View Full Version : Mountainsmith Auspex Pack
Does anyone have experience with this pack? Am interested to know about COMFORT, durability, water resistance, adjustability.
Also would like to know about the manufacturer's response to warranty issues.
I dont have firsthand information but I bought a pack recently and the outfitter recommended pretty strongly against the Auspix for a number of reasons that he ticked off, unfortunately I dont remember them.
IM not trying to be funny but I think the main reason the outfitter was strongly suggesting against the auspex was to get you to buy the pack he was trying to sell you at the time!!! An outfitter isnt really a reliable person to ask about a pack because they are also salesman after all! Streamweaver
I've considered an Auspex as well (looking to replace my 7 pound Osprey for my thru-hike), and I've heard pros and cons. It's been awhile since I've investigated, but I recall hearing some complaints about its durability. Not sure if there are any, but you might check for reviews over at www.backpackgeartest.org.
I have been working with Mountainsmith Packs since 1994 and I would definitely WARN you against buying one. For starters they simply don't believe in frame sizing...only one stay length per model. They don't understand the difference between men and women...their Chimera is a pathetic women's model with almost nothing different from the Auspex other than the stay length. Their quality is suspect at best...and their foams have a very high tendency to break down immediately...especially the lumber pad. They are NOT well priced and they are NOT much lighter than comparable packs by Gregory, Osprey or Arc'Teryx (all which have a mininum of 3 frame sizes and interchangable hipbelts and harnesses). Mountainsmith has never settled on a design, everything they have tried in the last 10 years has been drastically changed, discontinued or "re-worked" which basically means nothing they have ever done has worked. But hey...they are light!
I know two people who have Mountainsmith packs and neither one of them are satisfied with the fit or quality. I can't remember specific issues but both have said they wished they'd bought something else.
Thanks to all for your input on Moutainsmith packs. The weight of 3 lb 7 oz is what first interested me in the Auspex pack.
STRANGER - You mentioned in your post "they are NOT much lighter than comparable packs by Gregory, Osprey or Arc'Teryx "
Is there a specific pack from those manufacturers you would recommend??? I really dont want to carry a 4 1/2 ++ pound pack.
a lot of it depends on the intended use of the pack but for myself hiking on the AT I would probably use a Gearskin from Moonbow but I probably would not recommend it if you were planning on doing a lot of bushwhacking. My Gearskin is very comfortable but to get a good fit you almost need to find someone that knows exactly how to measure you - in my case I was measured by Jonathan of Moonbow and he obviously knew what he was doing.
See link: Moonbow Gear (http://moonbowgear.com/)
We have the aether 60 that we like very much. 3.5 lbs or there abouts. Looks like they have made some changes to it since we got ours in 2001. Our hip belts are not changable. Also, I've never actually weighed just the pack.
I am also very interested in the gearskin or similar pack, but to be honest my aether is so comfortable, I can't see a strong need to switch. I never carry more than 30 lbs, and usually more like 23 lbs.
Mr. Hog On Ice (or anyone else), how many miles/days do you have on your Moonbow? I am seriously considering their one man pack/tent system. The design seems brilliant, but I don't have a lot of money and am slightly worried about durability.
The Backpacker gear guide lists the Auspex at 4200 CI, and the Aether 60 at 3700 CI. So, the question is partially, how big a pack do you need?
Just to give you a different opinion regarding these guys. I used the Mountainsmith Ghost on my hike last year and was really pleased. It was 3100 cu in, 2.5 lbs, and $130. It was big enough to carry everything I needed (even with cold weather gear for the Whites), but I carry a hammock (forget it if you carry a tent). The pack was comfortable so maybe I got lucky as far as the one size fits all goes, however there is some flexibility here with the sets of straps they have.
I did have a problem with the Hoop Stay. This was common with their older models......the stays would actually poke through the bottom of the pack after enough wear and tear. I was able to fix it myself with duct tape and held together for the rest of the hike. Afterwards, I sent it off to Mountainsmith and they fixed it by reinforcing the anchors where the hoop stays end. The current versions have the reinforced stays. They also sent me a new buckle when one busted on me during a recent dayhike (which arrived three days after I called them!)
I have found that the Gregory packs to be too heavy and heard several people complain about theirs. However, it is the most popular pack for the trail so the number of users/complaints will be higher.
Blue Jay - I just received the Gearskin recently so all that I have on it is 18 miles so far. Sgt. Rock however has put in a lot more miles than I - you might want to ask him about durability. Note that you have considerable choice in fabric all the way from Silnylon to relatively heavy pack cloth. I picked one that is roughly in the middle of the spectrum and the construction as I see it is quite good - well sewn attachements for belt and harness and all the straps. The only thing I am a little concerned about is if I lose too much weight then the belt becomes a problem - since the belt is sewn on that means I would need a major adjustment (ie cut off old belt and sew on new smaller belt).
Replying to Jeff about some recommendations...but realize that I come from both a manufacturing and user background, so I don't put weight alone as a very important issue...rather fit, suspension, quality then weight. You need all of these to have a great pack.
Here are some models that will be hovering around 3-4lbs, of course weight will depend on how much you hack off and whether or not you toss the lid. I would check out:
Gregory: Reality, Gravity, Chaos (I've heard they are coming out with some real light packs soon, but haven't confirmed it with Wayne Gregory yet)
Arc'Teryx: Khamsin 52 or 62 (I weighed the 52 without the lid a year ago and it was exactly 3.11 lbs in a medium)
Osprey: Aether 60, Eclipse 36 and 42
Mystery Ranch: Trance and Deep Trance
One thing you might wanna think about is that the last place you save weight is a pack...that doesn't mean your pack should weigh 7 lbs, but the weight of the pack empty is not as crucial as you might think. Save weight where you can, but a pound here or there has never made a difference on any of my hikes. Good luck!