Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack Review — Ascend to New Heights!

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By: Sonia Zannoni

When it comes to adventure outings, no matter if it is a day hike or multi-day excursion, you need to bring along some gear essentials. While some of you might be tempted to try to fit them all in your jeans pockets, well, it is not an option! It is why I have put together this review of the Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack.

When you think of reputable backpack brands, a few names may come to mind, but Black Diamond outshines them all. The company was founded in 1957 and specialized in making innovative gears design. Its dedication and perseverance make Black Diamond the company of choice for all climbers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.

Here are some features that set the Speed 40 alpine backpack apart from its competitor:


  • Black Diamond offers two sizes for the Speed backpacks. The 38L has a volume capacity of 2319 cubic inches, and the 40L capacity (2440 Cu in). Both sizes offer ample room to store all your climbing gears comfortably.
  • When it comes to colors, the choices are a bit limited. Since the Black Diamond backpack color availabilities are Graphite and Sulfur.
  • The Speed backpack is made of ripstop nylon 210D and reinforced in critical areas such as the bottom with 420D nylon.
  • The active suspension system allows the backpack to move with you while keeping your load inside the bag well-balanced and thus preventing you from tipping over.
  • The Speed 40 is lightweight as it weighs in at 2lbs 8oz (1.19Kg) for the 38L-capacity and 2lbs 10 oz (1.21Kg) for the 40L-capacity.
  • One of the neat features of the Black Diamond rucksack is its strippable design. Even though the Speed backpack is already ultralight, you can shed another extra pound on its overall weight.
  • How might you ask? By taking out the frame sheet, which can double as a bivy pad, detaching the removable hip belt, and only keeping the fixed webbing belt, and finally by taking off the removable top lid to only keep the bare essentials for your final ascent to the summit!
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Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack Review — Backpack Top View.
  • The Black Diamond is a roomy backpack with its main compartment and two outer pockets, enabling you to have easy and quick access to your essentials.
  • Even though there is only one main compartment, you can still keep your climbing gears organized and readily accessible mainly because the Speed pack has external attachment straps. There is one for your crampons and another for your ice tool called PickPockets to fasten your gears to the outside of the bag.
  • The rucksack is hydration compatible, enabling you to stay hydrated while ascending to the summit. It can fit a reservoir of up to 3 Liters.
  • The Black Diamond Speed 40 is water-resistant to some extent and will keep your belongings dry. Why isn’t it totally water-resistant? Mainly because of the drawcord closure skirt feature at the top. It can withstand spindrift and light precipitation. To fully waterproof your alpine backpack, you will need a rain cover, which is sold separately.
  • The thermoformed back panel makes the backpack comfortable to wear. However, the back panel’s materials are non-breathable. If you plan to carry the Speed backpack for an extended period, you might end up with some discomfort due to a sweaty back.

My Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack Review

Before I share my thoughts about the Black Diamond Speed backpack, let’s clarify a myth that still persists to this day.

Many people believe that you can do outdoor activities only during the summertime. This is absolutely FALSE! You can practice your favorite outdoor activities all year round.

With that being said, let’s move along with my review. The Black Diamond Speed is an all-season pack making it ideal for outdoor activities such as climbing, skiing, and mountaineering. Still, its usage is not limited to only the above-mentioned. It can also be used for hiking, backpacking trips, or everyday use.

However, if you plan for a long excursion in the wilderness, let’s say 4-5 days; I don’t recommend purchasing the Black Diamond 40 backpack. The pack is best suited for overnight stays or getaways lasting 2-3 days at the most.

Overall, the customers’ review for the Speed backpack is excellent, and its rating on Amazon is 4.5 out of 5.0. Many users find that the rucksack is ideal for rock and alpine climbing. They also find the backpack comfortable and of sturdy construction. Many users mention that they put the Speed 40 through the wringer and the pack’s performance exceeded their expectations.

However, I think that there is always room for improvement to make the backpack even better than it already is.

One of my critiques is about the breathability of the back panel. I would suggest for future updates or versions of the Speed 40 backpack to use breathable materials for the back panel, which will make it more comfortable to carry for an extended period as it will keep your back dry.

It’s just my 2 cents!

Now moving on, here are some of the Pros and Cons of the Black Diamond Speed 40 Pack:


Top loading for fast and easy access to your climbing gear.

The Black Diamond is a versatile backpack with its strippable design feature making it possible to reach the summit only with your bare essentials.

It helps keep your stuff organized with the large storage space and the external attachment straps.

The Speed 40 is made of sturdy nylon material and yet still lightweight.



Not fully waterproof, you will need a rain cover, which is sold separately.

The thermoformed back panel is made of non-breathable fabrics, leading to some discomfort when wearing the backpack for long periods.

Still unsure if the Black Diamond Speed is a good fit for your adventure outing? Here is a video below that highlights many of the awesome features of the backpack:


The Black Diamond Speed Backpack has all the features you need while climbing, skiing, mountaineering, or even a backpacking excursion.

Some of the best features the pack offers are its versatility, making it cater to your needs, and the fact that Speed 40 is an all-season backpack.

The quality of the material, the capacity it can hold, and its sturdiness make the Black Diamond Speed 40 the backpack of choice for many climbers, as seen by the many positive reviews. The fact that it is reasonably priced doesn’t hurt either.

Last update on 2024-02-22 at 19:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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4 thoughts on “Black Diamond Speed 40 Backpack Review — Ascend to New Heights!”

  1. Hello Sonia, thanks for doing a review on the Black Diamond Speed 40 backpack.

    I go hiking a lot, and I have seen a lot of backpacks that are not good enough to withstand the harsh outdoor conditions, which is unfortunate. So, maybe the next time I hit the trails, I should let my fellow hikers know about the Speed backpacks from Black Diamond 😉

    I really enjoy reading your review fill with insightful information as I learned something new today. I wasn’t very familiar with the Black Diamond’s brand. I will undoubtedly buy the Speed 40 backpack to bring along for my next hiking trip.

  2. The Black Diamond Speed Backpacks are perfect for my adventures. I live in the tropics, and we take that trek to Blue Mountain Peak once or twice a year.

    The Speed series Backpacks is so stylish looking. Even though the colors available are limited, I like the grey one.

    I like the style of the zippers and the fact that you can remove parts of the bag when not in use. I am always conscious about the weight because when we start, it might feel okay, but after the long uphill hike, it will feel heavy.

    The nylon material looks sturdy enough, which is a good thing since my backpack gets beat up quite a lot!

    • I think that you can’t go wrong with the Black Diamond Speed series backpacks. I find the Speed pack to be the ideal companion for a day-hike.

      Contrarily to you, I live in a Nordic country, Canada, and the summertime is not very long. So, I use my Speed 40 backpack during the winter when I am going cross-skiing. I find that the Backpack is the perfect size for a ski excursion. I try to keep the bag lightweight by putting only the bare essentials. Because as you said, after carrying a hiking bag for a while, it seems to get heavier and heavier!


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