Right off the bat, this is a good-looking bag if you are looking for something with that industrial, canvas-y, hardcore durability style. This season it comes in Cobalt, Moss and Phantom. My personal favorite is the moss but if you want to stick out a little more go with the cobalt.
This bag has a strong build. You can really see where MR has really put in the attention to detail on every stitch on this pack. Between the 400D nylon, Urethane-coated YKK zippers, and Duraflex SR Buckles, this bag was made to be top notch with no weak links in its chain. All the zippers slide very smoothly and the buckles clip right into place.
Pockets and Storage
For exterior storage, there are two webbing chains with adjustable cord locks with loops near the sleeping bag compartment for extra security. These are perfect for holding trekking poles, ice axes, or anything of the like that you could need.
The sleeping bag compartment has a great design. With a coated zipper and buckle across the outside, the bag is sure to stay secure in the pocket. However, my favorite part about this sleeping bag compartment is the vertical strap they have placed near the outside of the pocket. When fastened, this strap keeps your sleeping bag from trying to decompress and put stress on the zipper of the bag. Instead, all of the pressure is held by the strand of webbing. Small things like this can really expand the lifespan of a pack and help you remember how much thought really went into this product.
On the side of the bag they gave us a zipper that spans the length of the main pocket with two zippers on it which is great for accessing anything from that main area.
There are two pockets on the exterior face of the bag that have actually been done very well because they have a full shape to them. By this I mean it does not feel like a flat envelope style pocket, they actually have three dimensions. I also love that you can fill them even when the main compartment is stuffed. That being said, the two pockets are fighting for the same space, so, if one is full, the other one must be empty. This could be a really good place to cycle out clean or dirty clothes as one would start full and shrink as the trip went on and the other would reciprocate.
On the sides of the bag, there are two stretch mesh water bottle pockets. These pockets are great for Nalgene bottles or running your tent poles vertically along the side of your pack. That being said, stretch mesh seems to be notorious for ripping over time and while this pack is not immune to that, MR has actually wrapped the 400D nylon around the bottom of the water bottle pocket to give it extra protection in the places where it hits the ground when you set the pack down.
There are two horizontal compression straps on both sides of the bag above the water bottle pockets. The one that covers the water can be routed to go outside the pocket or inside. This is very convenient and makes those pockets useful for much more than just water bottles.
The brain of this bag is removable to become a smaller day bag. The design MR used for this system is actually a lot better than the ones I have seen on other day bag brains. The harness removes from the main pack and fits in the lid. This is one of the only day pack lids that can fit a water bladder and still is comfortable. The upper pocket can hold a full 3L/100oz bladder just like the pack can. The lower one can easily fit a camera or lots of food and a rain jacket.
The Frame of this pack is extremely comfortable. It evenly disperses the weight across both shoulders and throws some down on your hips as well. When trying it on, you MUST PUT IN WEIGHT. The reason I say this is because the frame will only arch off of your back and become most comfortable when it is under weight tension. It is also very adjustable to fit many people or be easy to micro adjust to be just perfect for you. The hip belt on this pack has attachment points that go back to the body of the bag. Basically, what is going is the wider your pack is, the more the weight is pushed on your hips. The more you load this pack with, the harder it will work to keep that weight on your hips.
I would have loved to see two straps on the bottom of the bag for a sleeping pad or tent or something long like that. I feel like this is a must-have for every pack so I was sad to see that it did not have that.
I feel like this pack is amazing for the group guide or someone who wants to never worry about carrying too much weight. Personally, I aim for something a little lighter weight so this bag may be a bit overkill for my liking; however, when you need something reliable for many long trips and excursions, this is the bag for you.