Earlier this winter my ‘Built to Send‘ X0 arrived in the post ready for some Scottish winter climbing action. Having admired these British made rucksacks for some time I was eager to put the X0 though it’s paces.

Rarely do you see a product these days that stands out in a crowded market place, even less so when they appear to champion the attributes of ruthless simplicity and durability. Well, BTS have done exactly that, bringing a modern and fresh style to the durability of niche products like Pete O’Donovan’s – POD Sacs of old. Combine such an ethos with space age materials and you have a winning combination.

These packs are simple and subtle, with a myriad of options for load carrying. They come supplied with an “alpine customisation pack” which allows you to add ice axe retainers and a shock cord panel to your specification. Same with the compression straps which are removable.

Most importantly for me the X0 is a comfortable carry and plenty big enough for Scottish winter and alpine climbing, although some might prefer the slightly bigger X1. With a large open top (think haul bag style) these sacs pack like the “TARDIS”, swallowing plenty of kit in a storm, when all you can think about is bailing to the car. The X-Fold, Built to Send’s version of a roll top, works well with the stiff fabric.

Fabric brings me neatly onto durability, and BTS have confidently declared these sacs as “bombproof”. Well, the jury is out slightly given the premature finish to my winter season due to the COVID-19 lockdown, but I have no reason to doubt it! These sacs are at home when making contact with the punishing Cairngorm granite and excel when it comes to negotiating the odd chimney. Having bottled carrying the X0 on the narrow “slanting crack” of ‘Postern’ on Shelter Stone Crag recently I can also say that these sacs are easily hauled by the convenient load bearing grab handle on the back.

Currently retailing at £229.00 the BTS X0 won’t be for everybody, but these excellent sacs should definitely be on the radar of mountaineering instructors, mountain guides and professional users. Not to mention those who like a Scottish winter chimney or two. For those who are destructive with their kit, these sacs will pay their way many times over.

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