Packs & Bags

Our packs have proven themselves season after season in the world’s wildest places, from the Himalayas to the Arctic and back again. Even if your trips aren’t quite up to major expedition standard, you can be assured our pack range has a design that’s right for you. Attention to detail in construction is crucial because a pack has to endure harsh treatment, not only from the obvious external sources of wear and tear but from years of being packed and unpacked. From day packs, hiking packs and travel packs, to duffle bags, luggage, hydration packs and storage, we put quality, functionality and comfort into each of our designs knowing that over time it will become one of your most reliable travelling companions.

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What types of packs and bags can you get at Mountain Designs?

We stock a huge range of quality, functional packs and bags for every outdoor adventure. For everyday activities like walking, light trail hikes and commuting, we have day packs that are high in comfort, functionality and storage. Our hiking backpacks are designed for longer and more demanding day hikes and multi-day treks with ergonomic designs and functional features to help you manage bigger loads over longer distances. Our travel packs and luggage are obviously best for trips away, whether backpacking or overseas travel, and our duffle bags are all about hauling big gear loads. We then have packs and bags with specialised purposes, such as hydration packs and reservoirs, storage cells, and toiletry bags.

What features should you look for when choosing the best bag?

The features you need in your packs and bags are determined by the activities you are undertaking on your adventure. Some things to consider include:

Storage Space - This depends on how much gear you need to carry but a well-sized main compartment will take care of most of your gear. Small accessories pockets, both internal and external, are great for separating and organising specific items. Compression straps help to minimise bulk.

Carrying Method - Again this depends on how much gear you have, and whether you are on the move with it or just housing it. A hiking pack should have a high quality harness for long-lasting comfort and ease of mobility, while a bag will need to have robust, durable handles for lifting.

Weather Protection - Coatings and laminates provide waterproof protection, and a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish on the outer will manage light rain by beading the water off the surface. Some styles even have their own rain cover.

Durability - The best bags are constructed from heavy-duty materials that will handle the ongoing wear and tear caused by the outdoor elements. Ripstop fabrics, reinforced stitching, and durable zips and buckles ensure you get plenty of use from your hiking pack.

Design - Access to storage should be easy so look for multiple entry points to compartments. Once inside, dividers and pockets will allow you to organise your gear properly. Other useful functional design elements include hydration pouches, daisy chain attachment systems and lockable zips.

What sizes of packs and bags are available?

Packs and bags are generally measured by their load capacity or volume. This is listed as a volumetric measurement in litres, and will help you plan how much gear you can pack inside. The size is usually determined by the end use and what the pack has been designed for. For example, day packs typically range between 20L and 40L, hiking packs and travel packs can be anywhere between 40L and 80L, and duffle bags - designed to transport large gear quantities - can come in sizes right up to 120L.

Are there waterproof backpacks and bags available?

The majority of packs and bags in the Mountain Designs range have some sort of waterproof coating applied internally to their outer and base material. This is a laminate that prevents water from passing through to your belongings. Our packs and bags have also been treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, which stops the face fabric from becoming saturated by causing water to bead up and roll off the exterior. In addition to these elements, several of our day packs, hiking packs and travel packs feature a rain cover. This is a waterproof flap built into the design that can be pulled over the entire pack, effectively acting as a raincoat. Packs and bags themselves will not be 100% waterproof, however, unless the zips are waterproof zips and the seams have been fully sealed.

What are the best hiking backpacks?

The best hiking backpacks combine large but easy-to-access storage space, ergonomic designs, and durable material to ensure your gear is safe and sound over long trekking distances. From a comfort perspective a high quality harness is essential. This should be adjustable so you can personalise your fit, and ideally include padding and ventilation in the shoulder straps, back panel and hip belt, load adjusters to help with weight distribution, and a chest strap to aid stability. A roomy main compartment should house most of your gear while an adjustable hood can expand your storage and create a dedicated spot for your sleeping bag. Multiple accessories pockets are always handy, an internal divider can separate dirty clothes or shoes, and external attachment systems are useful for hanging hiking poles, water bottles or sleeping mats from.

What are the best bags for camping?

Camp adventures generally involve a fair bit of gear so you need plenty of storage. A duffle bag is a great choice for transporting large quantities of clothing and equipment, with storage space ranging from 50L up to 120L, and highly durable construction materials to protect your gear in transit. When you're camping you tend to be stationary so unless you're trekking to your destination, you don't necessarily need a hiking pack. But if you are on the move, a large volume hiking pack around the 60L/70L range will stow most of your personal requirements. Make sure the design has considered ergonomics because movement needs to be as free and easy as possible when you have a large load on your back. A high quality harness system with features such as padding, mesh ventilation, contoured shaping, load adjusters, chest straps and hip belts, will make carrying your camping gear on a hike much easier.

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