Mountainsmith Approach 35
I had relatively high expectations for this pack...
Price Paid: $119
I had relatively high expectations for this pack... maybe it was just environmental optimism.
Use: Travel around Korea, China, Bangkok. Lots of walking involved, some plane travel.
Performance: Did ok on the plane. I was able to wrap up the shoulder straps, belt, and extra securing straps around and tie them together. I didn't need to use a cover or bag or anything. Not good otherwise.
It was awful as a pack for walking and convenience. The outside pocket/minipack was not practical. I don't understand why it was even designed as a mesh... it doesn't expand, and when the outside section carries anything of substance, the securing straps MUST be attached or the whole thing sags which defeats the whole purpose of convenient access.
The frame engineering is really a marvel. I don't know if they even tested this pack or just thought "sure that looks alright". The pack has an arced molded frame around the outside that puts extreme stress on the exterior fabric at its top. Because of this it also developed an uneven wear which makes it sit crooked when worn now.
Waist belt is well padded and can be secured well, but it's attachment to the pack itself is ridiculous. It's slipped into a section along the molded back panel, and doesn't offer any stability, weight bearing capacity, or even comfort.
Until Mountainsmith revises the design of this pack, I would not recommend it.