View Full Version : Mountainsmith Ghost 50l pack

Aaron l
05-25-2015, 12:25
I recently purchased a mountainsmith ghost pack during the REI sale and have since taken it for a spin to wolf shelter and back from Wintergreen (20 miles or so round trip) these are my initial impressions:

VALUE: this pack has been discontinued and the price reflects this fact, at $80 you just can't beat it!

FUNCTION: this pack preformed perfectly! I loaded it to 40lbs (volunteered to carry my family members stuff to reach that weight, mostly water) I've been using a women's Kelty Trekker since I was a teen and because of nostalgia I have had trouble replacing it, even though it's two inches two small for me. My usual 3 season weight is around 35lbs (I use almost all vintage gear). The comfort of this pack just blew me away! Now because I'm a human stick insect, I just don't have hips at all, usually I handle this by wearing my belt around my abdomen and compressing my mid section in order to make my hips more pronounced to hold weight without sliding down (hope that makes sense) this inturn makes the shoulder straps too high, and effects the packs balance. The Ghosts belt complete solves this problem by curving upwards from the back panel and over my iliac crest, sticking the lumbar pad to my tail bone like glue, no sliding down at all!! And if you do prefer wearing your belt over your hip instead of above it there are upper and lower straps which I believe would form a cup around your protruding hip bone.
The back panel is extremely efficient at letting air flow between you and the pack keeping you cool on hot physical treks. But the best aspect of this is the movement this system allows. I could twist, crouch, bend, and even tie my shoes without my spine hitting anything hard or the hip-belt sliding around. I have terrible posture which creates lots of pressure points when using my Trekker, not so with the ghost. It fit out of the box so I have not tried adjusting the height of the pack but it looks easy enough. This adjustment point is also the source of my only complaint; the Velcro strap that locks the shoulder straps in places tend to cause a slight itch in between my shoulder blades, but I think this can be solved with a sliver of gaffer tape over a seam, but will update on that.
The shoulder straps are also very comfy (I try to split the weight between shoulders and hips never exclusively one or the other, so i can't really comment on how the pack would work used that way) and I felt very connected to the pack, as if it was an extension of my body. Kept the load very stable and almost never slid around due to natural movement.

CAPACITY: this pack is a panel style loader with a very organized feel between the two pack long compartments (I don't like the top loaded tube style, but only because I'm use to an external frame pack tha is very organized, so again a personal preference) the main compartment unzips all the way down the pack like a suit case making it very easy to find the thing you won't with very little digging. The bottom of the main compartment was big enough for my 1975 trailwise chevron sleeping bag but I did have to use a compression sack. Most of my gear is kinda bulky, but I had no problem fitting everything without any real stress on the zips. There is a front pocket with a waterproof zip but it's small and I just kept my binos phone t.p. and towel. The main compartments width made it very very easy to balance the load. The side pockets completely blew my mind (again, nostalgia has kept me from the finer things in backpacking) you can easily carry two 1L bottles in each pocket, they stretch for miles and seem very durable (will update). The hipbelt pockets are lame but I have never used hip belt pockets ever because they get in the way of my natural arm movements. They can fit two bars or a pack of smokes and lighter, but beyond that they're worthless.

AESTHETICS: the pack is cool looking...I think, style is not my strong suit, and couldn't care less really. I never had a problem with the pack catching on anything while hiking (will update). Lots of long straps, but stick bugs should be used to this 😄

OVERALL: I would recommend this pack to any skinny, bony, and tall person. You won't be a part of the UL fad but you will be comfortable and you won't be carrying 30lbs all on your shoulders because this hipbelt is beefy not UL thin. If your going out for a weekend and want to fish, it will comfortably fit, if you want to carry that camp chair it will comfortably fit, got kids/nephews, it will comfortably fit, hunting dog with you and gun, it will fit comfortably.

(DISCLAIMER: this is kind of a biased review being my first experience with a internal frame pack)
Any questions, comments, insults, and love letters are welcome and must be submitted in writing😄