Eastern Mountain Sports was founded in 1967 by a couple of ambitious rock climbers. Their goal was to offer a better selection of outdoor gear at competitive pricing and build a business around their lifestyles. Along the way, they realized that not only could they sell big name brands like The North Face, Sierra Designs and Marmot, but that they could also develop their own house brand EMS products. As EMS products have evolved and expanded in scope, their quality and functionality has also improved. The EMS Ascent 4700 backpack is a great example of this fine-tuned product development. The result is a highly functional backpack for extended trips that won’t break the bank.
EMS Ascent 4700 Details
EMS has obviously spent a lot of time in product development over the years to come up with the Ascent 4700 and other EMS products. The Ascent 4700 is built for overnight or multi-day adventures in the backcountry with great expandability and pockets galore. You can carry between 4700 and 5100 cu. in. inside this top-loading pack by extending the Spindrift collar at the top of the bag.
The suspension design is built for adjustability and comfort to carry a wide range of loads with wide webbing and adjustability to fit 18-22 inch torsos. The back panel is built to wick moisture away from your sweaty back for maximum comfort.
Some other great features of the Ascent 4700 are the large dual water bottle pockets and the ability to carry a hydration bladder inside the pack. You’ll definitely stay hydrated on those long summer hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail.
It has a built-in sleeping bag compartment and compression straps galore to reduce or expand your load-carrying ability. The pack can easily carry your skis, an ice axe and plenty of other gear on the outside of the pack if the need arises. And, a daisy chain on the back panel, with burly rubberized material backing, allows you to carry snowshoes or crampons without worrying about them cutting holes in the pack.
EMS Ascent 4700 Backpack Performance
I had a quick backpacking trip in Big Cottonwood Canyon planned and the Ascent 4700 would be the perfect pack to carry all my gear to Lake Martha. Loading up the pack was easy. The main compartment is roomy and expandable (great for someone like me who always carries too much), but the sleeping bag compartment could be tight for some synthetic bags. My Moonstone Morpheus 20-degree sleeping bag fits inside the pocket like a glove, but my synthetic 0-degree Kelty bag wouldn’t stand a chance.
I was able to pack plenty of provisions and gear into the Ascent 4700–including a modest 2-man tent–with plenty of room to spare. I really appreciated the large panel compartment on the back with mesh dividers and pockets to keep those little items organized. A key loop is also included to make sure you don’t lose your car keys while you’re away.
Since I preferred to use a hydration bladder, the large water bottle pockets proved handy for everything but water. They expand easily and can accommodate lots of things like a roll of toilet paper, or my GCI Outdoor Trail-Sling chair. It’s nice having such large outside mesh pockets to stash items in a pinch–kudos for the pockets!
The suspension was easily adjusted for my average frame and height. I felt like I could easily tweak the shoulder straps or waist belt on the fly as needed. The shoulder straps didn’t ever feel like they were digging into my shoulders or anything of the sort. Just a comfortable load throughout the trip.
I really liked the Spindrift collar, which allows you to expand the Ascent to 5100 cu. in. On the way in, I had it extended just a bit, but on the way out, I was able to compress everything a bit better and compact the load. This is a great feature!
The Bottom Line
The $149.00 EMS Ascent 4700 backpack is a versatile and durable overnight or multi-day backpack. I was very impressed with the overall quality and functionality of the Ascent pack. I’ve been unimpressed with some house-brand products in the past, but the Ascent 4700 is on par with any of the big name brands at a fraction of the price. With nice features like an expandable collar and large water bottle pockets, the Ascent 4700 can expand to carry loads of gear, but can also compress down to carry smaller loads. EMS backs up their products with a lifetime warranty and I think this pack will easily last a lifetime.