Mountain Hardwear Scrambler

This all-purpose weekend pack is comfortable and light.

Brand: Mountain Hardwear

Model: Scrambler

Best All-Purpose

“Ideal for summer weekends or an ultralight week,” wrote one tester. “Very comfortable, light, and easy to live out of,” said another after toting high-mountain overnight loads in Rocky Mountain National Park. After stuffing it with bulky, pointy group gear that would jab your back through the flimsy materials of many lightweight packs, testers lauded the supportive protection from the shaped and padded backpanel, which is easily customizable with bendable aluminum stays.

The hipbelt has twin mesh pockets, and a large zippered front pocket is compartmentalized for toys like avalanche probes or climbing skins. The quick-release side compression straps convert to carry snowboards or snowshoes, a feature all multisport packs should have. The lid pocket and hipbelt are strippable and combine to make a fanny pack for side trips and dayhikes. GoLite makes several capacities in very similar packs, but the reasonably priced Pursuit is a perfect match of harness support and payload capacity (up to 35 pounds). $150; 3,100 cu. in.; 3 lbs. Golite.comRemovable thermoformed framesheet creates a flat backpanel, effectively resisting round out and allowing the pack to ride closer to the body for better stability and comfort. Removable EVA backpanel pad provides comfort and protection. Pack weight with framesheet and backpanel removed is under one pound and allows pack to be stuffed into top pocket. Mesh covered backpanel. Lightweight, removable web waist belt. Three removable bungee webs permit load compression and flexible stashing of gear.

For expedition climbers and guides needing a small capacity ultra-light pack for rapid ascents, weekend climbers bagging peaks and doing short routes in the backcountry, day hikers looking for lightweight performance oriented gear, travelers/trekker looking for a pack along daypack with good capacity and carry, and backpackers needing a large capacity pack for side trips.

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