The Mountainsmith Lumbar Classic Series “Day” pack is one of Mountainsmith’s most popular lumbar daypacks. This pack is manufactured for a variety of activities to include, hiking, school, or urban touring. The Day pack is made of 100 percent recycled PET fabric and has a variety of features. These features including a removable shoulder strap, air mesh foam back panel, two water bottle pockets, two compression straps, zippered main compartment, elastic rigging, Delta compression load system adjustment, reflective highlights, and a key clip. The inside lining of the bag is manufactured from a yellow colored fabric, thus making it easy to view items stored inside the various storage compartments. The zippers are all YKK and have a piece of material attached to them making them easier to grab and use. This material also has a rubber coating on the end of the zippers, which adds to their ease of use and durability. This pack as tested was black in color with yellow trim. This pack is also compatible with the Mountainsmith Strapette shoulder strap harness, which will convert the lumbar pack into a daypack, thus accommodating heavier loads. The Strapette shoulder strap harness is sold separately.
Upon receipt of the Mountainsmith “Day” pack, I was immediately impressed by the recycled materials used to manufacture the pack. The recycled PET fabric seemed tough and durable, the zippers performed well and I especially liked the material and the rubber added to the zippers to add to the ease of use. As I packed the bag with a variety of items needed for the trail, I discovered I liked the inside fabric being a bright yellow. This color made it easier to see inside the bag and differentiate between the dark color of the outside of the pack and the bright color on the inside.
While preparing for my first day hike with this pack, I was also impressed with the storage compartments on the “Day” pack. I packed two 32 ounce water bottles in the mesh water bottle pockets and used the straps to tighten the mesh holders securing the bottles. I used the main compartment to store a survival kit, first-aid kit, rain jacket, a fleece jacket and food for the day. In the secondary storage compartment, I packed my gloves, a Windstopper hat, a headlamp and my map and still had room. I also discovered that behind the back panel there is a storage area for plane tickets, maps, or a small book.
As I placed the Day pack on for the first time, it was a bit different, as I am used to wearing a backpack and not a lumbar pack. I found the waist belt easy to adjust and very comfortable to wear. I used the two compression straps to secure the load and found that I was able to access the water bottles on the fly, but it did take a little work. While wearing the pack, I found it to be comfortable and ride well on my hips. I was a little worried that it would slide around and move a lot, especially when climbing over rocks, trees, or debris, but I did not find this to be the case.
While using this pack as my main day hiking pack over the next several weeks, I continued to be impressed with the comfort and durability of this pack. The pack continued to be able to store enough gear, food and water for an extended day trip, was comfortable enough to wear all day and durable enough to perform well in a variety of terrain and weather conditions. I found that while not waterproof, the pack does resist light rain and snow well and the outer fabric is durable enough to be scraped against rocks, trees, and branches and fend off sand, gravel and mud. Even after helping a friend carry some of their gear out of a large canyon and overloading this pack, it still performed well. While the pack did slide on my hips some, I was able to utilize all the storage compartments, the elastic rigging, the gear loops and the compression straps to carry and secure a variety of gear. The fabric and the pack itself handled the added gear and weight fine, but I found myself having to adjust the waist belt to keep it from sliding due to the extra weight. To be fair, I did overload the pack, which probably caused the pack to slide on my hips. This is a situation, where the Mountainsmith Strapette shoulder strap harness may have prevented this sliding.
Having performed well on the trail, I began using this pack in an urban setting. This included using this pack as a carry on piece of luggage while traveling and also as a sort of briefcase or knapsack around town. I found that by attaching the shoulder strap, the pack made an excellent carryon luggage while traveling. I was able to store a variety of things in this pack while traveling and found it to be comfortable to use by utilizing the shoulder strap, utilizing the handle strap on the top of the pack or wearing it around my waist. While traveling, I utilized the airline pocket behind the back panel to store my airline tickets, the key clip to store my keys, the water bottle holders and the main compartments. I found that while using the shoulder strap, the waist belt can easily be tucked away to allow for easy carry.
I continued to use the pack in an urban setting as my main storage device while teaching various outdoor classes. During these classes I routinely packed the pack with numerous documents, notebooks, writing utensils, a compass, calculator, several books and other teaching aids. I continued to find that the Day pack performed well. It was comfortable to carry, contained ample storage area and a variety of storage options. I also began to notice, that despite being utilized as a day pack on numerous hiking trails, having been used to travel around the United States and also as a briefcase while teaching classes, the pack showed little signs of wear. Some areas of the pack needed some cleaning from the wear and tear of everyday use, but the pack itself continued to display little signs of wear or trauma.
I found that the cleaning and storage of this to be very easy. I have found that using a small towel with warm water works very well and usually removes most dirt, mud and other debris from the pack. The PET fabric seems to repel dirt and debris, making it very easy to clean. As far as storage, I simply hang the pack in my gear area, along with all my other backpacks.
After testing this pack over several months, in a variety of outdoor terrain and weather conditions and utilizing it in an urban environment, I found it to perform very well. This pack is very versatile as it will not only perform well on the trail, but at school, work or around town. If you are looking for a pack to utilize on short to medium day hikes this pack will give you all you need and more. With the added versatility of this pack, it won’t just sit in your garage when you are not hiking, since you can use it as a briefcase, book bag, and luggage or in various other aspects of your life. This pack really will allow you to get your monies worth.