Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack

The Gadgeteer has a good review of the Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack. I have an older version of this bag and for years it has been my preferred shoulder bag for travel. (This, in conjunction with a travel pack have made up my carry-on only luggage.) My Mountainsmith Day has been to all 7 continents with me, been used to hike through jungles in Panama, hung it on the wall next to my hammock on a riverboat in the Amazon jungle, used for weekend trips across in Japan, taken with me for landings in Antarctica, stuffed into lockers across Europe, was used as my day bag in Namibia, my gear bag in India, and on my waist as while hiking the Blue Mountains of Australia and hiking with Yakuza on Miyajima Island in Japan. I've even gone on overnight hikes with it in Florida. (I have a small, one-man tent that fits inside.)

The Mountainsmith Day by far the most versatile bag I have ever owned. It excels as a lumbar pack with better technical support on the waist than most trekking packs I have used. The waist strap can be tucked away and it includes a shoulder strap that allows you to use it like a normal shoulder bag. It has handles for easy carrying and even has optional backpack straps that turn it into a backpack. It also can piggy-back onto many Mountainsmith (and other) technical packs.

This bag has never let me down. After many years of use, one of the seams is slowly coming undone between the main compartment and the outer pocket, but other than that, it's held up like a champ. The water bottle pockets are the best of any bag I've owned, with adjustable bungee cords to hold containers in.

I think the newer version is somewhat more professional looking than the one I have. Some other improvements include better padding on the back, an easier to stow waist belt, more padding on the shoulder strap, cinch straps on the bottom that can also be used to lash gear onto the pack, and slightly better internal organization. See detailed images of the bag here and here.

While there have been times when I wished it had slightly larger storage capacity, I don't think there is anything I would change about the design of this bag. In case you can't tell, I really like it. Highly recommended!

P.S. -- Below are a few shots of me with the bag in Antarctica, Italy, India, Panama, and Uruguay. (I'm using it in conjunction with an Eagle Creek shoulder strap.)

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(click images for larger view)

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