This bag is a replacement for an ALICE pack that I just could not stand to use anymore. The new bag was chosen to be used as road-trip luggage, flight carry-on and must actually be comfortable enough to use for weekends on the trail.
The search for a new pack started when a friend had loaned me his Sleeka Snugpak 35 Liter pack. The Sleeka’s size was perfect for my needs. There are some nice MOLLE tactical bags available but the price (and weight) of the better quality brands is too high. MOLLE webbing would be nice but it’s not really a requirement. They also tended to appear “military”, something that I was trying to stay away from.
The sporting goods stores in our area have a very sparse selection of good quality backpacks so we have to do things the long way by ordering online and waiting to see how well the pack is built and if it will meet our needs. It’s my hope that this review can be some help to you.
(This review was originally posted at our old blog, The info has been updated and reposted here along with our original photos)
This is an initial review of the High Sierra Cirque 30 Back Pack. The online description of this pack seemed to have most of the qualities that I was searching for:
- Capacity between 30 and 40 liters.
- Non-military in appearance but still earth-tone in color.
- Ruggedly constructed but reasonably lightweight and comfortable.
- Outside lashing points and a carry handle.
- Internal frame
- Priced under $75.00
So here’s the review. The photos will do most of the talking. There is some pertinent info under each photo.
One large main compartment and one smaller compartment, both with zipper closures. The dimensions of this bag are approximately 22″ tall x 13″ wide x 9″ thick. High Sierra states this as 1830 cubic inches. The material used for the main parts of the pack is 600D poly ripstop. The bottom of the bag is 1680D ballistic nylon. There are lashing straps on the face of the bag and a single lashing loop at the bottom. A removable axe loop can be seen at the top of the daisy chain. One cinch strap and one mesh sleeve are on each side. This bag is Amazon Green and Tungsten in color. Other colors are available.
This view shows the nicely padded shoulder straps and belt. The back is padded and sculpted with airflow channels. The molded padding in the back is actually the frame for the pack. It does a good job of retaining the shape of the pack while it’s loaded. There is a fully adjustable sternum strap that has heavy elastic sewn into it to allow some stretch when needed. A small removable media pouch was also included with this pack. NOTE: the kidney belt is NOT removable.
The two above photos give a closer look at the belt and shoulder pads. Stitching is neat and strong. Shoulder padding is thick and firm but not as thick as some packs. There are separately adjustable load-lifters on each strap. The carry handle appears to be adequate.
Another view of the stitching. The zippers are large and tough. There’s no brand name stamped on the pulls so I don’t know if they’re YKK or not. Both zippers have nice large rain covers. There is a port for a hydration tube and an internal sleeve for a bladder.
Here’s a look inside the smaller compartment. It is about 3/4 the height and width of the main compartment. It has just a simple mesh divider. High Sierra has also stitched a little packing guide into this compartment.
And finally, here’s the pack on my back. It’s designed for 13-17″ torsos and people that are 64-68 inches tall. I’m a little taller than that but I still found it to be pretty comfortable, WAY more comfortable than our ALICE pack with the same load. I was able to wear it slightly high on my hips which would also allow me to wear a patrol belt along with this pack.
Overall, I feel that this is a decent pack. It’s carried our gear in the woods in all seasons and has been used for travelling luggage on several road trips for over 4 years now and is showing no signs of failure … it has exceeded my expectations
One more thing that may be an issue for some folks:
We did take a look at this pack with night vision. It blended with regular foliage very well until I hit it with IR. This pack is highly IR reflective… The green fabric lit up like a glowstick! Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability take a night vision photo yet.
We found the best online price for this pack was thru Amazon, although some colors are not always available: