High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack Review

High Peak USA
Phantom 45+10 #99098
Product Rating: 
Picture of High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack
Picture of High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack - Back
Picture of High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack - Side
Picture of High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack - Vario Harness
Picture of High Peak Phantom 45+10 Backpack - Lower Compartment


From High Peak USA, "The Phantom 45+10 is the little pack that could. Super rugged construction weighing only 4 lbs., 8 oz., fully adjustable harness system, lots of pockets and compression straps on this 45 liter backpack that continually works and plays hard. The Phantom 45+10 is ideal for teens and adult trekkers. It is the men’s version of the Luna 45+10."

The High Peak Phantom 45+10 pack features a detachable toplid pocket where the included rain-cover is stored, side pockets, front pocket, and dedicated lower sleeping bag compartment that can be unzipped to have a single large compartment. The Phantom 45+10 also has double ice axe holders, is hydration system ready, and features High Peak's adjustable Vario Harness System with a preformed aluminum suspension bar.


Size: 3,000 – 3,700 cu. (45-55 L)
Material: 320D Double Ripstop Nylon PU
Material: 300D Mini Polyester PU
Material: 1000D PU Bottom
Weight: 4 lbs. 8 oz. (2.04 kg)

Initial Thoughts (04/11/13):

Right off the bat, several features stand out on High Peak's Phantom 45+10 backpack. I really like the front pocket and think it will work well for stowing most frequently used items or daily snacks and/or lunch. The Phantom 45+10 is loaded with tie down points and shock cord for quick lashing of gear such as a jacket. The dual ice axe loops have adjustable heights to accommodate various sized axes. I love how the lower compartment is separate from the main, but can be unzipped internally to create a single large compartment if desired. There is a spot to store trekking poles right in the front of the backpack when they are not in use.

Another nice touch is the weather-resistant zipper on the top lid. I would have liked to have seen this on the front pocket also. Luckily High Peak includes a bright orange rain cover for the Phantom 45+10 that is stored in the top lid. There is also a basic waist belt stored in the top lid that allows it to be removed from the pack and used alone as a fanny pack. The top lid also features an internal pocket to store valuables or other smaller items.

The side compression straps on the Phantom 45+10 can be unbuckled and re-buckled across the front of the pack to hold extra gear in a pinch. Any extra length on the straps can be rolled up and secured to keep from flapping around, a feature I wish every pack had for every strap.

The waist belt on the Phantom 45+10 had a cutout in the middle (to relieve pressure on the the iliac crests) which feels very comfortable. Hopefully it remains comfortable when loaded on an actual hike. The only downfall to this design is the lack of "snack" pockets on the waist belt. But I'll take comfort over a couple extra pockets any day. The waist belt is sized for waists larger than mine, as I have to tighten it all the way down for my 31 inch waist. I'll have to end up cutting the extra lengths of strap as they hang down almost to my feet.

High Peak's adjustable Vario Harness System is easy to use and has five different size settings on the Phantom 45+10 pack. This universal fit system allows the pack to be used by different people.

I think the Phantom 45+10 pack is a great pack for 2-3 day backpacking adventures. It appears well constructed along with a great array of practical features. I look forward to testing it on a future hike.

Initial Field Test (05/04/13):

I took the High Peak Phantom 45+10 for a test run on a short backpacking/climbing trip to Pamelia Lake and Mt Jefferson. I loaded the Phantom 45+10 to about 38 pounds and set off on a short 2.2 mile hike to my base camp. For the heavy load (over 25% of my body weight) the pack performed very well. I found it to be as comfortable as any other well fitting pack when carrying a similar load. I was able to cram all my overnight gear plus climbing gear in or on the Phantom 45+10. The adjustable top lid still fit well with the pack fully expanded.

The only drawback I found to the Phantom 45+10, was the waist belt did not tighten as much as I would have liked it to. I have a 31" waist, and the Phantom would only cinch down tight enough to fit a person wearing a t-shirt with a 32" waist (guesstimate). I wish High Peak would have designed it to fit as small as a 28" waist.

On the second day of my adventure I packed the Phantom 45+10 with only my climbing gear and supplies (about a 22 pound load). The pack was very comfortable and compressed down very well to fit the smaller load. While I was bushwhacking through manzanita and buck brush, I only noticed the pack as it occasionally got hung up in a limb. I was happy with the organization the multitude of pockets provided to keep my gear within easy access. I fond the front zippered pocket to be perfect for storing snacks and the slim vertical side pockets to be very handy for stashing trash like food wrappers.

Overall, I was very satisfied with how the Phantom 45+10 performed. The material seems to have a decent water repellent coating as well. After setting the pack down in wet snow multiple times throughout my climb, it never saturated the material. After packing my wet snow covered crampons back in the pack, the melted water stayed inside pooling on the bottom between the main compartment and the lower sleeping bag compartment. The pack material did not soak any of it up. High Peak did a good job with the Phantom 45+10. If only they made the waist belt more skinny person friendly.

See Mt Jefferson adventure where the High Peak Phantom 45+10 pack was used.

Available from amazon.com.

Special thanks to High Peak USA for providing the Phantom 45+10 pack for review.


1 comment

Jason: The waist belt has been a concern on both sides of the waist debate. Originally, when I came on board, the waist belt was such that we could fit young me (scouts) into this pack. As the iterations came along the waist belt got longer because of requests from the adults. They were complaining that the actual hip portion of the belt didn't wrap around their hips completely. In the process the hip portion extended and couldn't fit the younger users. I am hopeful that in the newest release [of the Phantom 45+10] they will address this so that this awesome pack can once again be used by youth as well as the adults. BTW, the new version has a color change that is really awesome. I think it will be a great seller for High Peak USA.

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