Black Diamond Cirque 22 vest pack review


Dec 8, 2022
Every one of my 20+ archery day hunts this year was out of the Black Diamond Cirque 22L ski mountaineering vest pack, so I figured I'd write up some pros and cons. I obviously used a bigger, more substantial pack for packouts and backcountry hunts (2015 SG frame), but I found this vest pack to be an extremely versatile and compelling option for ultralight, mild-weather day hunts, including bike hunts.

  • 22 L is adequate capacity for me in mild weather, even when packing a separate pair of trail runners to change into from my clipless bike shoes.
  • Bow can be voile strapped to ice axe loops for a very secure attachment at a perfect angle: slanted enough not to interfere with a bike helmet while riding, but upright enough not to catch on trees in dense timber.
  • One hand Nalgene access in the bottom side zipper compartment without having to take pack off
  • Front vest pockets offer exceptionally awesome, secure storage and organization for at-hand essentials: reeds, phone, range finder, bear spray, glove liners, inreach, etc. I like to keep as much stuff out of my pants pockets as possible, and this offered a very secure and handy means of doing so.
  • Good weather resistance
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Vest suspension bears a small to moderate load surprisingly well
  • Overall excellent mountain bike pack
  • Cheesedick top handle. Ripped it out within a month, and it took BD another month to get me the warranty replacement.
  • Vest and pack obviously can't bear heavy loads. I think you'd struggle to get much more than a boned deer hind or backstraps out on your first trip back. There's no frame, just a semi rigid back panel.
  • One color option
  • Limited adjustability in fit
  • Interior storage sleeve is intended for avalanche tools and doesn't really have a use for hunting
  • Not hydration compatible
  • Works with bino harness decently but not at all perfectly
Overall, I highly recommend this pack for the use cases I described above (plus I've now skied about 50k' vert out of since beginning of December to great effect). I've day hunted out of my SG with the R3300, and with just the frame and a dry bag, and it is way too heavy for big light and fast days. Sold the Avail 2200 because I think it sucks. I would really love to see an alpine hunting-specific vest pack, with a better vest suspension, mini SG style frame staves, modular pack attachments with different volumes, bino compatibility, and other big game archery features.


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Jun 11, 2019
Nice write-up! I don't think I've seen someone with vest style pack on the mountain hunting before, but it seems like a great idea, especially for light and fast day hunts. I love the strap pockets on my trail running vest. It'd be interesting to see an alpine hunting-specific vest pack from a pack company, I feel like a bino harness company could probably make a good attempt!


Dec 8, 2022
Agreed, I think it'd be awesome-- might just have to prototype one myself!