I am fortunate to live in an area with some of the finest hiking in the country, which means I spend a lot of time carrying backpacks of all types and sizes looking for the “right” one.  One brand I hadn’t tried yet is Tasmanian Tiger.  Their Mission Pack MkII looked like it was pretty Goldilocks (not too big, not too small), durably made, and with a slightly different configuration than I am used to, so I thought I’d give it a go.

 

First, a description:

The Mission Pack MkII is a 37L (that’s about 2,260 cubic inches) laser-cut pack made of 700 denier Cordura® nylon available in black, coyote, olive, and carbon (dark gray).  Empty weight is about 5.5 lbs/2.5 kilos. Its features include a padded back carrying system, reinforced handles, two large main compartments, and detachable rear panel with shapeable aluminum frame.

Shapeable aluminum frame insert provides good support

 

There is ample room for a large hydration pack in either of the main compartments, which both have hose or antenna outlets.  Shown here in the rear cargo area.

 

The front pocket is slim and a good place for maps, emergency blankets or thin electronics like this solar battery charger. Notice the laser-cut PALS/MOLLE webbing.

 

There is another zippered front pouch with side access. This is also a “thin” pocket which makes it good for folded items like a poncho.

 

The hip belt has zippered pouches on each side, making them good admin pouches for quick-grab items like flashlights, tools, bundles of paracord, or snack food.

 

The large cargo areas have plenty of room for first aid gear, and other wilderness survival aids like water purification and fire-starting materials.

This pack has more than enough space for day, or even overnight hiking.  With a full hydration kit and the gear shown here, I weighed this pack at just over 22 lbs.

So, how does it do in the field?

In order to give this pack a thorough test, I decided to use it for a 7-mile hike up Cerros del Abrigo, a volcanic dome rising above the Valles Caldera to an altitude of just over 10,300′.

Cerros del Abrigo (10,328′) is the tall peak on the far right.

 

“Abrigo” as it is called, is a steep volcanic dome spiraled with old logging roads, burned trees from previous fires, and steep rockslides called “felsenmeers” (a Germanic word that translates as “sea of rock”).  This one stretches down from the summit for almost 1000′ and according to my reading is probably 10,000 to 20,000 years old.

 

Stopping to take in the view on the northwest side of Cerros del Abrigo with Tasmanian Tiger Mission Pack MkII and Crawford Survival Staff – highly underrated piece of gear by those who have never used one.

 

Taking a break after a few miles of steep upward climb.  Notice the even distribution of weight,  the Mission Pack MkII never sagged or got bottom-heavy even after several miles of hiking including some occasional bushwhacking.

Latent Tendencies

A few hours into the hike, a pretty violent storm blew up,  although we avoided most of it,  we were hit with occasional bursts of rain that gave me the opportunity to try out another one of the Mission Pack’s built-in features: a bottom pocket with a built-in rain cover.

 

Watching the storms roll in with the Mission Pack MkII‘s built-in rain cover deployed.

 

Eventually it started coming down hard and I was glad for that easily-accessible side pocket, which is big enough to hold this oversized Outstanding Survival Solutions OPSEC poncho.

 

So, how did it to?

This was a fairly strenuous hike over rough terrain in varied weather conditions.  The Mission Pack II held up like a champ.   It’s a durable, good-looking pack that distributes the weight very evenly and doesn’t start to “sag” when the miles shake down your gear.  This pack would be perfect for a “get-home-bag” or other preparedness kit, but I think it also holds up well for long hikes in the mountains.  It has more than enough capacity for this use.  I was a little surprised by the lack of any kind of general purpose or “admin” pocket until I discovered the side pockets on the hip belt – which is actually a better place for quick-grab items.  The laser-cut PALS webbing on the back and sides allows attachment of any necessary external gear if you feel like carrying the extra weight.  The rigid internal frame support kept it comfortable and in-place even while scrambling down rocks and fallen trees.   The padded shoulder straps could stand to be a little bit wider to spread out the weight more, but they are more than adequate.  The pack has plenty of adjustment to keep it riding high and tight.  The built in rain-fly is a very nice feature.

 

RATINGS:

Durability: 5 out of 5700 denier Cordura® is the good stuff,  a perfect balance between strength and weight savings.  

Capacity: 4.5 out of 5 – don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room in this pack, but, hip-belt pockets notwithstanding, I would like to see a medium-sized admin pouch on it somewhere.

Comfort: 4.5 out of 5 – it stays where it belongs and it keeps the weight distributed and close to your body.  I would like slightly wider shoulder-straps.

Aesthetics: 5 out of 5 – this is a sharp looking pack, no doubt about it

Value: 4.5 out of 5 – this pack is in the $250 price range, which is a fair price for this quality of product

TOTAL SCORE: 94% EXCELLENT

Final Thoughts:

As I said before, I try out a lot of packs, and I also tend towards heavy packs with gear that gets carried more than it gets used.  That said, I like to hike in rough country known for its sudden and violent storms, not to mention populations of black bear, badger, and mountain lion.  I like to be prepared for the worst.   I have some more work to do with this pack,  I want to mess with the adjustments and weight distribution a little, but this will probably be my go-to hiking bag for a bit.

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

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About The Author

Writer Michael Lake is a Benefactor Life Member of the National Rifle Association and has been actively involved in a variety shooting activities since 1989. In addition to being a certified range safety officer he holds several NRA instructor ratings and armorer certifications. He has received training from the US Army Marksmanship Unit, the US Marine Corps Rifle Team and some of the finest private training facilities in the nation. In 2013 Michael co-founded Adaptive Defense Concepts, a Northwest Ohio-based Training organization. He is currently a contractor for the US Department of Energy, an instructor for Badlands Tactical Training Center, and is an accomplished Freemason.

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