As gear testers, we are always on the lookout for the best gear for every aspect of our lives. A long hunt for the perfect bag suitable for the trail has finally been achieved (at least in this author’s opinion).
Despite a mild backpack fetish, we’ve decided to look beyond the traditional means of the backpack and explore the Mountainsmith Lumbar Day Pack | Strapettes $20. The Lumbar is a fantastic pack which sits upon the waist and boasts 14 liters of space. A large rear pocket (big enough for a small laptop), smaller inner pocket (keys, wallet, etc), and medium front pocket (lunch, maps, book) are lined in bright yellow for visibility. On both sides of the pack are mesh water bottle sleeves that fit a 1 liter sized bottle, and there are a TON of adjustment points across the pack for the perfect fit. Additionally there is a padded mesh sleeve that sits on the lower back which is very comfortable and capable of holding airline tickets. Mountainsmith went the extra mile and developed “Strapettes” which are shoulder straps the fit on to the pack and help distribute the weight.
To properly test this bag we took it out for a good hike along one of the favorite West Coast Gear Patrol proving grounds, Peters Canyon. The Lumbar was loaded up with a Canon 20D, 2.5 liters of water, lunch, a small survival kit, and the contents that usually reside in my pockets (wallet, keys, cell phone, etc). A full-sized backpack is overkill for a day hike, and the above listed contents over bounce around a partially full pack. The Lumbar fit the bill perfectly holding all the items I needed with room to spare. Because the pack sits more on the waist and not directly on the back, the usual sweaty back (not what Justin Timberlake brought back) was absent after a hearty day hike. The Strapettes are a must have, and distribute the weight beautifully.
The Lumbar may be the perfect small sized pack; big enough for a day or two on the trail and also functional enough to use as an overnight or carry-on bag. We have fallen in love with this pack and agree that you will too.
Green Note: The Mountainsmith Lumbar Day Pack is made from 100% Recycled PET fabric.