REI Mars 80
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Super awesome pack, great for hiking. Don't worry about the weight as the hip straps are awesome. The duffle bag feature is great as well.
- Plenty of storage
- Can open like a duffle bag
- The hydration pack sleeve is a little small
- Very large, not for hyperlite hiking at all
The REI Mars 80 has multiple sizing options so fit is always taylorable and makes the bag extremely comfortable. This was my first larger pack and I am super happy with it. It has a sleeping bag compartment which is nice.
I just took it on a weekend trip in 80 degree weather and it was still comfortable and didn't heat me up too much. I even wore it shirtless and the mesh was comfortable. There are plenty of different compartments which is nice but not so many that you can never remember where you put everything. There aren't any loops on the outside so if you want to hang things from it this is not the backpack for you.
All in all a great buy. Good price and awesome quality.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: applied a 20% discount to full price - $172 with tax in Texas
An REI homerun! Perfect performance/price ratio. REI always comes through. Love their R&D folks and great products (like this!) and support.
- great weight distribution and adjusments
- fits a wide range of torso lengths perfectly
- larger and heavier than pricier brands
- no lumbar ventilation
- the elastic side pockets could be made of a better material
I am a father, so i frequently carry more than my own full load. i often backpack with my 11-year-old daughter, and i don't want to ruin her experience (or love of backpacking!) by making her carry more than a fifth of her body weight. this is why i have a pack this large.
I have used this pack in yosemite (30 miles per trip of backpacking <35 lbs. because i also carried daughters' food and other items), zion (30 miles per trip of backpacking <25 lbs.), and all over texas (including 25+ miles in guadalupe mountains and 45+ pounds due to having to carry water).
I love this pack. for summer backpacking it is a bit large for one person and anything less than three nights, but i think it nevertheless compresses well and carries both heavy and light loads perfectly. Another REI homerun!
Price Paid: $165
I purchased this pack for a 4-day 3-night backpacking trip along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in early spring. The threat of rain and snow was present in the Upper Peninsula, so I needed a pack which would hold all of my gear (including a 25-year-old The North Face synthetic bag and an original Therm-a-Rest pad) including foul weather gear, tent, clothes, extra clothes, cooking system, and the 10 essentials.
Seeking value in this investment was important to me, as my budget is limited, but I want to invest in long lasting gear.
All that said, I was VERY comfortable with the Mars 80. Not being in prime shape (duh) this pack ensured my comfort during hikes between 6 miles (after 7 hours in a car) and two to eight miles a day on relatively flat trails.
I will continue to update this review as I go winter backpacking, another round at PRNL, and all great areas around America's High Five!
I don't own this pack, but a friend of mine did. I was backpacking with him on the first day of a 5-day trip, in north Yosemite when the shoulder strap broke off from the plastic adjustable suspension plate, while hiking. Brand new pack, it was the first time he'd used it.
He tied the strap back with regular pack straps, but it was an annoying interruption, and it was no longer adjustable. REI refunded his money. They're pretty good about that type of thing. I dislike plastic on packs.
Where to Buy
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