Product reviews/11/22/2023

ISPO Award for Mountain Hardwear’s new Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L

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Lightweight, durable, and waterproof: setting new standards for alpine climbing packs, the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L by Mountain Hardwear took the coveted ISPO Award 2023.

Uncompromising design and loads of smart features: the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L by Mountain Hardwear.

“Alpine climbing packs have always been among the most enjoyable product for me to work on from a design perspective,” raves Ben Guthrie, Equipment & Accessories Design Director at California based mountaineering and outdoor brand Mountain Hardwear. “After 10+ years of building and testing prototypes, developing materials, construction techniques, and even bringing in new machines to the factory, we’ve created a pack that I’m certainly proud of.”

The result of this long and passionate process is the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L, which the six jury members found worthy of receiving the ISPO Award 2023 when they met at Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria, for their 4th jury meeting of the year in October. 

The reason for this win is that Mountain Hardwear’s new flagship takes mountaineering backpacks to the next level. Utilizing waterproof face fabric and fully taped seams, the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L is the result of a years-long design project with one goal–to create the best alpine climbing pack in the world.

Extremely durable for variable use

This rolltop version is eager to tackle daring ice-capades head-on and is built with undyed, extremely durable TPU-coated Nylon Ripstop to provide the users’ essentials with the same level of ultralight, abrasion-resistant weather protection that they demand for themselves.

The Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L is a backpack for alpine climbing, alpine ascents, ice climbing, or mixed climbing. The idea was to develop a strippable, lightweight, waterproof alpine pack that doesn’t cut out features or material sets for the sake of being “the lightest”. It has been designed for mountaineers and climbers who want to push themselves, whether it be solo, small-group, or guided missions. It has everything the athlete needs to go farther, safer, in a lightweight and comfortable construction.

“The extreme conditions and high demand on pure utility allows everything else to kinda fade away, so there can be an intense focus on improving function,” Ben Guthrie explains. “For these alpine missions, our athletes always want the lightest, most durable, most weatherproof packs, able to carry a ton of weight well ... but optimizing in one of these zones typically compromises the others.”

The Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L features lots of options to carry climbing equipment such as ropes or ice axe.
Image credit:
Mountain Hardwear

Loads of helpful details

Thanks to the long and deep design process, Guthrie is now more than happy with the result. The Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L is packed with thoughtful details. It features a 7000 series aluminum frame with closed-cell foam frame sheet supporting loads to provide a comfortable carry. It is also removable to reduce weight, and the frame sheet doubles as a seat pad. Two external side zip pockets allow access to smaller items. The streamlined rolltop skirt can be fully extended or compressed down to suit a generous range of volumes for optimal carry.

The pack features a durable and quick-access tool carry system that can accommodate mountaineering axes and technical ice tools. It is also equipped with removable front webbing straps that provide quick, secure, and durable attachment of crampons and other external gear.

Many carrying options


But there are loads of more practical details, including lots of loops and other carrying options as well as the streamlined and durable back-panel that sheds snow. The padded shoulder straps with dual-density foam provide for a high level of comfort. The removable dual density hip-belt is equipped with zip pocket, gear loop, ice-clipper loop, and tow-loop.

Mountain Hardwear also decided to leave the shell fabric and lining undyed, which does not only improve durability but also reduces water pollution during production. Altogether, the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L is a convincing and innovative product that well deserved to win the ISPO Award!


The rolltop closure makes it easy to load and unload your gear and is also great to increase the volume of the backpack’s main compartment.
Image credit:
Mountain Hardwear

This is what the ISPO Award jury says about the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L by Mountain Hardwear:

“This mountaineering pack boasts variable pack volume, well-designed features, high comfort, and low weight. The rugged TPU-coated ripstop nylon fabric ensures durability.”
Jury ISPO Award

This is what Mountain Hardwear says about the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L:

"The Alpine Light RT backpacks are at the equilibrium of comfort, mobility, protection, and weight. For the last 11 months I have used these highly nimble packs in Alaska, Nepal, & India from steep ice to high altitude. Being waterproof and ultralight, they meet the demands of the big mountains and set a new standard for what we expect from our alpine pack. And as a welcomed bonus- they look extremely cool."
– Benny Lieber, Mountain Hardwear athlete & ambassador

5 reasons why the Alpine LightTM Rolltop 45L by Mountain Hardwear convinced the ISPO Award jury:

  • Abrasion resistant
  • Cut resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Performing finishings
  • Waterproof

Key data:

  • Sizes: 45L (also available in 30L)
  • Colors: Undyed
  • RRP: € 350 (€ 270 for the 30 L version)
  • Available: from February 2024
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