A solid value for a mid-size pack, we put the Marmot Kompressor Star to a test this spring.
At $99, the Marmot Kompressor Star backpack is a good deal for a pack that balances technical features with great fit and versatile utility in the outdoors.
I grabbed the pack to review for cragging, hiking, as well as use in daily life where the 28-liter capacity is more than enough to tote a day’s worth of “office gear” and my climbing equipment for a session later at night.
For years, I have trusted a similar pack, Marmot’s Kompressor Plus, as an ultralight travel pack or summit bag. It’s good for those things but lacks support for bigger loads or bulky items.
As the name hints, both packs have compression straps on the sides that keep gear from jostling around on adventures. You can cinch the straps down to make the pack streamlined with lighter loads, or open them and the capacity inside expands.
Upgraded Do-All Pack
The Kompressor Star adds a frame-sheet for support to serve as its light internal frame. The added structure is great for humping ropes, shoes, my rack, and other equipment into the crag.
As a person who loves organization, the top lid was essential as it is oversized, easy to access, and it has a pocket within its own pocket, letting me zip up valuables.
A wrap-around zipper opens the main compartment, giving wide access to everything inside.
A large mesh pocket on the front is nice for quick-stash items like a rain jacket (or for smelly climbing shoes). Its fabric, thin and stretchy, keeps your gear held tight but easy to grab and pull out at any time.
Mesh shoulder straps and a contoured back panel grant breathability. On the exterior, tool attachments, the noted compression straps, and a place to put trekking poles make the Kompressor Star usable for short ultralight backpacking trips and even fast mountaineering endeavors.
One bummer: While there are stretchy water bottle pockets reachable with the pack on, Marmot does not include hip-belt pockets. We’ve come to love the quick access given by zip pockets on the belt of a pack for energy food, a compass, knife, sunscreen, or other on-the-go necessities.
Marmot touts “durability without the weight” for this model. I’d agree. The pack weighs about 1lbs 10oz when empty, with an extra-thin 70d nylon as the main body but a tough reinforced 210d nylon in high-wear spots.
Overall, the pack is streamlined and smart in design. It measures about 22 x 11.5 x 9.5 inches, and inside its 28 liters of space are enough for gear-heavy hikes or lightweight all-day adventures.
Marmot has been building packs for many years, and the Kompressor Star represents its latest incarnation of the mid-size, fast-and-light model made to do it all.
–See details on the Marmot Kompressor Star backpack.