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Mountainsmith Specter

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Specter has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2024.

photo: Mountainsmith Specter expedition pack (70l+)

Large lightweight expedition pack with all the things you need and more...


  • Huge capacity
  • Comfortable
  • Light for the size
  • Very durable
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Ease of access


  • Capacity makes it easy to over-pack

Got a brand new old stock pack 4 years ago and have used it a dozen times for longer (3 plus nights) trips. It’s hard to prioritize the good things about this pack, but ultimately it checks all the boxes for a large pack. Durable, comfortable, and light.

I love when gear just “feels” high tech and well designed. My version is the gold/olive color from about 2003/4 and when I used it for the first time the tech felt up to date. The fabric is tough as nails, zippers are water-resistant, pockets are useful and well-placed, the hip belt and shoulder pads are nicely padded.

Zero complaints other than I won’t get the opportunity to shop for another long-haul expedition style pack ever again.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200

Light(ish), tough, with just enough pockets. Great multi-day pack.

I have the older steel blue version which I believe has a larger capacity. Not ultralight but for as large and tough as it is I can't complain.

I love the big J zip which let you get to nearly every layer in the main bag. The hip-belt buckle disintegrated the first time I used it. Very annoying but none of the smaller buckles have been a problem, even in the winter. Great suspension and ventilation. Starts to hurt around 50lbs.

This is my main pack and I'm quite happy with it.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125

I've owned this pack for about 10 years. It's a very comforatable and durable. Lightweight too. Because it's a lightweight pack, the comfortable weight limit is around 35 to 40 lbs, although I've packed heavier loads.


  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight


  • Weight limit around 35-40 lbs

That's it!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200

No longer made, so they are probably pretty hard to find, but this is an outstanding pack. It's, big, lightweight and sturdy. 

It's very comfortable and has a lot of great features.  Includes a removal (small) daypack, J zipper, good venting, etc. You usually sacrifice things like the extra zipper and daypack on lightweight bags, but that's not the case here. 

No complaints and it has held up well through about 5 years of occasional use for both backpacking and international traveling. 

Price Paid: $180

Version reviewed: 2002

I have used the pack for a skiing hut trip in Colorado and day trips. It replaces my old Frostfire 5500 that was too heavy. This pack is light enough to use as a day pack, and carries a moderate load well enough to X ski. I also will use it to replace my weekend small pack. My only concern is that I will pack too heavy for short trips becasue I have the room.

Design: Top loading with J zipper
Size: 5600
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 25 pounds
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $320

Great product.


  • Strong material
  • Wise engineering


  • No cons

I have a gray Specter for sale. Great shape. Nonsmoking household. $120 Colorado Springs 80920


Completed the Colorado Trail with it. It performed perfectly.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $160

Very lightweight for a weeklong and beyond pack. 1,000 miles of hiking with this pack. My only pick is the zippers are hard to use.

Design: front and top loading internal frame
Size: 5200 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 4
Price Paid: $329.95

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Price Historic Range: $149.95-$261.97
Reviewers Paid: $125.00-$329.95

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