Backpacker.com – Mountainsmith Mountainlight Packs
Backpacker.com - Mountainsmith Mountainlight Packs Auspex (men's)/
Photo by Jonathan Dorn
The packbag on these models is a long, slender, single-compartment top-loader. Jon used the Auspex on a series of fall weekends and winter overnights, applauding "the just-enough-but-not-too-much harness and features." I carried the Chimera on a weekend hike with 35 pounds of gear and found it amazingly comfortable. Even though there's no framesheet, the load control and load transfer are superb, keeping the weight on your hips, not your shoulders. We definitely appreciated the weight savings, which equals as much as 3 pounds over comparable-size packs. I also liked the way the shoulder straps and hipbelt contoured to fit a woman's body. An earlier version of this pack (called the Mountainlight 3500) earned top honors in our lightweight pack field test ("Light And Easy Packs," June 2000). After trying out the newest models, we've found that only improvements have been made to an already popular design.