Guide Gear Review – Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack

Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack Gear Review – by Rainbow Weinstock

RB1 - north chimney, on the diamond

I punish packs. Between my personal climbing and guiding, I wear a pack on my back most days of the year. I ask a lot of my packs. I huck them around with sharp things on the inside and out, haul them up 1000’ faces, spill my lunch all over the inside and even occasionally sleep inside of them. I also carry lots of different items in a pack – no two days are the same in terms of what food, rack, layers, sleeping supplies and rope I am carrying.

The Black Diamond Speed 40 has performed excellently. I will admit that I have a quiver of packs in my gear closet, but the Speed 40 is the pack I reach for most commonly and most happily. I like it foremost as an alpine pack. It is light and compact, yet fairly high volume; it is comfortable and streamlined yet has some excellent features; it is shnazzy looking, yet durable.

Weinstock-Bonnet-Sherstad IDF report- (3 of 12)

The Speed 40 isn’t overflowing with useless bells and whistles, like twelve daisy loops, that make you look like a cool climber when you’re in the parking lot – it actually has well thought out and useful features. I have used the removable hipbelt feature numerous times when climbing harder routes or when hauling the pack. I use the extra clip in point on the front of the pack to haul the pack in a more centered position, so it doesn’t get stuck on every little roof as readily. I love the drybag style closure system; it makes it very fast in and out. Hand in hand, I usually utilize the removable brain feature to streamline it and make it easier and faster to get in and out of the pack to change layers or grab food.  The crampon and ice axe attachment systems are simple and smooth to use.

I have had countless days out with the Speed Light 40 – piles of alpine trips into Rocky Mountain National Park, many trips up the Diamond (where I then haul it), alpine routes in Patagonia and I have even slept inside of it on an alpine bivy. I feel very happy to endorse it (and use it!)

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Rainbow Weinstock
CMS Guide
AMGA Certified Rock Guide