'Faster, Lighter' Mountainsmith Pack for 2013

It weighs just 1.9 pounds empty. When loaded, the Mountainsmith Haze can carry 50 liters’ worth of gear — enough for a week-long trip if you pack right.

We got a sneak peek at the to-be-released pack last week. The occasion was an event in Boulder, Colo., and while we only hiked a bit with the pack on it felt solid and well-designed.

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Mountainsmith Haze

What makes it different? It’ll be a good deal to start, at msrp $129, when it’s released in early 2013.

For the hiker counting ounces who doesn’t want to skimp on a pack with a few key features, the Haze seems like a nice in between — the build is light and simple, but features abound.

There’s a big, open main body, outer mesh stuff pockets, pole carriers, ice axe loops, and two smaller outer pockets that make organizing gear easier than what you get with lighter “sack”-style packs.

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Design takes weight off shoulders, adds load to lumbar

The Haze eliminates not only the frame (it has a simple foam back-sheet) but also the lid. The lid is replaced with a dust cover and two straps that can be crossed or run in parallel over the top opening and cinched down to hold it shut.

It uses thin but tough rip-stop nylon and heavier fabric in high-use areas on the bottom. While lightweight, the Haze still employs Mountainsmith’s unique hip belt design and lumbar padding, which are advertised to transfer weight better to the user’s skeleton and minimize shoulder load.

For those going super light, the 12mm thick foam back-sheet can be removed and used as a sleeping pad at night. This lets you leave a normal sleeping pad at home, cutting more weight.

Overall, the Haze looks to be a solid entry into the ultra-light backpacking realm. Its fair price and solid build might make it a top pick next year for those hoping to go “faster and lighter” on the trail and in the wilds.

—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor based in Denver.

Posted by Carl - 09/12/2012 08:32 AM

Looks great to me!
what does it offer for waterproofing? i’m assuming none by the dust cover… :/

Posted by jpea - 09/12/2012 09:26 PM

Carl, I would assume none, but at $129, that’s probably a gimme. Heck, for a few hundred bucks, many packs still leave you wet and soggy.

Posted by Andrew Skurka - 09/12/2012 10:32 PM

No backpack is reliably “waterproof” in the long run, and few are in the short run either. Water can enter through seams and zippers, or straight through uncoated pack fabric. Packs with welded seams and coated fabric are waterproof to start, but over time the coating loses its effectiveness.

The cheapest tool that will keep you pack’s contents dry is a trash compactor bag. A 20 gallon is sufficient for most packs. (If this size is not big enough, reconsider what you are packing.)

Roll-top pack liners like those from Sea to Summit are also viable. More expensive but more reliable. I recommend the heavier fabric since ultra light fabrics lose the WPness quickly.

Posted by Sean - 09/14/2012 10:12 AM

According to Mountainsmith the pack is made with a DWR coating. This won’t be ‘waterproof’ but water resistant. I personally find that a light trash bag works just fine and doesn’t add much weight or bulk.

Posted by David from Solar Phone Charger - 10/17/2012 01:33 AM

aterials and the lack of insulation, provides a lighter boot that is suited for moving fast on.

Posted by Bryant - 12/20/2012 10:44 PM

Mountainsmith is garbage.

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