Gear Review: Edelrid Satellite 20 UL climbing rucksack

Edelrid have been creating gear for climbers since 1863 from their German office and are part of the Vaude group. We’ve been given the chance to review one of their latest rucksack, the Satellite 20 UL. This is a climbing specific pack with an focus on lightness.

Siurana-2013

How it was tested

The backpack was created for climbing so it would not have made sense to test it in other conditions. We took the Satellite 20 UL to Siurana, in the Tarragona area, south of Barcelona. Out of the many great places in Catalonia to go climbing this is one of the most famous, for its number of routes as well as their quality. I have also been using the bag every week to carry my gear to the climbing centre.

Siurana-2013-2

Gear characteristics

The Edelrid Satellite 20 UL makes extensive use of ultra-light nylon ripstop fabric. To reduce the weight further, Edelrid tried some new elements. We will note the new type of thin ribbons used for all adjustable parts across the bag. They also reinvented the compression straps with a rather complex system we’ll talk more about at the end of this article.

Edelrid-Satellite-20UL-topview

To make it more versatile the Satellite 20 UL includes two ice tools attachment points. We finish the feature list with a large lid pocket with its opening on the front of the bag and the climbing specific shoulder strap design.

Comfort (back panel, shoulder straps, weight)

Edelrid-Satellite-20UL-backpanelComfort wise, the rucksack is OK. The back panel is a bit stiff and does not provide a lot in terms of foam. You climb knowing you have it on you back but I did not feel any painful spots. The weight seems well spread and the thermoformed back keeps the pack stable. The shoulder straps are cut so as to leave maximum freedom for the arms and shoulders. You can lift up, grab behind and generally rotate in every directions. The Satellite 20 UL can be worn very close to the body thanks to a whole host of adjustment straps.

Unfortunately this is not the most suited shape for women because the straps land right on the chest and can really be problematic.

At 490g, the Satellite 20 UL has earned its UL title. The ultralight nylon ripstop used everywhere on the backpack doesn’t look very durable but is holding very well after month of use. A good compromise between durability and weight.

Storage

The Edelrid Satellite 20 UL is a top loading pack with an additional pocket. It is narrow but still roomy and will easily fit a belay jacket, rain shell, water, helmet, harness and some food. The bottom of the pack is not flat however which means it can barely stay upright. Not a deal breaker but annoying nonetheless.

I have not tested the tool attachments yet and I will update the review once I have spent some time with them. The placement looks good and so does the construction.

Edelrid-Satellite-20UL-shoulder-straps

The top pocket, as I mentioned before, has its zip opening at the front of the bag. What I thought at first was a great idea, because it makes everything easier to reach, turned out to be a major pain. If the pack is not filled to the top, the pocket tends to have the zip facing down and opening it spills everything on the ground. Not. Good.

Special features

One new thing on the Satellite 20 UL are the compression straps. They have two control points. To fasten, hold the blue ribbon attached to the plastic buckle and pull using the blue nylon ring at the end of the strap. To release, pull the plastic buckle. It took some getting use to and was frustrating at the beginning. It is hard to say if this system is actually better than what you find on most bags but it is definitely fiddly. A nice detail though is the fact that you can stow away the compression straps in tiny pockets on each sides. The ice axe attachments points can also be removed for a streamlined experience.

Edelrid-Satellite-20UL-icetools

Conclusion

All in all the Edelrid Satellite 20 UL scores an OK. It is a robust lightweight rucksack but suffers from a few fiddly features like the top pocket and the compression straps. Its main upside is its weight, barely more than a hard-shell. It retails for around £80 / 90€.