"I bought my pack in 1986 when I became a scoutmaster. It has been my only pack for 20 years with only 1 repair. My troop camped 3 days a month, scout camp every summer, and various trips and training courses with only 1 repair. It has finally failed, the plastic clip that the shoulder harness connect to and adjust broke while loading the truck to come home from a trip in January.
I hope that my next pack is this good."
"My Contour IV has survived 3 trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico (with a flight to and from Newark Airport each time) and more than 5 plus years weekend camping in the north east. I like this pack as it has handled Large (80 lbs. when i was young, dumb, and full of... oh nvm) loads with ease. I never had a problem with it. I am shopping around for a new pack, as he pack itself is heavy. As someone else said, this is a great beginer pack (priced as it was a long time ago). If you have a lot of stuff to carry, this is the way to go. If you want something light, look elsewhere."
"I jumped from a external pack to this internal pack and have been happy ever since. The only complaint I have about my pack is that the shoulder straps keep on twisting and sometimes begin to chaffe my shoulder. I have loaded this pack (nievely mind you) to 60lbs. and had no problems with the weight distribution. I think that I happen to of stubbled upon the last pack I will ever buy, it looks like it is going to last a lifetime."
"I've had this bag for 4 years and carried it for at least 400 miles with loads ranging from 15 for a weekend trip to 55 pounds for an 11 day trip without re-supply and it has handled them all quite competently. It has proved to be tough, solid and versatile. It was definiteyly well worth the 149 dollars I paid for it.
Proper adjustrment of the bag, especially the laddering system is essential. At first, I was very unhappy with the bag until I realized that the salesperson at EMS had misadjusted the bag for me. After correcting the laddering, and readjusting the lifters the pack traveled quite well. I'd suggest experimenting with the adjustments if you experience discomfort. Some adjustments work better with different loads.
This isn't a bag with a huge amount of finesse and it weighs a lot. I'm planning to buy a smaller and lighter weight bag, but I will continue to use this for big loads when needed."
"This is by far the best bag I have ever strapped to my back. It has plenty of room and even more comfort. I highly recomend it for enthusiasts."
"I have had this pack for a couple years and I love it. The only minor complaint that I have about it is the plastic disks at the bottom of the shoulder straps, that dig into my sides somtimes. I believe that this problem has been fixed in more recent versions of this pack. I highly recommend this pack."
"I've been very happy with this internal frame pack. It is one of the few that properly fit my long torso. The pocket design is very minimalist but effective allowing for a better use of space than loads of side pockets usually do. There is just enough room in the sleeping bag compartment for my bulky winter bag with plenty of space left over in the top section for 3-4 days of supplies.
My only complaint is that the suspension system is a bit of a struggle to set properly but once it is set you don't have to worry about it again.
It is a great pack for someone who doesn't have $ to burn ($180-210) but wants high quality nevertheless."
"This backpack has some awesome features like the expandible top that adds 900 cu in. and the sleeping bag pouch is well designed the enclosure is kind of diffucult to explain but definately check this one out!!"
"This is good pack for someone who is looking for a large pack to carry two to three days worth of stuff. (<40lbs)
When you exceed 40lbs, the suspension system begins to flex and the pack sags really bad. The pack will also sway if you have the slightest amount of weight in the top. If you tighten down the load lifter straps, the pack is very uncomfortable.
The ladder adjustment system is a joke. It began to slip the very first time I used it and has never stopped. Since I am tall, I had to use the uppermost buckle for the load lifter straps. When you do this, you leave a secondary buckle under the strap, which constantly dug into my back.
If you want a large pack for a good price, buy this one. If you want something comfortable and that will last forever, save your money and look at the Dana's, Ospreys, of the Arcteryx."
"I have had this backpack since my freshman year of high school, I am now a sophmore in college. I used in boy scouts and also all over the place. I even used it for a 3 month long trip to Europe and the amazing thing is that after the abuse of Europe, 100 mile backpacking trip and the usual abuse of a teen this still is like new condition. Also many have complained about the straps digging in. SORRY BUT THOSE WHO COMPLAIN ARE REALLY DUMB. The nice part of this backpack is its ability to conform to the persons body, though getting the proper fit takes a bit but once you got it to properly fit, it nicely snugs against your back. Also the room is huge. This is great for huge backpacking trips and in Europe. Some people say that once you use the expansion part it becomes top heavy and is a problem. Well good greef. In europe it was packed to the brim. My center of gravity wasnt affected. I could easly move around. So if you have a problem with it being to much of a problem when expanded then you should have gone with the smaller version the Lowe Alpine Contoure III.
Also this is one of the best packs you can get for you money.
DONT TRUST ANY REVIEWS TRY IT FOR YOUR SELF AND EITHER YOU WILL LIKE IT OR NOT"
"I've has this pack since 1989. It has accompanied me on every trip lasting from 1-2 days to 7-8 days. It carries weight well and very comfortably as long as properly adjusted. The craftsmanship and materials are the best. This pack is 13 yrs old and has endured much abuse including three days of clambering through blowdown abd bushwhacking in the dense forest of the Adirondacks. There isn't one worn stich and the fabrics remain like new. This pack wears like iron! Side pockets would make this pack head and shoulders above the rest."
"I have used this backpack from Alaska to Patagonia with Europe and a ton of volcanoes in between. It has never let me down. I have a good friend with the same pack who has been harder on it then I have and aside from a buckle problem (fixed on later models)neither of us have a single complaint.
I hiked 45 miles in two days with 100 pounds in it after a 17 day Aconcagua climb without a single saddle sore.
It has been my summmit pack, travel bag, work horse climbing pack and wall decoration for so many years I feel like it's a part of me. But it was just stolen coming back from another South American climbing excursion. This has given me time to look around at what other packs are on the market and when the chips are down there is only one pack I am considering. The Lowe Alpine Contour IV."
"This is a great pack for beginners who plan to use the pack to do some camping and some travelling. It holds A LOT of crud. That's good when you're just starting out hiking, since you'll be taking heavy stuff that you think you need out into the woods.
All that said, it's really a jack of all trades, king of none. It'll hold more clothes than you're likely to need while backpacking Europe. It's heavier than what you want to be carrying on short hikes. And the suspension does not handle loads over about 40 pounds very well, so it won't leave you very comfortable on long hikes.
I'm now trying to lighten my pack, tent, bag and accessories, to get under the 30 pound mark on hikes of seven days or less, and this pack will be the first thing to go. I'm getting a Mountainsmith Mountainlight.
All the limitations stated, it's a pretty good deal, and it will not fall apart. Just expect that you'll want something more specialized in a few years, if you decide to extensive trekking."
"I have had mine for 2 years and about 150 miles. From climbing in sierras, to the bottom of Grand Canyon. For me it is very comfortable, when uncomfortable, just adjust straps a little. Very durrable, and carries lots of stuff, which is probably a negitive. Its hard to leave stuff behind. If I ware this out I will get another, but it will be a while."
"I've owned two! The first came to an untimely death while I used it daily to haul food/laundry/water to a very remote cabin in central coastal California. It died of road rash during a fall off a Yamaha enduro, while containing a 5 gallon bottle of water.
The second bought on 1997, is still going strong, no more motorcycle rides, strictly backpacking throughout California & Arizona. If you can't fit it in this pack...you don't need it! It is a bit heavy, and lots of newer packs are probably a bit more comfortable, but I'm too cheap and confident in this one to replace it.
Bombproof, reliable and comfortable."
"I've owned a Contour IV since 1993 and have put many miles with it in the U.P. of Michigan and Isle Royale.
This has been a great pack, I've been completely stisfied with this pack. It has a comfortable suspension system and can carry a large load with ease. I have carried as much as 85 lbs. on a 4 day trip with no problems. I have the older suspension with the harness on a web slider. This is a very easy system to adjust, I don't know why the changed.
I had purchased the Lowe side pockets to go with it. These add great versatility and extra capacity to an already large pack.
There are only a couple of drawbacks to it's size the compression system works well to hold the load in place except if your going light, It cant compress small enough for small loads. Also when its fully compressed the pockets fold slightly. neither are a big deal unless you travel light often.
The quality of materials and construction are first rate. The only failure I've had is a slider pull that broke off one side of the sleeping bag hatch. It was easily fixed with a peace of wire for a pull.
In a field of new whiz bang gadget bags the Contour IV is a great value. I give it 5 stars."