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North face Cobra 65

PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2022 11:51 am
by bluewombat
I was looking for a lighter but tough pack a while ago and decided to buy one of these despite the fact that it is WHITE, yup sparkly, glossy white. Although it was designed as a mountaineering pack it seemed to fit my needs, and having hammered it for a few months now I thought I pass on a few thoughts. For what it is worth it is a replacement for my 20 yr old WE expedition 80+L so there is an immediate improvement in weight, a modern harness, and a loss of 15 litres of space (probably a good thing for my knees)

1650 gms. It comes in 2 sizes, at my 173 cms the S/M works for me
For a mountaineering pack it does not sit too high to make it unworkable in the bush
Tough, no tears so far despite getting caught up in some nasty Tasmanian scrub. Mostly made of 210D Recycled Nylon With Spectra Ripstop And Non-PFC DWR Finish, the boot is 210D TPU-Coated, High-Tenacity Nylon With Non-PFC DWR Finish
Reasonably water resistent but you will need a liner or dry sacks to really keep your stuff dry in heavy rain
Single tube design, I can stuff an awesome amount of gear into it.
It also has a 'crampon pocket' at the front which takes my shells, a bit of foam mat, my garbage bag and the odd snack quite nicely. This section has drain holes which is good as it does not actually close up completely tight. It would accomodate a snow shovel of modest dimensions.
Removable lid section which incidentally has both internal and external zipped chambers, the pack is still pretty watertight even when this is off as there is a flap closure below it
Rigid foam back support makes it a solid carrier unlike my frameless lightweight options, this is very comfortable and less sweaty than some. 15 kgs is a very comfortable carry for this pack, the harness has enough adjustment for my needs.
Hip belt pocket x 1, big enough for a Sony RX100 camera, has a gear loop on the hip belt on the opposite side so there is some potential there as well, I just haven't figured out what yet
'Wand pockets' that will take walking poles nicely, side compression straps allow you to carry skis
Internal sleeve for water bladder
Slightly see through lower section gives you a rough idea where some of your gear might be hiding
Lifetime guarantee (not sure whose lifetime though)

Less likeable:
Not cheap at RRP of $550 but shop around and you can usually find it for 10-20% off
It's white, fortunately it does hang onto a bit of grime and mud making it slightly less white.
The lid strap and main centre closure strap are loop and tongue closures not buckles and more irritatingly the straps are held to the bag by a metal T lock and loop. The T is not wide enough to stop it sneaking through the tape loop with a bit of twisting. This problem is easily solved by knotting the strap but hey who thought a 3mm overhang was sufficient even if it saved 0.00001 gms in weight. I suspect I will end up replacing this system with some buckles
For bushwalking there are probably too many external loops and straps to expect you will not get hung up on something at some stage, that said I spent 15 minutes travelling 100 m in a classic Tassie horizontal gully and it did not snag on anything. Some of these would be removable without compromising its use hiking
The side pockets are probably not big enough for a standard water bottle in (not an issue for me because I prefer a bladder and tube), and would require you to use a strap for added security even if you could get a bottle into them
The front crampon pocket will collect snow if you are pushing through snow covered trees/scrub

For my walking needs it is a keeper