A pack to do it allHigh Level Review: I put this backpack through the ringer, and the Ortovox Traverse 30 is a solid backpack that is great for climbing, ski touring, mountaineering, and hiking. If you only have one pack for most sports (outside of backpacking), then this is a great option. The pack is lightweight and bomber proof. After 2 years of hard use, this backpack is still going strong and taking everything I can throw at it. I love the pack entry system, it is top loading as well as a zip down, making it easy to grab the stuff you threw at the bottom. The one area for improvement is the ice axe lash that secures the head of the axe. It is a small loop that is hard to tie securely against the pack resulting in a bit of bounce. I've corrected that with an additional lash, but it is a bit annoying.
How I tested this: I've lost count of how many days I've used this, but it is probably around 50 Splitboard Tours, 20 days climbing (alpine and multi pitch), 100 days hiking.
About the Pack: The pack is built as a do it all pack. At 30L it is best suited for single day trips, but if you plan on bivvying, then it can be used as a multi day, depending on the sport you do and the equipment you need. The pack has a top load design and a circumferential zipper, which I found super nifty when I needed to grab things from the bottom. I usually store everything inside the pack, and with my heavy crampons at the bottom, it was nice not having to take everything out of the pack to access them (especially on steep sections).
The inside of the pack has a few pouches to store specific items, as well as the helmet net that it comes with. The top of the pack has an external pouch, perfect for storing frequently used items like maps, snacks, and your phone. There is also a leash to secure your keys, so they won’t be falling out. The pack sinches closed quite easily and can be accessed from the top or the outside. Also to note, this pack is hydration system compatible with an opening in the center allowing for the hose to go either the left or right strap.
The shoulder straps are padded, but still light weight. The shoulder straps also have an integrated sunglass carrier, which seems to be standard these days. The belt is quite broad, with a pocket big enough for my pixel 2, but not very thick, which I like. It gives you the sense that it is well secured, but not overly bulky. I’ve worn it with my climbing harness many times, and while there is some overlap, it is overall quite comfortable.
The back of the pack has an integrated rain cover pouch, which is quite handy. There are two elastic side pouches for carrying water bottles as well as a center elastic pouch where I store my shell when not being used. There is a clever system for carrying hiking poles, which has come in handy on my Splitboard tours. There is also an ice axe attachment, but it does not hold the ice axe securely against the pack, the head of the ice axe is a bit loose, as it is only a small cord that holds it in place with no strap to securely lash the pick to the bag. I do quite a lot of glacier and splitboard tours that require the ice axe, so this is quite annoying, but I’ve managed to add another strap that makes it somewhat better.
Final Say: I would buy this pack again in a heartbeat. The size is perfect for me. I like to travel light, and when I bring a 40L pack, I usually can’t help but add a bunch of other gear that goes unused, so having a 30L limits what I can bring. I want to call out this bag by sport, as I use it across my winter and summer playgrounds.
Hiking: This pack is a great day pack. It is lightweight, compresses down to a small size, and has the ability to integrate a hydration system. It comes with a rain protector, so if it starts raining, your pack is protected. I’ve taken this on at least 100 day hikes over the past 3 years, and it satisfies all the requirements. The back ventilation system is not the best, but I’ve never found a pack that keeps my back dry. I love this pack and will keep it for many more years because of its robust design.
Ski/Splitboard Tours: I’ve taken this guy out on at least 50 tours over the past couple years. I’ve also taken it on multi day tours in the Swiss alps, but we were staying in the huts, so only a silk mummy bag liner was needed for the overnight portion. The bag is just big enough for a splitboarder to pack splitboard crampons, normal crampons, shovel, probe, food, first aid kit, extra layers, food, ice axe, and poles. I’m not gonna lie, it is a tight fit, but can be done. The negative is that there is not a dedicated rescue kit pocket for the shovel and probe. It is a minor annoyance, but since the bag also opens from the circumferential zipper, it has never been an issue. One disadvantage is when also carrying the rope, I find the rope adds a bit too much weight to the bag to be comfortable. I have personally moved to the Patagonia Decensionst 40L for splitboarding, but this was a great bag when I was more focused on having a 1 bag solution.
Climbing: I think this pack excels on alpine climbing. I’ve worn it on multi-pitch routes as well where you descend a different way, and it functions well there, but it shines in the alpine country. Fast and light is it’s preferred way to travel. I’ve worn it on ridge traverses as well as long slogs (up the Matterhorn, for example). The bag has room for everything you need to carry, and then some. Because it’s so light, once you rope in and move all the protection to your harness, you hardly notice it is there.
So all in all, this bag is great if you need something to do a bit of everything. There are specialists in each category that might be better, but if you ascribe to a minimalist mantra like I do, you can rest assured this bag has your back!