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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 pack > Test Report by Bob Sanders

Mountainsmith- Red Rock 25L Daypack

Test Series by Bob Sanders

Initial Report: April 20, 2013
Field Report: June 30, 2013
Long Term Report: August 28, 2013

Name: Bob Sanders BobBackpacking Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi (1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes reach ultralight weights. My three day spring/summer solo adventures (using a tarp) have me hovering around a 10 lb (4.5 kg) base weight.
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email: sherpabob(at)mac(dot)com
Location: Longmont, Colorado USA


April 20, 2013

PRODUCT INFORMATION (Listed on website and hang tag)
Manufacturer: Mountainsmith Redrock 25 Backpack
Manufactured: 2013
MSRP: US $79.95
Listed Weight: 1 lb 9 oz (0.7 kg)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 10 oz (0.75 kg)

  • Dual panel loader
  • Air mesh backpanel with Anvil Airway™ perspiration control system
  • Removable 1" waistbelt
  • Side "V" compression straps for load stability
  • Vertical access stash pocket
  • Trekking pole / tool mount loops
  • Interior organizer sleeve
  • Side panel mesh pockets fits SIGG and Nalgene style water bottles
  • Hydration compatible with single exit port
  • Front panel daisy chain


  • Bar tack reinforcements
  • YKK Zippers
  • 3M Reflective Cord
  • 210d Duramax Junior RipStop Nylon
  • 420d Duramax Nylon
  • 210d RipStop Liner
Dimensions: 19.25" x 12.25" x 7.5" (49 x 31 x 19 cm)
Volume: 1586 cubic inches / 26 L (This is an interesting or confusing concept. The bag is called the Red Rock 25L which is embroidered on the side yet it holds 26 Liters)
Capacity: Up to 25 lbs
Fit Range: Torso: 16" - 20" (41 - 51 cm)


At first glance this pack seems well made and durable. The seams are tight and straight with no loose threads. The only workmanship issue I could see is the embroidered Logo at the top has some issues where the letters are sort of merged together (see photo). No big deal because it does not affect the bags function. Other than that it seems to be the right size for carrying my day hike gear.

Embroiderd Logo
Embroidered Logo Workmanship

I stuffed a couple of coats and some miscellaneous gear inside to give it some weight and structure and took it for a spin around the block. It rode pretty well if not pretty high on my back. I loosened the shoulder straps pretty far and it settled in lower on the small of my back. The back panel padding is quite comfortable and even though it has a capacity listing of 25 lbs (11.3 kg) I don't think I will ever get that heavy with a day pack.

Side View  Back Panel

My preference is to use water bottles over a hydration bladder even though the pack is designed to be used with either. The mesh pockets are a good size and can handle large bottles. I like the fact that the side compression straps can be positioned to secure whatever is in the side mesh pockets.

Yellow Interior   Hydration Port


The pack basically has 2 main panel compartments. The first one closest to my back is open all the way to the bottom and is where the hydration bladder sleeve is located. There is also a zippered mesh pocket inside. The second panel compartment is almost as big as the first and has a row of smaller open pockets including several small pen pockets (see photo above). Lastly there are 2 smaller pockets on the outside back of the pack. One at the top with a zipper that is approx. 9 by 5 in (23 by 13 cm) and the other has a vertical zipper that measures approx. 7 by 16 in (18 by 40 cm). The smaller one would be a great pocket for a camera and lunch and the larger one would be a great spot for rain gear.

The pack also has an adjustable sternum strap that slides up and down the shoulder strap and at the bottom on the back of the pack is a small strap that could be used to attach a small reflector or flashing bike light which is a great addition for walking or riding at night.

  • Bright yellow interior makes it easy to see and find stuff
  • Lots of pockets to help with organization
  • Very versatile as it can be used as a day pack and a work pack. Large enough for a laptop.
  • None so far



June 30, 2013

Red Rock

Over the past 2 months I have taken this pack with me every day to work and I have carried it on 8 day hikes through the glorious foot hills and mountains of central Colorado.

Weather has been pretty typical for late spring/early summer with sunny days and cloudy afternoons (no rain so far). During my hikes the temperatures have been between the low 60's F (16 C) to the low 90's F (32C). Elevations have been between 5000 ft (1524 m) and 10000 ft (3050 m).

So far the Red Rock 25 has carried everything I normally take with me on a day hike with room to spare. The length of the hike determines how much extra water and food I might bring along. My usual day hike gear consists of food, water, rain gear, my essentials (knife, fire starter, whistle, signal mirror, first aid kit, water purification, toilet paper, hat, sunglasses and camera). Sometimes I will bring an extra pair of socks for longer hikes and a light fleece jacket if I expect cooler temperatures.

The side mesh pockets have worked out really well when I need to bring more than one water bottle. The side compression strap has done a great job of holding the bottle in the pocket securely. Taller bottles seem to work best. My style of hiking (hike for and hour or so and take a 10 to 15 minute break) has not necessitated the use of a hydration bottle. Not sure I even own one any longer. Might be time to clean out the gear closet and rediscover what I do still possess. At every break I try to find some shade, sit down, take my shoes off and drink some water and maybe even have a snack. I don't see the need to drink while I'm walking. If I find a hydration bladder I will give it a test for the long term report.

Overall the pack rides on my back really well and despite the hotter temperatures the ventilation has been adequate. Since I'm not carrying much weight at all most of the time I'm not even aware that it is even there. I think that is a sign of a great pack.

The pack has held up well and there are no holes, worn spots of loose seams to be found. The bottom might be getting a little dirty but that is to be expected.

  • Holds everything I need for an extended day hike
  • Room to spare If I needed to carry extra clothes, food or gear
  • Comfortable
  • Interior pocket is large enough for my laptop
None so far


August 28, 2013

For the past 2 months I have carried the Red Rock with me every day to work. I have also taken it with me on 4 additional day hikes. All of my day hikes have been in the foothills and surrounding areas near my home in central Colorado. The weather has been very typical with highs in the mid 90's F (32 C) with the possibility of late afternoon showers almost every day. I did encounter one light afternoon shower but I was only about 5 minutes from the car and didn't get very wet.

Elevation on the trails has been between 6000 and 9000 ft (1828 and 2838 m). Most hikes have started out in the cool of the morning and by noon it is sunny and HOT. I try to finish my hikes by 3:00 pm or so before it gets cloudy and decides to rain.

Long Term Conclusions:

Overall this pack has been a nice addition to my daily carry to work and my weekend warrior outings. It has done everything I have asked of it and come out pretty unscathed. The pack is a bit dirty but there are no loose seams or worn areas anywhere to be found. I think this pack is very well made and the Duramax nylon is quite robust and will give a lifetime of use.

As an urban, street, work, day pack it has been very effective. There is plenty of room to carry everything I need including a large 17 in (43 cm) laptop, notebook, files, lunch, water bottle and a rain coat just in case. There is additional room to carry a change of clothes if I needed to. After this test I will probably revert back to carrying my laptop messenger style bag mostly because the Red Rock is too large for my everyday carry. I will use it if I need to carry additional items or if I ride my bike.

As a daypack the Red Rock is close to ideal for my style and length of day hikes. It has plenty of pockets for organizing gear and the yellow interior makes it really easy to find items deep in its recesses. For hydration I'm more of a water bottle guy, so the hydration pocket did not see much use for that purpose.

The Red Rock is rated to carry 25 lbs (11 kg) of gear. I have never carried that much gear in this pack and I don't think I ever will. I rarely carry that much weight for a 3 day backpacking trip. I think 25 lbs (11 kg) in a pack this small and an unpadded waist belt would be uncomfortable for any length of time.

The Trekking pole mount loops have worked effectively to carry my trekking poles when I was not using them. Simple to use, the pole point goes in the small loop at the bottom of the pack and the pole is secured under one of the side compression straps.

I really found no use for the daisy chain on the front of the pack. The side mesh pockets have worked out well to carry and secure my water bottles, one on each side. The Red Rock does not have any additional outside pockets on the shoulder straps or hip belt to carry small items like a camera or GPS but I really did not miss them. I usually wear cargo shorts and a hiking shirt with front pockets so I always had those items close at hand.

In the future I will continue to use the Red Rock as a versatile pack for my day hikes.


I would like to thank and Mountainsmith for the opportunity to test this pack.

Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 pack > Test Report by Bob Sanders

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