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Ortovox Peak 35 Review

Overall
4.4
  • Back breathability
    (5)
  • Comfort
    (4.5)
  • Functionality
    (4.5)
  • Stability
    (5)
  • Weight
    (3)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

A backpack designed for the most demanding mountaineers who tackle one climb after another. Transversal, robust and extremely modular. A true workhorse from the German company Ortovox, now redesigned in the ISPO 2023 award-winning version.

Pros

  • High comfort
  • Modularity
  • Careful construction

Cons

  • Non-removable top flap
  • Bulky, non-removable lumbar belt

The Ortovox Peak 35 is a backpack designed for all-round mountaineering 365 days a year. With its dedicated shovel and probe compartment, it can be a great companion for ski mountaineering trips, even multi-day ones, thanks to its expandable 35 litre volume.

It is also ideal for summer mountaineering, with multiple attachment points for gear such as crampons, rope and ice axe.

It is not a featherweight for fast & light mountaineers, but rather for those looking for an ‘all-purposepack that can go from skiing to trekking to mountaineering.

I had to dig deep to find any flaws, if you can call them that; perhaps it would be more accurate to speak of a few minor “venial sins”.

Ortovox Peak 35 skimountaineering test

Technical features of the Ortovox Peak 35

  • Material Polyamide 420 D Ripstop tear and abrasion resistant
  • Weight: 1500 g
  • Swisswool Full Contact back system
  • Front and vertical access to main compartment
  • Separate safety compartment for shovel and probe
  • Map pocket
  • Side and diagonal ski attachment
  • Support for safety devices
  • Snowboard and snowshoe loops
  • 2 ice axe loops
  • Rope loops
  • Compartment for crampons
  • Mesh for helmet attachment
  • Pocket for hydration system
  • Emergency whistle
  • Manufacturer link
Ortovox Peak 35

Test Mode

I used the Ortovox Peak 35 backpack during the first months of 2023 for various mountaineering and ski touring trips in the Dolomites at home, the Lyngen Alps in Norway and at the end Mont Blanc.

mountaineering test
ski test in Norway

Ortovox Peak 35 on-site test

What it looks like

Openings and pockets

The backpack consists of one pocket, which we could call the main pocket, which can be accessed in the classic “top down” way, with a drawstring opening, after opening the top flap.

backpack opening
Drawstring opening

Alternatively, there is a full length waterproof double slider perimeter zip for easy access to all your gear.

side perimeter zip
Side perimeter zip

There is also an emergency equipment pocket (shovel and probe), accessible via a colour coded zip without having to open the top flap.

emergency equipment compartment
Emergency equipment compartment

I have to say that at first glance the backpack appears to be very “articulated“, with lots of pockets, zips and straps, which is a little irritating for those like me who are fans of aesthetic essentiality and simplicity.

However, after using it for the first time, I appreciated its modularity and got to know the different compartments.

front pocket
Detail of the front compartment

Above the main compartment is the top flap with two zipped pockets: one outside (also with a key hook) and one inside.

Looking for the silver lining, I would have preferred the top flap to be removable like on the Peak Light 32, thus reducing the overall weight.

On the plus side, however, the pack is height-adjustable, so you might be able to get a few litres more than the claimed 35 by increasing the vertical load.

the inside of the main compartment
Total zip opening

Details and accessories

The rope finds its place astride the stopped backpacl thanks to the special webbing equipped with a metal hook. A second loop near the right shoulder strap allows skis to be carried diagonally.

ski attachment loop
Detail of the diagonal “retractable” ski attachment loop

There is also a special loop for the water bag cannula, which has an internal elastic pocket where it is attached at the top by a clip.

There is also a very useful elastic loop for attaching goggles to the shoulder strap.

sunglasses loop
Sunglasses loop on the shoulder strap
lumbar belt
Pocket on the lumbar belt

The well-cushioned lumbar belt has a gear loop on the left and a zipped pocket on the right, large enough to hold a modern smartphone or other small items you use frequently.

The only drawback is that, although it is very comfortable on descents, its volume is considerable and, as it is not removable, it can interfere with the harness.

bottom opening
Bottom opening

The side straps are fitted with clips that can be used to compress the backpack, attach “A” skis (as long as they are no wider than 95mm in the middle) or even to secure the rope.

ortovox peak 35 with skis
Ortovox peak 35 with skis
Detail of the side straps for compressing and securing skis
Detail of the side straps for compressing and securing skis

We have also added what may seem to be a small refinement: on the right-hand side, there is an expandable zipped pocket specifically designed to hold crampons, thanks to the reinforcements provided, and equipped with special drainage channels for de-icing water.

Obviously, this pocket can also be used during trekking to keep a bottle of water close at hand.

Removable side pocket for crampons
Removable side pocket for crampons
etail of side multi-purpose pocket
Detail of side multi-purpose pocket

Back and shoulder straps

One of the strengths of this backpackk is undoubtedly its pre-shaped back, which is very breathable and comfortable. In fact, it uses Swisswool technology, made from pressed Swiss wool, which provides the best moisture and temperature regulation, creating a comfortable feeling and helping to keep the back dry.

Swisswool wool back panel
Swisswool wool back panel

The shoulder straps are well padded and never gave me the feeling of being cut in during progressions. In fact, thanks to the multiple adjustments, I found them comfortable even when fully loaded.

Ortovox peak 35 in the test
Ortovox peak 35 in the test

On the front, we find a pocket with a waterproof zip, useful for storing small items or a map, and a couple of hidden loops, useful for attaching spades, held in place at the bottom by special anchors.

Helmet holder

Compared to the previous model, the integrated helmet holder, hidden in a special pocket, has been removed. It has been replaced by a net that always comes with the pack, but can be attached to the front or above the flap using the special slots.

Front helmet holder
Front helmet holder
Helmet holder on the top flap
Helmet holder on the top flap

The clever design of the backpack is also evident in the extensions to the side straps supplied with the backpack, which also allow a snowboard to be stowed in the front.

Side view with compression straps fitted with clips
Side view with compression straps fitted with clips

How it performs

On various trips I have used the Ortovox 35 to cover quite a lot of vertical gain, mainly in ski mountaineering, with some short climbing sections.

On some mountaineering trips it was filled to the brim with clothes, equipment, supplies, etc. Unlike other backpacks I own, I really appreciated its comfort when I was on the move, thanks to the weight distribution, once adjusted, and the generous lumbar belt.

Ortovox Peak 35 skimountaineering test

The Swisswool backrest gave me a pleasant, breathable feeling, with perspiration never stagnating too much and disappearing between rests. In this respect, I think it is no match for a backpack designed for hiking.

It’s just a shame that you can’t remove the lumbar pad when you’re climbing.

Ortovox Peak 35 ski mountaineering

With 35 litres “and a little bit more” (given the expandable volume), you can carry everything you need for a multi-day adventure.

Detail of the vertical expansion buckles
Detail of the vertical expansion buckles

The external accessories for carrying your gear are a real plus, making the backpack particularly modular and versatile.

The loops above the top flap can be used to carry a sleeping bag or, thanks to the side straps, a tent.

ortovox peak 35 in norway

Recommended for

Highly recommended for those looking for an all-round backpack for mountaineering, ski touring and technical trekking at high altitudes that doesn’t sacrifice specialisation over multifunctionality. High quality construction and meticulous design make it strong, though not light, but very comfortable.

Together with its smaller brother, the Peak Light 32, it is, in my opinion, one of the most successful dedicated mountaineering and ski touring packs of all time, a companion you can keep in your car for (almost) any adventure.

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