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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 pack > Test Report by Michael Mosack

August 14, 2013



NAME: Mike Mosack
AGE: 49
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons and in various locations within the USA, to include my favorites being Yosemite and Sierra Nevada, California. I also have worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I go lighter whenever possible. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight.



Manufacturer: Mountainsmith
Image from Mountainsmith website

Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $79.95
Listed Weight: 1 lb 9 oz (0.7 kg)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 10 oz (0.75 kg)

Colors available include:
Midnight Blue
Evergreen (I am testing this color model)
Heritage Black
Chili Red

Other details:
Warrantee - Lifetime Warrantee against material and defects

As listed on the website:
Features: - 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
Capacity - Up to 25 lbs

Fit Range - Torso: 16" - 20" (41 - 51 cm)


I noted that the manufacturer's website names the daypack as a 25 L pack. However, the website also lists the volume at 25.99 L and the informational card attached to the daypack lists the volume at 26 L. I would like to see some consistency in this.

Having inspected the pack, I found that all the zippers, buckles, adjustments, etc work as they should and that the pack seems to be well made.


While there were no included instructions, the manufacturer's website has links to YouTube videos showing standard fit, care, and use tips for their products.

There is a dynamic QR code (which is a type of bar code that is of a "square" or two-dimensional design) on the attached informational card that directs me to the manufacturer's website. The information is provided in different languages on the attached card. The manufacturer also provides numerous contact information.


The pack feels comfortable when worn and it is easily adjusted at the shoulder straps as well as the waist belt. The pack itself has compression straps which, by design, should help compress the pack to hold the contents more snugly. They seem to work as they should. The side pockets do in fact, hold a 32 oz (1 L) bottle in each. I choose to use (or reuse) Gatorade drink bottles as they are lighter in weight than my wide-mouth type Nalgene bottles.

Hanging a hydration bladder

I have installed my 100 oz (3 L) Camelbak hydration bladder. The bladder goes in easily and connects inside to the loop that is inside the pack which allows the bladder to hang inside its own pocket and not drop down to the bottom of the pack. The hydration hose is routed through the single access hole in the top center of the pack between the shoulder straps. I can then route the hose to either my left or right shoulder strap as desired. There is a sewn loop on each shoulder strap that the hose routes through to help secure it further.

Routing a hydration tube


I am initially impressed with this day pack. It appears that it is well made and easy to adjust. I am looking forward to getting out with this daypack!

I found inconsistency in the claimed volume of the daypack - all within the manufacturer's own statements on their website and attached informational card. While I am not prepared to "verify" the volume of this daypack, I would like to see this corrected.



Location #1 - Pacific Crest Trail section on Laguna Mountain, Eastern San Diego County in Southern California, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 85 F (13 to 29 C)
Duration: Two trips, the first was 2 days and the second was 3 days (and nights) in duration.

Location #2 - Numerous miscellaneous day hikes ranging from 2 - 5 miles (3 - 8 km) in the area of Eastern San Diego County.
Conditions: Maintained trails, grassy areas, some concrete sidewalks and maintained roadway shoulders. Temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 F (21 to 32 C).
Duration: Day hikes only.


I have found so far that this day pack is quite comfortable. I have used in numerous times as a regular day pack as well as a weekend pack as I work on my quasi ultralight style backpacking. I'm getting there in my own way and in my own time . I have also used this pack as a daily pack taken with me on the job.

I like the roominess of the pack as well as the padding on the shoulder straps and lumbar/back pad. One of the little quirks I have is that I often carry my pack on one shoulder leaving the other shoulder strap to hang freely. The shoulder straps on this pack are constructed of a material that is a little slippery so my strap refuses to stay on my shoulder without sliding off. This same feature, however, allows the pack to settle comfortably on my shoulders comfortably while I move without causing any rubbing or pinching; so that's always a good thing.

There are mesh pockets on each side of the pack. These pockets are large enough to shove a 32 oz (1 l) bottle in each of them. My issue is that while wearing the pack, it is difficult for me to be able to easily reach around and remove or replace a bottle from the mesh pockets. I would like to be able to get to my water bottle while on the move without having to remove my pack.

There are numerous pockets within this pack and I find them all very convenient. Once my pack is filled, I can easily compress the pack via the straps on the sides. The pack's contents are kept secure and it makes the entire thing feel solid.

I have a 13 inch (33 cm) Sony Vaio lap top computer and this is big enough for me to easily place my computer inside the pack. I take my computer with me every work day and when I travel overnight.


This pack has worked very well for me so far during this testing phase. There are some things I like better than others, but I've never had a pack that was absolutely perfect either.



Location #1 - El Capitan Mountain, Eastern San Diego County in Southern California.
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and rocky outcroppings. Temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 F (24 to 32 C).
Duration: Two day-hikes lasting approximately 4-6 hours respectively.

Location #2 - Salton Sea area of California State Parks and Recreation located near Thermal, California. Conditions: Foot trails, open desert areas (sandy / rocky). Temperatures ranging from 80 to over 110 F (27 to 43+ C).
Elevation: -227 feet (-69 m) below sea level
Duration: One trip, 3 days, two nights.

Location #3 - Conejos Creek Trail, Lakeside, California.
Conditions: Rocky and sandy worn foot trail in and around scrub desert brush; clear and dry with temperature approximately 80 F (27 C)
Elevation: Approximately 750 - 1300 ft (230 - 400 m)
Duration: Day hike - five hours, including a lunch break


I don't have much new to add to this test. I can tell you that I like this pack. My body style is such that I have a larger frame and the pack "hides" behind me pretty well as I sometimes find myself going through brush and other tight areas. The shoulder straps have a texture that allows them to move freely against my shirt. As I stated above, this also allows a single shoulder strap to slide off my shoulder, but when I properly wear the pack (using both shoulder straps) I am very comfortable and without any hot spots.

During the full test of this pack, I found a use for the daisy chain that is sewn onto the pack. I clipped a small pouch containing my ipod Nano. You can see it in the below photograph. This set up allowed me to have quick access to my ipod, but I was always concerned it might get yanked off. It would swing back and forth as I walked. Fortunately I never lost it.

The side mesh pockets work well as a catch all and are deep enough that my stuff rarely falls out even when the pack is not always vertical. Unfortunately, the placement of the mesh pockets make it virtually impossible for me to retrieve even a water bottle from them while wearing the pack.


I found this pack works well for me as a computer / day pack I can take to work with me. I have also found it works well as an overnight / weekend pack to take onto the trail. There are enough pockets to accommodate a multitude of options. It is well made and although mine shows that it has been around the block and through the woods a bit, it does not show any signs of degradation or excessive wear and tear. I am quite happy with it.

Likes -
The size and comfort of the pack
The numerous pockets
Compression straps, hydration compatible
Quality construction

Would prefer to see improved or changed -
The mesh pockets are not easily reachable while wearing the pack
Hydration system is not included
Inconsistency within the manufacturer's provided information with regard to stated volume of the pack.

I would really like to thank both Mountainsmith and for allowing me to participate in this test.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Michael Mosack

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Mountainsmith Red Rock 25 pack > Test Report by Michael Mosack

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