Black Diamond Mission 75 Pack

Matt Zia reviews the Black Diamond Mission 75 pack for Blister Gear Review.
Black Diamond Mission 75 Pack

BD Mission 75 pack


  • reACTIV XP suspension with fixed shoulder straps and
  • thermoformed backpanel
  • Top-loading, with removable, floating top pocket, skirt closure &
  • tuck-away rope strap
  • Ice-tool PickPockets, three-point haul system, & ladder-lock
  • crampon straps
  • Removable, padded hipbelt with fixed webbing belt
  • Hydration compatible

Stated Specs:

  • Small: volume – 73 L; weight – 1.61 kg (3 lb 8 oz); waist – 27-32”; torso – 15.5-18.5”
  • Medium: volume – 75 L; weight – 1.63 kg (3 lb 9 oz); waist – 29-34”; torso – 17.5-20.5”
  • Large: volume – 77 L; weight – 1.65 kg (3 lb 10 oz); waist – 34-39”; torso – 19.5-23.5”

MSRP: $239.95

Reviewer: Waist – 29”; Torso length – 18”

Days Tested: 40

Test Locations: Sangre de Cristo Mountains & Sawatch Range, CO


The Mission 75 pack is essentially a scaled-up and beefed-up version of Black Diamond’s excellent Speed series of lightweight packs (see our review of the Speed 30 pack)

The Mission 75 is a lightweight, 75L-capacity pack and shares the streamlined, strippable, minimalist feature set of the Speed 30, but comes with a stronger suspension system, thicker padding on the waistbelt and shoulder straps, and several more pockets and zippers.


Black Diamond calls the suspension system on the Mission 75 the “reACTIV XP”. Unlike the reACTIV suspension on the Speed series that allows the shoulder straps to float, the reACTIV XP uses fixed shoulder straps and a thermoformed back panel, along with a removable waist belt.

The fixed straps on the Mission 75 do not allow as much freedom of movement when scrambling with the pack on, but they also keep heavy loads more centered than the movable straps on the Speed 30.

I admit that this next comparison isn’t entirely fair since the Mission 75 is a larger pack, but I would say that the reACTIV XP suspension of the Mission 75 carried heavy loads relative to the pack size better than the reACTIV system. I carried up to about sixty pounds in the Mission 75 including multiple days of 6+ miles of steep bushwhacking, and although my shoulders and hips came to hurt from carrying the sheer weight of that load for twelve days, I never felt like the suspension was collapsing under the load.

Matt Zia reviews the Black Diamond Mission 75 pack for Blister Gear Review.
Matt Zia in the Black Diamond Mission 75, Sawatch Range, CO.

That said, the padding and suspension on the Mission 75 is not as plush or beefy as on packs like the MHM Fifty-Two 80, or the Dana Designs Astralplane. But that is a reflection of the intended purpose of the pack. Packs like the MHM and the Dana Designs are intended for carrying large loads in comfort. The Mission 75 is designed to be a lighter pack that offers greater versatility, while still allowing for large loads to be carried in relative comfort.


Compared to other large alpine expedition packs, the Mission 75 is significantly lighter; the size medium Mission weighs 3lbs 9oz, compared to the Gregory Denali 75 at 6lbs 6oz, or the Cilo Gear 75L Worksack at 4lbs 12oz.

The only well-regarded, large alpine pack that I’m aware of that equals the Mission 75 in weight is the Wild Things Andinista, at 3lbs 8oz. However, the Andinista requires very specific packing to carry heavy loads comfortably due to its lack of a rigid framesheet. The Mission 75, with aluminum stays and a plastic framesheet carried loads exceptionally well, with no special packing required.


I tested the Mission 75 in a size medium, same as the Speed 30 I reviewed. The Mission 75 also comes in size Small (73L capacity) and size Large (77L capacity).

I found the size Medium fit me just about perfectly. The waist belt was small enough to cinch down over just a t-shirt, but large enough to fit comfortably over a puffy on extremely cold mornings.

The back length was also just right. The waist belt sat snug on my hips, and the shoulder straps were at the right height on my back. The pack does not have any adjustability in the back length like the MHM Fifty-Two 80 or the Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70, so make sure to get the right size.

NEXT: Features, Performance, Etc.


7 comments on “Black Diamond Mission 75 Pack”

  1. Good review. Have you heard anything from fellow guides about the MH South Col 70? Seems like another good mountaineering pack in the 70-80 liter range. Weighs about the same as the Mission 75 but is waterproof.

    • Hey James, sorry for the delayed response. I have worked with a co-instructor who used an older model of the Mt. Hardwear South Col, but I haven’t used it myself so I can only speak somewhat second-hand. My impression of it is generally quite good, though there are a few minor things that would make me choose the BD Mission over it.

      The South Col has a few more zippers and pockets than the Mission, which aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but I personally try to stay away from packs with too many zippers as they’re usually the first thing to break on a pack. My impression from seeing him carry the pack fully loaded is also that the South Col is a little bit wider on the bottom than the Mission which has a slight taper at the bottom of the pack to allow for easier arm movement when climbing.

      I also don’t have any experience with the claimed waterproofness of the South Col, but it is definitely interesting and something I’d like to learn more about the durability on.

      None of what I’ve said is necessarily a deal-breaker towards either pack and like I said, my only experience with the South Col is from working with a co-instructor who used it, not any personal experience, so take what I’ve said with a grain of salt.

      • Thanks for the response Matt. I’ve just ordered both packs and will let fit decide. I’m a 17-18″ torso, 5’6″ tall and think the Mission 75 in medium will work (I wear a medium Osprey Aether 85), I might try a small later. The Mission 75 seems to have a pretty good following among guides. OTOH the ability to leave the South Col outside in the rain (rather than keep it inside my tent/vestibule) without it soaking up weight is enticing.

  2. “Brain”? First time I’ve ever heard that term. It’s always been a “lid” to everyone I’ve ever met and sold gear to while working at a shop.

    • Hey Colin, I think the ‘brain’ vs ‘lid’ distinction is pretty minor and a result of where each of us learned about packs. Everyone I work with calls it the brain, but you and I are both referring to the same thing.

  3. Hey Colin, I think the ‘brain’ vs ‘lid’ distinction is pretty minor and a result of where each of us learned about packs. Everyone I work with calls it the brain, but you and I are both referring to the same thing.

  4. I took the Lowe-Alpine Metanoia to Nepal last Autumn and it performed fantastically. 65:80 Litres so well worth looking at and comes in at the same weight 1.7kg, excuse the Brit using Kilograms. Very well featured and carried loads of up to 20kg in it without problems on Ama dablam.

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