User Review: Mountainsmith Bugaboo
Source: received it as a personal gift
Excellent mid-size bag. Versatile with lots of options for attaching extra gear. Durable and tough. Comfortable to carry, even with odd-shaped loads.
- Easy access
- Shovel or spare jacket/gear attach and release easily
- Belt not padded or stiff enough to transfer a heavy load
- May not have enough pocket options for those who like pockets
I received my Mountainsmith Bugaboo backpack from a friend who had barely used it. It is a model from a few years ago, but just what I was looking for. I wanted something bigger than a day pack for snowshoeing, when I need room for more emergency gear, a shovel, and may pack a snowboard, and this fit the bill. I have carried my snowboard strapped vertically on the back, and once I got things tightened down and the height adjusted, it was comfortable.
The pack is big enough to fit an extra pair of fleece pants, a jacket and down vest in addition to camp stove, gas, food, shovel, food and a couple of liters of water, with room still to spare. I think in the summer this may be my go-to bag for overnights. With a closed cell mat on the outside, there will be plenty of room for my tent, sleeping bag, a change of clothes, food, water and gear. And the straps make the pack stable with a small large load, since they are well positioned to keep the pack tight even without much in it.
For some people, the single chamber without internal or many external pockets may be a problem, but I like to keep clothes in a waterproof Sea to Summit bag anyways, with food in a zip lock and other small bits of gear in a nylon bag. Everything is easy to access with the gaping U shaped zipper that goes up one side, around the top and back down the other side. If you need to access something in the bottom of the pack, you may have to unsnap the compression straps at the top and maybe loosen the lower ones to get the zipper open to the bottom, but at least you can get things out of the bottom without removing everything at the top of the bag.
I wouldn't mind a few water bottle pockets on the outside, but I think I can slip a platy under the cargo flap. Any drinking without taking the pack off would either require using a reservoir and tube or strapping something else on where you can reach it.
All in all this is a really good pack, and I think it exceeds my expectations. I recommend it if you have similar needs and can get one. I'm told they sell well on the used market due to their durability.