Sierra Designs Ministry 40 vs Sierra Designs Prophecy 35
These are both very nice packs. I would be fine with either one on a one to 2 day excursion in the back country. The first thing I noticed was the difference between the top closure on these packs. The ministry has a pull string collar (which would be very nice in heavy rain or snow). While the Prophecy pack has a zipper that goes all the way down the front and along the brim of the top.
I am not sure if the differences in the way the tops close would really make a difference out in the elements. I have never owned a pack before with the zipper style like the Prophecy backpack. I can say one thing for certain, this is a whole lot more convenient to get into. You don’t have to mess around with latches! Just undo one very clever “S” type hook and unzip it all the way down to the bottom.
There are plenty of other very noticeable differences as well. The Prophecy has exterior side pockets, while the Ministry has loops to hold your skis and a long vertical pocket on the very front face. Personally I would rather have side pockets over ski loops, but I am sure not everyone would agree. The ministry also has 2 side pouches for crampons/water bottle. The prophecy has no water holder on the outside.
The Ministry 40 and the Prophecy 35 Both of course have a place to insert your water bladder. However The Ministry 40’s storage area is insulated with foam!
The straps and back of both of these packs are essentially the same. The only visible difference is the color of the material in different spots.
Summary: Between these two packs I would choose( if I didn’t already own both of them 🙂 the prophecy 35 for my needs. I like the side pockets and the quick access. Its unfortunate there aren’t water bottle holders, but in reality I would probably have a nalgene bottle with a caribeaner anyway and I could click it onto one of the many loops that both packs have. The Ministry is larger, but not that much. 200 cubic inches is hard to even notice. I do love all of the compression straps that the ministry has. The prophecy has nowhere to attach a tent or sleeping bag. If I were a more practical person I suppose I would choose the ministry, because it has more features and only costs 10$ more.