ProView – Mountainsmith Day

My relationship with this pack started with me wanting to not like it; I mean, isn’t it just a glorified fanny pack? The answer to that question might be yes, but it has also become an overstuffed, overbuilt, master of all things, briefcase, trail-running, camera hauling, carry-on, everything-you’ll-ever-need-and-some-things-you-don’t-pack. Needless to say, I’m now quite fond of this little pack.

Mountainsmith Day

Product Description: One of the industry's first lumbar packs, the Day is known for its function-first design. After 40+ years in our line, we've revamped this classic built with Delta Wing Compression and added more functionality for efficient storage on and off trail.

Offer price: MSRP: $89.95

  • Quality
  • Features
  • Fit
  • Durability
  • Eco-Friendly


A true Jack (or Jill) of all trades pack. Lumbar packs have a new convert after I spent everyday for a few months with this thing. I came in a skeptic, but now I have seen the light that is lumbar and I’m a believer.



  • Load-carrying is awesome
  • LOVE the hip belt storage
  • Great storage options


  • The front compression attachment thing
  • Shoulder pad slippage
  • Not for gram-counters
  • Long hip belt straps.

This Day Lumbar Pack has been to places most lumbar packs only get to see in pictures. It paid its dues assuming the responsibilities of my everyday bag at work – carrying coffee, extra layers, planners, etc. but then it joined my wife and I for a trip out west and that is where it really shined. It went trail running up Yosemite Falls, fell in the pacific ocean, and camped up and down highway 1 all while serving as a camera bag, snack pantry, dirty clothes hamper, and also a lumbar pack.


There are tons of ways to carry this bag. Most of the time I’m grabbing it by the handles or throwing it over my shoulder, and it is fine for that. But the comfort of this bag when you load it up and tighten the hipbelt is genuinely surprising. I don’t know what geometry, physics, and black magic is in the suspension system on the Day pack, but it is uncanny! The only issue I had with the fit was that when the hipbelt is riding high and tight then the shoulder strap can’t be tightened enough to keep it from slipping around. It’s great that the load is kept on my hips, but the shoulder pad wonders up and down the strap, and the strap tends towards falling off my shoulder.


This was the main reason I didn’t want to like this bag. I’ve never thought lumbar packs (glorified fanny packs) looked that cool. But all my worries and misgivings were quickly put to rest with the Day pack. First, it works really well as over the shoulder bag and the hipbelt tucks easily and inconspicuously out of sight. Second, it looks great! Mountainsmith did an awesome job at modernizing a classic. Third, apparently I’ve just been wrong for my whole life and lumbar packs do look cool!


I think Mountainsmith did a great job here on not going bonkers with crazy features. All the best features of the bag serve the purpose of the bag to make it a better pack. It’s like the perfect cup of coffee – it’s great because the coffee is so good, not because of latte art, or oat milk, or lavender. Good coffee is good coffee because of the coffee and the Day pack is awesome because it is a killer pack that does what it’s supposed to do really, really well. It may not have the techiest bits all over it, but the load suspension is amazing, the hipbelt pockets are absolutely perfect, and the fabrics and oversized zippers mean you’ll be enjoying this bag, like its predecessor, for many years to come. Great job Mountainsmith, truly great!


This pack is not for the gram counters or even ounce counters for that matter. It isn’t light and doesn’t compress down super well. But it can carry weight well and can be stuffed full and remain comfortable, so I say we still chalk this one up as a win. I know this varies from person to person, but I will choose durable over lightweight 9 times out of 10.


I love things that serve more than one purpose. I carry a swiss army knife with me everywhere I go; I drink water all day out of my coffee cup from that morning. I think that’s why I love this bag. You don’t have to transform it or outfit it for your next adventure, day at the office, or family vacation. It is ready for all of those at any moment. 


It has big zippers, thick fabric, cushy padding, and will survive a small explosion so A+ in this department. I wanted to get a cool picture of this pack with waves from the Pacific crashing around it, and I did, but I also got waves from the Pacific crashing around it. I dried it out quickly, but the salt and sand never caused any problems with the oversized zippers, and I was quite pleased by how fast it dried out. This pack was built with durability in mind.

Friendliness to the Earth

Mountainsmith works with recycled fabrics and has even won some awards for their green initiatives, but I think one of their greatest contributions to the earth is building products that won’t end up in landfills. I really think this is the type of gear you will be able to pass down to your kids.

The Final Word

For anyone out there who is a doubter, a skeptic, or just thinks that Mountainsmith is making fanny packs for gearheads – I’ve been in your shoes and I’m telling you the hype is real (but the fanny pack thing is still kind of true, but it’s worth it). This is the bag I grab to go to work every day; this is the bag I grab when I’m hitting the trail; this is the bag I grab when I’m doing photo and video work; this is the bag I grab for everything, and there’s always room for snacks in those awesome hipbelt pockets!

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Harry McSween
Whitewater Raft Guide and Videographer

Harry is a father of 3 knee-high, ankle-biters, and the husband of one beautiful lady. He is currently mastering the zen art of balancing family, work, and making himself intentionally uncomfortable. He’s also an AMGA SPI, W-EMT, LNT Master Educator, and lover of people and places. Learn more @harrymcsween.

One comment

  1. Cityhiker

    Nice review and photos. I carry a 20-year-old Mountainsmith lumbar pack on my 4-mile roundtrip walk to work every day of the week, in all weather and all seasons. I can’t imagine ever going back to a hardshell briefcase like I carried back in the late ’70s, the Lands End canvas attache I had in the ’80s or the backpack and messenger bag I carried in the ’90s. It carries my laptop, tablet, electronics,, file folders, clothing, stainless insulated bottle, sunglass case and so many little things with great organization (unfortunately lacking on other Mountainsmith models before and since) and unbeatable comfort. There’s just something about having absolutely no load on my shoulders and an effort-free upper body. A feeling of unfettered freedom.

    It’s my man-purse and I don’t care if anybody else might laugh that I have it, although it was one of the most stylish models Mountainsmith ever made, I think even better looking than the 2020 Day and as office-appropriate as any nylon laptop briefcase. Function over form any day. The only time I don’t use it is when I have a very large/heavy load (over 25 pounds) and/or am walking more than a few miles in town, in which case I use a wheeled backpack to save my legs and feet. Otherwise, I prefer that the lumbar pack is less cumbersome and provides much greater agility than a rolling case. Even took it on a few trips, including hiking up and down the mountainous trails and hilly streets of Hong Kong (probably the only lumbar pack in a city where everybody carries some kind of bag). You can have my lumbar pack when you pry it from my cold, dead hips.


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