Bottom line - a well-made weekend pack with nice features,…
Design: top loading internal
Size: 3800 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 2 plus the top, 2 small side pockets
Max. Load Carried: full - 40 pounds
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $125
Bottom line - a well-made weekend pack with nice features, comfortably carries 40 pounds.
I purchased this pack to close the gap between a small day pack and a huge 6800 cubic inch expedition pack. I use it primarily for long weekends or training hikes. I have not owned it long enough to give an opinion about long-term quality, but after 20 or so hikes and a few times getting crushed into an airplane overhead compartment, no wear, failures, or loose stitching. the design changed very little from Dana Design, an outstanding pack manufacturer that was first based in Montana, shifted manufacturing overseas, then sold out to Marmot. Reviews of the Dana Design Bridger bear out that the pack's design hasn't changed much.
The suspension, which is the most important feature for me, is very comfortable. The shoulder straps and hip pads are thin but well-cushioned and easily adjustable. the hip pad is particularly easy to adjust, with two belts that pull inward to tighten and equally distribute between the split belt. The hip belt is somewhat unusual in that it's a split belt - two sections, about 1 1/2 inches wide, that join together at the end. So far, i have found it hugs the hips very well and is quite comfortable, even fully loaded for a pack of this size.
The frame is a single aluminum stay and perforated plastic frame sheet. does a nice job transmitting weight to the hips. well-fitted, the shoulder straps will bear no weight if that's how you want it. there is a solid lumbar pad that helps keep the pack situated. unlike some packs i have used, this one doesn't slip down the hips or loosen while you hike.
The pack is a top-loader with compression straps on each side, plus a nice internal compression strap. Cordura (Kodra) fabric, should wear well. between the external and internal compression straps, no shifting around. as with all the older Dana Design/Marmot packs, this has two large rear pockets that will each hold 2 nalgene bottles or other gear. it also has straps to hold your sleeping pad and several loops for lashing additional gear between the two back pockets. the top fits well and has a decent-sized additional pocket; i suggest experimenting with the straps that attach the top to the bag if you really load the pack, as they can seem complicated if your first time playing with them is out on the trail.
My one complaint - the two side pockets can each hold a nalgene bottle, but it's a tight squeeze when the pack is full. they seem like they would be better for holding tent poles.
Marmot may be trimming the product line, so I obtained this pack brand new for half-price. At this price, comparable Gregory packs were much, much smaller.
This has been nothing but a great all around pack…
Max. Load Carried: 40
Price Paid: $200
This has been nothing but a great all around pack for me which has covered several different purposes equally well. I have taken in on section hikes on the AT, hiking in the West, as well as urban backpacking through Europe and Asia several times.
There really is something to be said about the suspension of this pack: it seems to carry lighter than do many other packs of similar size. I feel as though I am able to shift more weight to my hips where it belongs than with packs I have used before.
It has often been said that it is good for a weekend pack, but this is a severe underestimation of its capabilities. If you are intelligent about the other gear you choose, this pack can be easily be loaded to keep you out on the trail for well past a week, making it totally thru-hiking capable.
I don't really love the design of the outer pockets, which are my only qualm with the bag. They are somewhat ill placed and shaped, and seem to be designed to fit specific items very well, while fitting other items less desirably.
The carry of the bag though makes this a great all around pack, very versatile and well constructed.