REI Mars Pack
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 45 Lbs.
Height of Owner: 6' 1"
I absolutely love this pack. Granted, I have only been renting packs before this one, so having it fit me well is a big step up. I’ve used it quite a while now and with the longest trip being 3 days the volume is more than enough for me. The hip belt fits and holds well and the load, if packed properly, rides like a dream. I haven’t been easy on it by any means and it has held up to the abuse like a champ, very durable. I do agree that the lid could attach better and more compression would be nice, but aside from than I have no complaints.
Price Paid: $180
Awesome bag, once you've got the bag adjusted properly.
it held all of my gear plus half my kids' gear for a weekend trip to CNF. In the summer.
Design: top loading internal
Number of Pockets: 1 main, several other small
Max. Load Carried: 55 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $179
I used this pack for the first time this summer for a week-long backpacking trip in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming. It worked very well for me. My fully-loaded weight at the trailhead was 55 lbs. I had some room to spare. There are certainly more sophisticated pack designs out there; but this pack is reasonably light, combines a nice set of features at a great price. It's well designed and well built. It carried my 55 lbs pretty comfortably. Much better than my old Lowe Expedition pack.
'Pluses' include a great waist-belt design and daisy-chain style exterior lashing points that allow for great flexibility. I also loved the small zip pockets at the hips behind the waist belt. These were great for stashing sundries, snacks and small camera - all readily available at any time. The main compartment is has a divider for a sleeping bag compartment, but I don't bother with it. The top pocket is large and flapped around on me a bit. The front external pocket was a nice. The shoulder straps are a bit narrow for my tastes and not super-well padded. I was getting a bit of discomfort at the end of my longer trail days - not too bad though.
Overall, this pack fit me, and my needs, well. Just as well as several of the (far more expensive) packs I tried from other brands. It's a pretty basic design that worked well. It might not offer all the bells and whistles that some of the others did, but it gets the job done admirably.
Size: 3500 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 1 main, with sleeping bag compartment, and seperate top. Front load pockets
Price Paid: $135
Overall the pack work very well. I did encounter some design flaws though. The brain doesn't have front straps; it connects diagonally and this is very impractical. The brain doesn't become a day pack if you detach it. I also noticed the "sleeping bag" compartment couldn't even fit a winter sized bag.
I liked this pack though because it was really durable. I took it on multiple week expeditions and it help up fine. It's pretty waterproof. I like the feel of this pack because it mounts high on the shoulders but keeps the weight low on your hips.
I recommend this pack for 5-day trips, nothing more due to size restraints. I enjoyed this pack also, but I can't forget how many improvements this pack could use.
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