Current Retail: $29.25
Historic Range: $26.53-$57.99
Reviewers Paid: $32.00
A very well-made and designed pack for day-to-day utility, cycling, or day trips such as bird-watching on even trails.
- Heavy-duty YKK main zipper
- Robust snap and buckle at sternum strap
- Ergonomic straps
- Color options are good
- A stow-away hip strap might prove helpful in some situations, but not a deal-breaker.
- Making the lap-top sleeve removable would make it more versatile and free up a bit of space.
The quality is evident when you receive this pack, the main zipper being the heavy-duty type that will not pull apart if the pack is over-stuffed (easy to do at 30L). The comfort of the pack, the result of the ergonomic straps and thoroughg back padding, also shows that it was a focus of its design. The laptop sleeve, padded on both sides, provides protection from pointed objects.
The larger outer pocket (top-zip), is 8" tall, so can hold binoculars, gloves, hat, energy bars and any other small items. The smaller outer sleeve (side-zip) I use for my keys and wallet. The sternum strap buckle and snap, as well as the shoulder strap hardware, are heavier-duty than those featured on some more-expensive, lightweight packs.
One feature that I appreciate is the height of the mesh water bottle sleeves on the sides of the pack: They securely hold my 27oz Kleen Kanteens, so this pack can keep you hydrated for a few hours, even in the heat of summer. The hidden row of daisy chains is a nice feature, allowing caribiners to hold a fuel bottle, rain jacket pouch, and first aid kit on the outside.
Another aspect of the Calistoga that is certain to come in handy, if I forget my rain cover, is the 135d layer of poly sewn into the entire front of the backpack (the logo side), to keep rain off of your belongings. This will appeal especially to cyclists. The organizer slots inside the outer pocket are just the right size for energy bars, so reduces the likelihood of them getting squashed.
The pack is 420d Big Rip-Stop with 600d re-inforements. The stitching work seems flawless. The Calistoga is a great choice for students, workers, casual day-trippers and light shopping. At $65.00 direct from Marmot, this day-pack is not cheap, but the shipping is free and Marmot backs it with a lifetime guarantee. If you don't need a waist belt, this pack excels at what it is designed for.
My daypack before this was the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30. The capacity of the 30-litre-rated Calistoga seems a little bit less, and there are fewer tie-on options, but it serves my purpose of cycling downtown to the stores and picking up a few items. I try to keep the weight to 20 lbs, but it could probably take 30 lbs with no problem.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $32 (on sale)