When you go as hard in the paint as Cody Townsend, you know what you like in your gear. So, when the pro skier and Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) collaborated on a new ski mountaineering pack, Townsend came prepared with a list of notes and a sketched design.
From those humble origins arose the Crux 40, a new 40L skimo pack that welds HMG’s commitment to minimalism and Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) with a wish list Townsend’s been collating for the better part of a decade.
“I kind of started piecing together ideas from others while soaking up knowledge and experience on my own within ski mountaineering over the past seven years,” Townsend shared with GearJunkie in an interview.
“It really started to come together in the past year, the ideas and needs for a technical ski-mountaineering-focused pack. It’s got a little bit of influence from a ton of different people, along with some ideas of my own.”
Then, finally, blended up and made into reality by the designers at Hyperlite, Townsend said.
Meet the Crux 40 Ski Pack: Details
The Crux 40 sports three internal sleeves for avi gear organization, a back-entry panel (Townsend’s favorite feature), hip-belt pockets for gnoms, pockets in the removable lid for other knick-knacks, and a plethora of external straps and attachment points for all the gear you’d take on 1- or 2-day excursions on big mountains.
“If you ever use or plan to use a rope while skiing, this pack is for you. Rope usage is the delineating line. Though both packs can be used for any given day in the backcountry of course, the specificity of each is that the Headwall is for ski touring and the Crux is for ski mountaineering,” Townsend said.
Once designers at HMG had Townsend’s list and sketch as a jumping-off point, they went to work. Six months later, Townsend was testing the first prototype in the field. Within five iterations, the team had arrived at the Crux 40.
Behind the Design
Something else to note is HMG’s strategic use of different types of Dyneema Composite Fabric throughout the pack. For instance, at points likely to be subject to high abrasion, HMG utilized fully woven DCF — a variation on the fabric much more likely to stand up to pokes and scrapes from sharp gear.
“The main credit should be given to the design and engineering team at HMG. They’re the ones [who] had to take ideas out of the ether and craft a physical product,” Townsend shared.
“Their way of solving problems, designing holistically, and focus[ing] on details is what makes this pack truly special. There wasn’t a single feature or strap our attachment point in this pack that wasn’t discussed, contemplated, and decided upon. Every single stitch on [the Crux 40] has a reason it’s there.”
The Hyperlight Mountain Gear Crux 40 weighs 44 ounces, has a claimed load capacity of 50 pounds, and costs $499. You can grab one at Hyperlight Mountain Gear’s website.