ProView- Mountainsmith Ghost 50

A pursuer of simplicity, I typically seek out bulky bucket haulers sans straps and gadgets to carry my gear. This means that I have to occasionally scratch around in an unorganized tunnel of ripstop for my headlamp or grub; but hey, it’s all in there.


I certainly wasn’t a fan of panel loading backpacks until I used Mountainsmith’s Ghost 50. You can call me a convert.


The Ghost surprised me with how smoothly it integrated versatility with my definition of simple. It doesn’t have a traditional lid or a hidden rain cover or anything that gets in the way. It’s as much suitcase as it is backcountry hauler.

The Mountainsmith Ghost comes standard with out-of-the-box comfort. I made no adjustments for a 40 lb. load. But if I needed to, my options are many, from the primary lumbar pad in the rear to the dual adjustment cinch straps on the belt, which allows for a snug, comfortable load carry where it’s most critical.

While somewhat tedious, you can also adjust the reach of the hip pads, which slide over the belt’s frame like a sleeve with internal hook & loop fasteners.

The pack’s harness has a vertical adjustment option for almost universal torso and shoulder fit. It’s easy to undo the hook & loop panels and slide it back into the appropriate position. This pack can fit just about anyone.

I think Mountainsmith may have gotten it right with the Ghost’s Breezeway suspension design, which I consider the market’s most aggressive take on this now ubiquitous backpack design trend. The caveat here is that I haven’t used the Ghost in real warm weather. Nevertheless, I noticed a difference, so I’m confident this interpretation pays off.

At first glance the Ghost won’t seem like much in terms of haul capacity. I assure you, there’s plenty of room for a weekend trip or a longer fast and light trek.
The bottom accessory loops don’t have a great deal of functionality and the hip pockets are tight. The deep mesh side pockets are well done though, as is access to the water bladder sleeve.

You have a number of backpack options on Outdoor Prolink, but you will be challenged to find a more comfortable, feature-rich pack for fast & light backcountry treks than the Mountainsmith Ghost.

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Craig Rowe is an OPL pro who loves to test gear. You can find him hiking, backpacking, and camping. 

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