Field Review: 38L Utility Pack

These days, the market of just about every category of ‘gear’ is highly saturated. It can get overwhelming, but it also inspires companies to ‘go back to the drawing board’ to evaluate their products and innovate ways to set themselves, and their products, apart. Enter: Mountain Standard…

I must admit I have perhaps too many backpacks. Because of this, I can get pretty critical and nitpicky when it comes to any potential new addition to the arsenal. So, when asked to test out the Mountain Standard 38L Mountain Utility Pack, I was excited, intrigued, and began dusting off the ol’ critical lens. I’ll begin by saying that lens has been confidently put away, now.

This pack hit the ground running with me. Perhaps more realistically, hit the water paddling. The first outing was an ill-fated SUP trip on Lake Powell during which, I capsized twice with the pack strapped on. Now, this pack is not waterproof (just covering bases here—I am in no way saying it is waterproof), but after fishing the submerged pack out of the water each time, I could have been convinced. The amount of water in the pack was more like a pesky, leaky Nalgene inside, not a full on submersion. Good to know, for sure.

Don’t ever explore those watery landscapes? More of a rock rat, as opposed to a river rat? Well, this pack has you covered there, too. This thing has been forced through slot canyons and rocky scrambles that left our elbows and shins in worse shape than the pack. All of that, combined with the volume to fit cameras, gear, lunch, and water for the day, makes this a pretty special setup. Remember, it takes some tough material to withstand grinds across the rock of the San Rafael Swell…

In the last two months of heavy exploration with this pack, I have brought it through Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and a bit of Montana—all the while intentionally putting it through the ringer in all conditions. Now, as much as I love road trips, I did have to fly on many occasions to these locations. How perfect, though, because the cavernous main compartment of this pack will have you ‘taking a break’ from your go-to duffel. Intentionally, or not, the pack (and its wonderful structure) are perfect carry-on dimensions. Living out of this pack, while also utilizing it for rugged outings, is really no problem. In fact, it has quickly become a go-to, every-use, travel companion pack for me.

I know I am rambling on and on about a pack. However, take my scattered enthusiasm for what it is—excitement about a new favorite piece of gear! There are just so many great and notable things to talk about…just go grab one for your self! Especially now that the good folks at Mountain Standard have had a philosophical evolution and cut all of their prices in half to benefit adventurers, like you and I. Because we need good gear, but would rather sink our top dollars into experiences instead of stuff… go figure.

Mitch Warnick is a Gunnison, CO based field agent with a knack for photography and an eye for breathtaking natural perspectives. Don't believe me? Check out his instagram.

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