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Re: [at-l] RE: Mountainsmith Packs

Solophile said:

>I thru-hiked in '97 with a Mountainsmith pack and loved it.
>If it fits you, if it feels good, and if it goes the distance without
>falling apart, it's a great pack (FOR YOU).
>I didn't need all the bells and whistles on my Mountainsmith, so
>I cut them off and reduced my pack's weight by over a pound.....

My sense is that the new MS packs are better than the old ones, which were
state of the art for a while but stayed around too long. I throughhiked
with a MS Frostfire II, not their top-of-the-line model, and an old design
that was phased out in '95, though some are still around in stores.

I was never really happy with mine, but it got me to Maine. When I was
overweight, the hip belt wasn't long enough to ride comfortably. When I'd
lost weight, it still wasn't comfortable with a 50 pound load. I wished it
had one of the built-in fanny packs when I wanted to slackpack. I wished it
had a compartment to separate the sleeping bag from other gear. Buckles
broke and had to be replaced. Straps ripped out and had to be re-stitched.
By the end, some of the seams were beginning to pop.

But it got me there, and I couldn't afford the $400 or $500 for a
top-of-the-line Gregory, Dana or (yes) Mountainsmith. *No* pack is going to
make carrying 50 pounds pleasant, though some designs may make it less
uncomfortable, and the Dana people had a nice customer-service policy that
let people change their hipbelts as their waistline evolved. Still, the MS
was big enough to carry my large-sized gear and big load of food. I could
fix the things that broke. It was always a burden, but every full backpack
is a burden--the shortcomings were never more than annoyances.

I'd pretty much decided to get a new pack when I came home. I told my
outfitter about it. You know, they told me, Mountainsmith has a lifetime
warranty. They'll restitch and refurbish it, or replace it. So I had the
outfitter send it in. I guess I'm not done with that pack yet. Sometimes
you learn to put up with minor annoyances in an old friend.

--Rhymin' Worm

Newsletter Editor, Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers (PATH) 

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