Mountain Hardwear is a renowned presence in the outdoor gear industry, and their backpacks, tailored for demanding adventures, distinguish themselves as reliable companions for trekking enthusiasts. We’ve extensively tested their packs on the formidable slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, engaged in rock climbing, canyoneering in the depths of the Grand Canyon, mountaineering on the icy glaciers of Mount Baker, and backpacking for several days in the Sierra Nevadas, White Mountains, and various remote locations. Following these experiences, delve into a comprehensive review encompassing comfort, storage capacity, ease of use, and their suitability for conquering Africa’s highest peak.
Having utilized their backpacks for numerous years and considering the evolution of model names, we present a comprehensive review of their packs. Given their consistent excellence over the years, we can confidently assume that their dedication to maintaining high standards will persist.
Models We Have Tested
The three Mountain Hardwear Packs models we have used are the:
- Multi-day Mountaineering on the Grand in the Grand Tetons
50 liter Direttissima
- Multi-day Backpack Sierra Nevadas
- Canyoneering in the Grand Canyon
- Several Multi-pitch climbs
- Mountaineering, Mount Baker
- Many backpacking trips
35 liter Direttissima
- Climbing Kilimanjaro, twice
- Ultralight Backpacking
Specs for the 35-liter Direttissima
Since the 35 Liter Direttissima is the one we used on Kilimanjaro, the specs are below.
- HardWave suspension
- Removable aluminum stay
- Dual-density shoulder straps
- 45lb weight capacity
- Top access
- Watertight OutDry construction
- Removable padded waist belt
- Removable top lid (brain)
- Ice axe/Trekking Pole straps
- Multiple lash points
- Long compression straps
Additionally, a 35-liter pack is also a great size to use for your carry-on. We recommend placing all the items you need for the first few days on the mountain in the 35-liter pack. That way if the rest of your luggage is lost or delayed, you’ll have everything you’ll need. Once we track down the lost luggage we will have a porter run it up the mountain for you.
One of the standout features of Mountain Hardwear packs is their commitment to comfort, crucial for long treks like Kilimanjaro. The ergonomic design, padded shoulder straps, and adjustable hip belts ensure an even distribution of weight, minimizing strain on the back and shoulders. They are easily adjustable to transfer weight from your shoulder to your hips. They are so well-balanced that you may forget you are wearing a pack.
Mountain Hardwear packs provide ample storage space without compromising weight distribution. The well-designed large main compartment, top lid, and smaller outer pockets make organizing gear and essentials a breeze. This proves invaluable during a Kilimanjaro trek, where varying climates and conditions demand a versatile and well-organized packing system.
Ease of Use
The simplicity and efficiency of Mountain Hardwear packs make them user-friendly, a crucial aspect when navigating the challenging terrain of Mount Kilimanjaro. The intuitive design of zippers, straps, and buckles ensures easy access to gear without unnecessary fumbling. Quick and hassle-free adjustments to the straps allow for on-the-go modifications, adapting to the changing demands of the trek.
Durability is a non-negotiable factor when selecting a backpack for a demanding trek like Kilimanjaro, and Mountain Hardwear packs deliver in this aspect. Constructed with high-quality materials and reinforced stress points, these packs can withstand the rigors of rough terrains, ensuring they stand the test of time and multiple adventures.
Mountain Hardwear packs are particularly well-suited for Kilimanjaro treks, thanks to their thoughtful design and functionality. The packs offer the necessary features for storing layers of clothing, trekking poles, hydration systems, and other essentials needed for the varying conditions encountered on the mountain. Their durability and comfort are crucial in supporting trekkers during the challenging ascent, making them a reliable choice for conquering Kilimanjaro.
Mountain Hardwear packs live up to their reputation as durable, comfortable, and functional companions for outdoor enthusiasts. They shine particularly bright on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Whether you’re navigating rocky trails, adjusting to changing climates, or simply seeking a trustworthy pack for an extended trek, Mountain Hardwear proves to be a dependable choice for those aiming to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.