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Pick A Pack: The Mountain Standard 28L Mountain Utility Pack

Pick A Pack: The Mountain Standard 28L Mountain Utility Pack

We became acquainted with Mountain Standard, a Colorado based gear company, through Instagram. Kim found a photo of one of their hats and loved it, then we got their mugs, and eventually, the backpack!

They provide high quality gear at some pretty low prices. This further intrigued me, as their backpacks are some of the lowest priced outdoor-minded bags I have seen around.

Just in time for Christmas, they had a great sale going on and I put my list together. My requested combo was the 28L Mountain Utility Pack, the Compadre Accessory Pouch, and a Key Hook. Santa (or Kim) was quick to fill the wish list, and these items were waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning!

I've hauled this bag around to quite a few places in the months since I got it. So far, my favorite thing about this pack is that it is very durable. It has scuffed along rough boulders, been dropped in the dirt, plopped in a snow drift, and came out looking just as good as new. 

The design is really cool - it is sleek, clean, and sharp looking. The details, like the Mountain Standard patch and the glyphs printed on the back, really add to the nice look.

The main zipper opening allows space for putting a camera insert into the pack. I use a Timbuk2 Snoop to convert bags into a camera bag, but it doesn't fit in a few narrow backpacks I have tried. The Snoop fits inside the Utility Pack perfectly, and keeps my gear safe in the bag. There is still plenty of room for first aid, layers, snacks, water, and more. The bag holds more than it seems like it should at times. I've gotten it pretty packed and heavy, and it still carries comfortably.

The shoulder straps are lightweight and breathable, and easily adjustable. The chest strap has a magnetic attachment, instead of the typical clip buckle. This is a cool detail that Mountain Standard included, and has left me wondering why my other bags don't do that. It makes for easy, one handed opening and closing of the chest strap.

The hip belt is just a strap, no pouches. It stows away when not in use, but it's there should you need it. 

The front of the pack provides quite a few molle straps, allowing for a great combo of attachments. Carabiners clip on easily and hold anything you want to add. Mountain Standard has a Compadre Pouch that attaches perfectly for an additional exterior pocket. This is a great way to attach some quick access items - medication, sunscreen, camera batteries or film, a snack, etc. The Compadre Pouch is 7.5" x 5.25", has a zip access main pocket, and an exterior overlap (no zip) pocket. It's made of the same materials as the pack, so it matches perfectly. Two long Velcro straps on the back allow for secure attachment to a backpack.

There are two compression straps on each side, which allow for the pack to be compressed if not full. They also allow for larger items to be attached - tripods, chairs, pads, etc. These are easily attachable, and have sturdy aluminum buckles - rather than typical plastic.

The top pocket provides some easy access storage, too. A good size for a wallet, keys, and an iPhone 7+. I use the Mountain Standard Key Hook to attach my keys quickly. It's a durable nylon strap, with a clip on one end, and key ring on the other. This stays on my keys all the time, but makes for easy attachment when we head out with packs. 

For the price, this bag cannot be beat. In the few months that I've used this pack, it has become my go-to bag for hiking, road trips, air travel, and any kind of day trip. Here are some details:

Features Quicklist:

  • Four exterior pockets front, top, sides

  • Laptop / Hydration compartment - holds up to a 15 inch laptop or a hydration pack

  • Carry on size

  • Clam shell style top opening built with 2-way zippers

  • Stow-away waist belt

  • Compression molded back panel for durability and breathable comfort

  • Molle system on front of pack - lots of attachment points, great for Compadre Pouch

  • Shoulder harness w/ magnetic "Fidlock" buckle sternum strap (very cool!)

  • Compression straps on sides for holding gear (tripods/pads/etc)

  • Anodized aluminum hardware

  • Top mounted full grain leather handle

  • Full grain leather Mountain Standard patch

  • Top pocket key loop - perfect for the Key Hook

  • Pack built with high tenacity rip stop, laminated, triple layer - durable!

  • "Hypalon" bottom - keeps the interior dry if you put the pack down in snow!

Size (from Mountain Standard website):

  • Dimensions – 20" x 11" x 6"

  • Gear capacity (L) – 28 Liters

  • Weight – 2lbs 10oz

What I Love:

  • It's basic, but totally equipped. Molle loops and straps make it easy to attach all kinds of stuff to the outside.

  • It fits well and wears very comfortably. I'm 5'6" for reference.

  • The unique front pocket with a vertical zipper - it's odd at first, but in use, this is such a cool place to stash all sorts of easily accessible items.

  • The top pocket - easy access to keys, phone, wallet, etc.

  • It looks super cool! And it didn't cost a fortune!

What I Don't Love:

  • So far, not much...

  • It only comes in black, and while it's a sharp looking bag in black, it gets warm in the sun.

  • It likes to attract and hang onto fuzz, lint, and our kitties fur. But, it brushes off fairly easy.

This bag really has become my favorite pack. The price cannot be beat, but it is also incredibly functional and well designed for the price. From snowy hikes, to boulder play, to quick flights out of town, or just a bag to throw things in for a road trip... this pack gets it done. I fight the urge every day to turn it into my daily carry bag. It makes me want to go outside and play.

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