The RC20 backpack is the patent pending culmination of Dynafit's rando racing experience. Recently reworked with improved materials, the race pack now weighs in at just 422 grams (14.9 ounces). Note that light doesn't mean weak in this case, as it uses 210D ripstop nylon which can handle a good amount of abuse. It's also not short on features, as you can see below:
- Easy to use diagonal ski-carry system with tail loop (up to ~115mm wide*) and shoulder hook. No pack removal necessary.
- Insulated water bottle holder (+28g) on the shoulder strap that is removable if you prefer to use a bladder which is also compatible.
- Velcro safety box on the side for easy storage of crampons and accessories. Comes with removable divider (+87g)*.
- Unique probe slot accessible from the top of the pack and enough room inside for your shovel.
- Main compartment has zip access from the side, with a separate zipped mesh pouch inside.
- Highly breathable shoulder straps and anatomical airmesh back so you don't sweat yourself cold.
- Speed ice axe holder is a simple slot on the front that keeps the sharps pointed down.
* Update 2015/16: Dynafit added new colors (Asphalt, Red) and reworked the crampon pouch to have a built-in collapsible divider instead of the removable pad. Also the ice axe carry changed to a wire loop and the ski carry can fit wider tails up to 130cm. Weight is within a gram of the previous edition.
|Access||Two side, one top slot for probe|
|Hydration||Removeable bottle holder and bladder compatible|
|Ski Carry||Quick hook for diagonal carry|
|Shovel / Probe||Shovel inside, outside slot for probe|
|Ice Axe||Speed holder on back|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Skimo racing, speed touring|
|Notes||Great water options, mesh straps allow good airflow.|
|Bottom Line||Extremely well designed race pack|
|Compare to other Race Packs|
Questions & Reviews
Background on product familiarity: I bought the very first version of the RC 20 and used it for a season of training, racing, and real tours too. I eventually sold it when both the Dynafit Broad Peak 28-liter pack became my top choice for springtime tours and the lighter CAMP Rapid 260 became available for lighter-duty applications.
First, the first impressions out of the box: If you haven’t yet used other skimo race packs then the RC 20 will seem impossibly light. Otherwise, it’s kind of middling. The capacity claim though is accurate, the side-accessed lower compartment is super convenient, and a strap-mounted bottle carrier is included (as well as removable if you don’t like it). Plus of course a quick-attach ski carry system.
Second impressions, in use: Everything works very well as designed. For the bottled holder and quick-attach ski carry system, see my Broad Peak pack review for details. Pretty much the only caveat is that the shoulder straps can get confusingly twisted up sometimes when putting the pack back on, but you hardly ever need to take the pack on and off.
Third impressions, for long-term durability: I sold mine before it underwent too much abuse, but it was still almost indistinguishable from new after some very long tours, although I’m not sure if the material might have changed since then? But although the velcro on the side-accessed lower compartment might seem suspect, the same design is still going strong on both my Broad Peak and Manaslu much-abused packs.
Comfortable & durable
The side zip is easy to use.
Dynafit hook style attachment is easier to use (better than the non-elastic hook on the Rapid)
Axe attachement works great and it is even possible to attach 2 ice-tools semi-securely!
I like the idea of the axe speed holder but have a hard time reaching it and then the rough grip on my camp axe makes it hard to insert...
Cons: (The first three are minor picky things but the fourth is the reason I gave 4/5 stars)
I wish there was a right side shoulder strap pouch (like the Rapid) for storing small items: gels, sunglasses, camera.
The bottle holder is bulky! It could certainly be smaller.
The crampon pouch is quite large - I certainly don't have any crampons that are that big.
The lower ski attachment point is not adjustable! Unless you are using skinny race skis, they will not fit in the ski carry!
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