German manufacturer Ortovox is known primarily as a manufacturer of avalanche safety products. And their gear is recognized for its ruggedness and reliability in extreme conditions. The company builds their line of backpacks including the Haute Route 35 with the same sensibilities in mind, along with a touch of quirkiness and even a little sense of humor.
As you’d expect given Ortovox’s pedigree, the Haute Route 35 is designed primarily as a winter use product. The zippers are water resistant. There are lash points and fasteners for skis and snow boards. And there’s storage for a snow shovel and helmet.
Interestingly enough, however, many of these features transfer over to summer use as well. If you’re venturing into wetter climes or crossing a stream, those water resistant zippers come in handy. Those ski-specific lash points adapt easily to carrying trekking poles and other items. And that snow shovel pocket can hold whatever you need it to.
Carrying Capacity: 35 L (2136 cu in)
Weight: 3 lbs, 8 oz
Construction: Nylon with ballistic nylon reinforcements
Frame: Internal plastic
Dimensions: 20 x 10 x 7 in
Not everything about the Haute Route is totally straightforward however. In fact, some of the design features are downright quirky. Chief among these, the single opening to the pack’s main compartment. It opens from the back of the pack behind the shoulder straps. It’s certainly unorthodox, but it works nonetheless.
The Germans that designed the Haute Route didn’t stop with a few quirky features either. They decided to have some fun with the labels placed strategically around the pack’s exterior. Look for the martini glass to find your hydration port, just as an example.
The fit of the Haute Route was not as customizable as others in our test. There are no load lifters for instance, but that didn’t really matter. The pack shoulder straps adjusted easily as did the waist belt. The O-Flex plastic internal frame insert uses padding to stand off the back. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for hot day hikes where ventilation was inadequate.
There’s just something about the Ortovox Haute Route 35. It’s rugged and nearly waterproof. It’s got four season versatility, able to handle snow sports and summer hikes with ease. It may not be for everyone. But if you dream of sipping a nice martini when reaching for your hydration hose – and you want four-season versatility – the Haute Route just might be the right daypack for you.