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Mountainsmith Descent Small

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Mountainsmith Descent Small daypack (under 35l)

This review is for the NEW version of the Descent pack, the one with Andy Mann's name on it, at REI (sling pack). It's almost perfect as a camera bag.


  • Comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Easy access to gear


  • No tripod mount
  • Needs more dividers included

This review is for the NEW version of the Descent pack (Jan 2014), the one with Andy Mann's name on it, at REI (sling pack).

I recently bought a new lens for my Canon 50d, and needed a new, larger camera bag. Looking around, there a so many options. After watching the reviews on Mountainsmith's website and how Andy Mann designed the packs features and really loves this bag, I really wanted to check it out. Luckily, they had it at my local store.

Things I love about this bag:

1) It's easy to access all my gear by just swinging it under my right armpit, positioning it on my chest, a quick unzip, and ready to go. It's so easy. No taking off a backpack or fumbling with a zipper that's hard to reach. It's PERFECTLY positioned for easy access. Not only is it quick, but it's efficient and comfortable.

2) Great construction. There's no faulting this pack's construction. It feels bombproof and looks great. Nice touches, like a carry handle on all sides, the rain cover, and the second strap that locks the pack on for a tighter fit are all nice touches.

3) It's really comfortable. I wore it for several hours on a hike last weekend, and no complaints about comfort. Sure it's not as good as a backpack for distributing the load, but that's not why you buy this bag...

4) It's roomy inside. I fit my Canon 50d with Sigma 18-35mm (bulky lens) attached, two other standard sized lenses, several batteries, charger, card reader, etc. It all fits with plenty of room to spare. I could easily fit another large lens or maybe two smaller lenses in here, provided you moved the dividers around or got some more to put in.

Things I don't like about this pack.

1) There's no tripod attachment! I know it's a small bag to carry a tripod on, but even so, it would be nice. I have a small travel tripod that weighs 3 or 4 pounds, it would be nice to have a secure place to attach it. Similar packs from Lowepro have a tripod attachment, although I'm not sure how the pack handles with it attached. There IS a small loop where you attach a second lens pack to this pack, and I tried sliding a tripod leg through there. It held reasonably well, but it was a little awkward to carry. It would work in a pinch, but made it uncomfortable to carry.

2) The dividers inside are fairly fixed. You can move them, but they are sized such that they are fairly hard to exchange, otherwise they won't fit in the pack correctly. I found a layout that works for me, but some extra dividers, especially in smaller sizes would be appreciated.

Overall, this bag is almost exactly what I was looking for. The price is right, it carries my gear like a champ, and it's built to last. There are a few small negatives, but I wouldn't hold them against it too much. The lack of a tripod attachment point isn't a huge deal, not enough to rank it 4 stars, and the dividers aren't that much of a negative. I would highly recommend this bag.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100

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Price Historic Range: $54.97-$99.95
Reviewers Paid: $100.00
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