For my recent trip to Denali I need a backpack. A big backpack, because I would haul a lot of stuff up and down the mountain. On previous trips, I had used a GoLite Pinnacle 70L pack. I really liked it; it carried comfortable if loaded up to 18 kilo's, but on Denali I would have to carry much more, and I would also need more room - 70 liters just wouldn't be enough.
So I started to look for another pack. Fortunately I didn't have to look far, because I started looking on the GoLite web-site, where I found the Terrono. The specs looked good, a 90 liter (or approx. 5500 cu.in.) with a comfortable suspension for a little over 2 kilo's (2.04 kilo to be exact, or 72 ounces. Off course this isn't a lightweight pack by any means, because, despite experiments (on Backpacking Light for instance) to prove the opposite, a lightweight pack isn't the way to go on a mountain like Denali, that is, if you also want to carry that 25 kilo's or more in any comfort.
So, I decided I'd try the Terrono. I got it from Ultralight Outdoor Gear in the UK. I had ordeded some items for my Aconcagua trip (the Pinnacle pack in fact) and other trips from them before, so it was an easy choice to look for it there.
I got the pack well in advance of the Denali trip, so I could train a lot with it. Off course the terrain in the Netherlands is mostly flat, so I couldn't train going up and down that much. What I did do, is load up my pack up to around 30 kilo's and walk around the park.
After having trained for months, in May it was finally time for the real thing; the Denali trip. The trip was planned for 21 days. The first 8 to 10 days we would carry the pack and pull a sled, after that (from the 11k Camp and up) all gear would be carried in the pack. That included personal gear (sleeping bag, pad, clothes, water bottles, etc.) and group gear (tent, food, fuel, shovels, etc.). I was curious how the pack would hold up.
It held up great. On every single day I had enough room for everything I had to carry, altough on some days I did have to carry some gear on the outside of the pack, because they would be too bulky or dangerous (sharp) inside the pack, like CCF sleeping mat or a shovel. Weight never was a problem. Altough loads of 20 kilo's and up are never really comfortable, I carried those kinds of load in relative comfort with the Terrono. The suspension is great, and the hipbelt is wide and stays firmly on the hips, making moving easy. The narrow profile of the pack also helped on the more exposed parts of the route on the mountain.
The only thing I can fault the pack for is that the belt buckle broke on decent. This could be a result of wear, or the intense cold up high (-25c at night at high camp). Luckily a teammate had a spare buckle and the problem was fixed easily.
Another thing that's in the design of the pack, is that it has an opening in the bottom of the pack, so you can get to the gear down there easily. I never used that, and would rather not have seen that opening there. The zipper adds weight, and it also makes the pack look less 'clean'. But that's more a personal preference I think.
Because of the buckle breaking, and of the slight over-designing of the pack, the pack doesn't get full marks.
I would give the GoLite Terrono 90L a score of 8.5 out of 10. I would definately use it again on a similar trip.
The Terrono backpack was provided to me by Ultralight Outdoor Gear free of charge, and I got to keep it after testing it. Thanks again Mark!