Ultralight backpacks used to be almost-exclusive fodder for lesser-known brands and custom makers, but now a collection of big companies that are taking the category more seriously are bringing these bags into the mainstream.
Mountainsmith is among that group. This year the company updated its collection of ultralight backpacks, the Scream Series, with all-new materials and features. The backbone of that collection is the Scream 55, which is ordinarily $160 but is currently on sale at Massdrop for $100. The Scream 55 weighs two pounds and 13 ounces but is still notably durable with a coated high-tenacity nylon fabric called Robic that’s bolstered with Aramid yarn woven throughout. It has many of the features that non-ultralighters favor, including multiple access points, a comfortable back panel, a sturdy forward-pull waist belt and an interior hydration sleeve.
Despite its newness, the Scream is decidedly retro. Its grid pattern — a result of the lightweight fabrics it employs — and neon accents are more 1980 than 2018, and its two large, “double-barrel” exterior pockets seem to be a nod to older packs, like Rivendell Mountain Works’ ever-classic Jensen.
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