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A fast and light rucksack for serious mountain users, the Montane Medusa 32 is also known to be well suited to general walkers too. We test it to see why it has such broad appeal.

medusa 32 moroccan blue fr
Overall Score
Light weight, innovative ice axe storage, trim design
Storage pockets are a little small, entry system is a quite fiddly

There's no doubting the target market for the Medusa 32 - Montane describes it as a 'super light, multi-season endurance pack'. It weighs less than a kilo, has excellent storage for a pair of ice axes and has a slender profile well suited to climbing.

However that's only half the story, because the Medusa 32 has proven a popular choice among hill walkers and as an outdoor product it's far from exclusive to the alpine elite.

That's partly because of its attractive price point, but also because of the range and versatility of its features. There are two modestly sized lid pockets (one inner, one outer), two wand pockets either side for general storage, and a single hip pocket for quick-access items. The lightweight design sees it weigh just 967g, which whether you're a climber or not is very impressive given the capacity and comfort on offer.

That comfort is above average, with nicely cushioned shoulder straps and a solid hip belt with easy adjustment, while the back system is a simple, soft pad that can be moulded to your individual shape. Ventilation is not as impressive as on some other models, but this didn't prove a big issue during testing.

Compression comes via a pair of straps on either side of the rucksack, and these have to be used judiciously - as the tall and narrow design of the bag (combined with that soft back system) means it can seem a little lumpy and uneven if not packed just right.

The ice axe storage is a real selling point. A pair can be easily stowed via straps at the top for the points and a pull cord secured fitting at the bottom for the picks. The real brilliance comes not just from the meaty fabric cover to hold those points in place, but also from the superbly secure fitting the drawcord helps create. Once in place, they're going nowhere.

Other touches include a very secure drawcord closing for the main compartment, and a second clip to pull over the top of it. This helps keep everything locked tight very effectively, but also makes opening that main compartment slightly fiddly and time-consuming.

In conclusion: A brilliantly lightweight rucksack with some excellent features for more technical users (particularly those carrying two ice axes), and well-priced for its capabilities. Walkers won't need all of its features, but may be tempted by its minimalist charms regardless.

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