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Mountainsmith Scream 25L Pack

Mountainsmith’s Scream 25L pack was designed as a secondary pack to use from base camp, but it’s become my primary pack over the past few months because it’s so lightweight and versatile.

At 15 ounces, the Scream 25L pack (pictured here at right) is a dream to carry. Mountainsmith uses tough, ripstop  nylon, with a contrast colored liner, for the body of the pack.  To cut down on weight, the shoulder straps are lightly padded (but are very comfortable because they’re soft and wide and conform to my shoulders) and the side pouches are made of mesh. Basically, where other packs are chunky, the Scream 25L pack is thin. Totally works for me.

The generous side pouches are wide and deep, so my water bottles, even the large ones, stay put, and I still have room to stuff a cap and other small items.  There’s a flat zippered pocket underneath the front of the pack. The zipper is discreetly hidden under a flap of material, so I can tuck away maps, my wallet, my phone, and other slim items.  The pack can be turned inside out into this pocket, which becomes a zippered pouch for easy packing. 

I love the lid-style closure of the pack since I usually use it for outings where I want to quickly stash things like a jacket, my lunch, and a camera.  The Scream 25L pack is nice and lean, with only two zippered pockets. The inside of the bag cinches together like a laundry bag, and then the “hood” of the pack covers the top for double protection.  Once I’m packed I attach a buckle strap to the hood, and I’m good to go.

The inside of the pack also has a pouch for a hydration bladder (up to 3 liters), but I use it for keeping some items, such as sunscreen and a book, separate and accessible from the rest of my gear. I don’t like bulky, thick packs, so I like being able to cinch the sides of the Scream 25L pack tighter to keep my pack close to me.  I rarely use trekking poles, but when I do, I can easily attach them to the pack when I’m back on flat trails.

The top of the pack has another hidden pocket that’s quite large.  It’s perfect for my camera, lip balm, a few nutrition bars, and other small trail essentials.  It also has a contrast colored lanyard for my keys. Very handy.

I LOVE this lightweight pack.  I took it on a weekend trip to the ocean and wore it for three straight days, and I was comfortable the entire time.  I was in and out of the pack several times to change jackets as the weather changed, and I liked being able to strap everything in well since we were out in the wind and drizzle. I also love the dark grey color since I often use the pack around town, too.  Function is essential when I’m on the trail, but style is also important to me. The Scream 25L pack has become my most-used overnight bag, too, because it holds a lot and it’s so easy to pack! Because it’s so light, I also wear it for my daily power walks so I can stop at the store or the farmer’s market on my way home.

Most packs get uncomfortable for me because the thick, padded shoulder straps are so stiff.  The Scream 25L pack’s straps feel great to me, so I can wear it much longer than I can use other packs. The Scream 25L pack even has a waist belt (and better yet, it’s removable).

The Scream 25L is one of several lightweight packs in Mountainsmith’s Mountainlight Series of bags. Available in grey with yellow lining and in yellow

Bottom Line: I'm through with bulky, fussy, padded packs. With my Scream 25L pack I'm keeping it slim and simple.--E.D. (May 2012)

BUY ONLINE: $69.95, on sale for less at Amazon.

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.