Mountainsmith is a company founded on the thought that frustration may be just as much a mother to invention as necessity ever was. In the late 1970s, Patrick Smith founded the Golden, Colo., company after repeated disappointment with the backpack designs of the day.
The company’s newest line of products — the Road Trippin’ Series — is in response to the messy, disheveled, unorganized and, yes, frustrating manner in which outdoors gear can clutter a vehicle during a road trip.
Marketed as an entirely new category of outdoor product, the Road Trippin’ Series includes 15 soft-sided crates, totes, bags and zippered storage cubes made to work systematically in the name of better gear organization. The rip-stop polyester cases walk a fine line between luggage and storage container. The products have handles, zippers and pockets just like little pieces of luggage, but they are not made to be hauled around very far individually.
Instead, all the small containers are designed to fit in a Modular Hauler, which is a kind of square duffle bag. The theory is that this piecemeal system will promote less chaos by letting you grab, say, a storage cube of fishing lures and equipment from a Modular Hauler stocked with a weekend’s worth of outdoors gear. Your clothing would go in one bin, camp supplies in the next and so on.
Mountainsmith offers three sizes of the Modular Hauler and 12 storage containers, which include six storage cubes, four zip-top totes and two open-top totes. All but one of the storage containers have see-through mesh tops for viewing of the contents inside. All can be purchased individually, letting you pick and choose the size and type of storage you need.
Two insulated cooler cubes are included in the line of storage containers, with the basic Cooler Cube model offering padded, insulated side panels and a waterproof liner. The Deluxe Cooler Cube adds side mesh pockets, an interior zip pocket, an integrated bottle opener and a fold-down beverage tray.
Another unique model is the Boot Cube, which is made to fit a pair of alpine ski boots, hip waders or muddy work boots. This model has extra ventilation and grommet holes for drainage on the bottom.
Prices range from $10 for a Basic Cube on up to $45 for the Boot Cube and $50 for the Deluxe Cooler Cube. The small Modular Hauler, which measures 15 × 15 × 15 inches and fits two Basic Cubes, goes for $20. The largest Modular Hauler costs $40. It can accommodate four Basic Cubes and has the capacity to store 7,500 cubic inches of hats, boots, ropes, shoes, packs, tents, sleeping bags and all the other gear that regularly inhabits your vehicle’s trunk.
Contact: Mountainsmith, 1-800-551-5889, www.mountainsmith.com.