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.
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′.
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.
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.
Durability: 5 out of 5 – 700 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
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.
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