that can be used without too many worries. After all, these backpacks are made to be abused!

Praise to the fact that it is made from 90% recycled materials, with great regard for sustainability.

testing the blue ice backpack at the ccrag

Technical features of the Blue Ice Octopus 45L

  • Materials: 600d recycled polyester + TPU, all fabrics are Bluesign approved, PFC-free and recycled materials
  • Volume: 45 L
  • Dimensions: 70 X 30 X 26 CM
  • Weight: 1,100 g
  • Essential design
  • Designed for heavy loads
  • Equipped with rope cover
  • Manufacturer link
the backpack at the crag

Test mode

My partners and I tested the Blue Ice Octopus 45L on days dedicated to crag climbing, with short approaches of between 15 and 45 minutes, in variable or sunny weather conditions. Wall base on dirt or boulders.

The backsack was filled with the classic equipment such as: rope, shoes, harness, clack, helmet, 14 quickdraws, carabiners and belay device, webbing, 1 litre of water, jacket, sweater and cap, spare T-shirt, bag with various food items, climbing guide, personal accessories.

the backpack opened

Blue Ice Octopus 45L on-site test

Overall impressions

I found the Blue Ice Octopus 45L to be an excellent product. It immediately conveys a very pleasant feeling of solidity and robustness, while being very light (1.1 kg). The capacity is excellent and with its 45 litres there is room for the normal sport climbing gear as well as some additional clothing, food, water and various accessories such as a climbing guide.

The decision to adopt a minimalist style is a good one: a few pockets, capacious and well placed. During the approach it performs well, provided it is loaded correctly with the heaviest material at the bottom and gradually the lighter stuff at the top. Otherwise, the back tends to deform and the shoulder straps tend to get annoying.

testing the blue ice octopus

Although the company recommends it for long approaches, I feel that the backpack does not have a suitable structure for this use. When you go over an hour’s approach, your shoulders and lower back begin to suffer.

Materials

This backpack is largely made of 600d recycled polyester + TPU, a type of fabric that is abrasion-resistant and covered with a membrane (TPU) that makes the product waterproof.

At the front, on the other hand, we find a large ‘panel’ made of a rubberized surface, designed to be totally waterproof and resistant since the backpack will be resting on the ground during sporting activity. Overall, the body of the backpack is a little padded (the manufacturer does not declare the materials), giving it shape-holding characteristics even when fully open, which is a positive aspect.

Back opening and handles

As is often the case with backpacks of this type, the concept is that when we are at the crag, the backpack must become an open container, with the necessities at hand, and we must have the ability to move it quickly as if it were a “bag.”

the backpack fully opened

The Octopus 45 L is perfect for this, with a full zip at the back and handy handles for carrying. The zip is not very smooth, especially when the backpack is full, but it is very strong.

the zipper

The handles, on the other hand, can also be used to attach carabiners and quickdraws so that they are within easy reach without having to “rummage” through your backpack.

the handy handles
The practical handles for moving the backpack

Backrest and shoulder straps

Both made of good-textured terry cloth, they are quite comfortable, but the backrest does not have a rigid reinforcing structure, so the backpack will deform during transport if the loads inside are not well distributed (heavy items on the bottom and lighter stuff as you go). This aspect is definitely important for a stress-free approach to your back, so be sure to keep an eye on it when you fill it up before setting off.

the backrest

In addition, the breathability of the materials in contact with the body is not noteworthy, but it has to be said that this aspect may go by the wayside given the type of backpack and the all-too-small approaches.

approaching to the crag

Storage compartments and pockets

Storage compartments and pockets

As you may have noticed, the back opens fully and inside is a capacious mesh pocket designed to store climbing shoes. I had my doubts about this, as I thought the booties would be discomforting to the back once the backpack was on, and instead they are not felt at all.

the inner meshed pocket for shoes
The meshed pocket design for the climbing shoes

On one side is a capacious zippered storage pocket, specifically for holding a crag guide and other accessories, so they can be retrieved even without removing the backpack.

On the other side of the backpack is the classic stretch fabric pocket to hold the water bottle, which is very practical and also definitely roomy.

the water bottle pocket

At the top is a large storage pocket, padded like the rest of the main body of the backpack (I wonder if it could turn into a cooler…) with a hook inside to attach keys, an essential accessory.

the key hook
The key hook

Other accessories and special features of the Blue Ice Octopus

To make sure we don’t miss anything, this backpack is equipped with a number of very useful and compact accessories. For example, the top handle to lift the backpack. Sturdy and well placed.

the top handle

The webbing with hook to stop the rope in case you want to carry it externally.

With this set-up, however, I have found a loss of backrest strength due to the heavy weight of the rope. The backpack tends to fold in on itself, and after a short time the shoulder straps and backrest become uncomfortable. I therefore do not recommend this set-up.

In this backpack it is also possible to make the lumbar band disappear thanks to a double lining on the backrest. This can be useful to make the backpack less bulky or for “travel” use, perhaps when putting it in the airplane hold.

lumbar band

Can’t miss the chest strap for optimal adjustment and greater stability during approaches.

the chest strap

In addition, there is a double daisy chain on the front, one on the right and one on the left for attaching the helmet net, carabiners and various objects. Unfortunately, the links of the “chain” are very narrow and it is impossible to pass the helmet strap directly through. If you want to carry it externally you will have to equip yourself with a special net.

the daisy chain
The daisy chain

Rope tarp

A special guest for the Octopus 45 L is the convenient, well-designed rope tarp with multiple handles to allow for quick rope collection when moving.

The rope holder provides a kind of open pouch that forms a single piece with the cloth, this makes it possible for the rope to slide quickly inside the pouch and thus be lifted without the danger of it slipping out the sides.

the rope holer
The rope holder

We also find a very wide velcro to close the rope in the bag so that the whole thing almost becomes a bag. Great idea!

blue ice rope holder
the big velcro

Water repellency of Blue Ice Octopus

I did not test the backpack in the rain, but I did test it “at home.” The main body and shoulder straps seem to hold water well and even after many minutes they don’t absorb much, which means the TPU membrane is doing its job. It is definitely not a waterproof backpack though. The front being made of rubber has no problem with that. The only sore point is on the main zipper, which absorbs all the water it receives practically instantly. It tends to be rare to go crag climbing when it rains, though!

water repellancy test
the fabric tested with water

Recommended for

The Blue Ice Octopus 45L backpack is the perfect product for the “crag climber“; for those who enjoy sport climbing and prefer single pitch climbing at crags, with approaches that are not too long. In these situations you need a backpack that is simple and durable, contains everything you need and has a convenient rope holder: in short, everything that the Octopus 45L offers.

I would also recommend it to those who travel frequently by plane but prefer a backpack for carrying because they are “trekkers inside.” The shape and design match very well for this use.

Also available in a more compact 35L version.

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