New Mountainsmith Roots Collection Reviewed

New Mountainsmith Roots Collection Reviewed


This autumn Mountainsmith is launching a new line of vintage style packs aptly called The Roots Collection — inspired by and comprised of updated versions of some Mountainsmith’s iconic designs from the 1990s.

The six different bags in the line are all made from 610 denier Cordura and feature lots of lashing points and massive zippers, which is a staple in Mountainsmith’s design language. Additionally, these packs have appealing “modern” features like integrated hydration sleeves, dedicated laptop storage, and organizational pockets which allow them to easily convert from activity to activity; lifestyle to lifestyle. In other words, versatility with a heritage play.


In May, we were sent the Wizard which, at 1770 cubic inches, is the largest pack in the Roots Collection. It is a simple top loader that easily integrated into my life for work, play, and being a stay-at-home dad (who rarely keeps the kids at home). It features a large main compartment that has an internal hydration sleeve as well as a small removable pouch for needful things to be accessed on the go. A small pocket on the top flap comes in super handy, as do two small Velcro pockets on the side, and a large, zippered laptop sleeve on the back. 

The outside of the pack has a multitude of lashing points and compression straps to better suit your needs as well as a side carry handle. The appeal of the Wizard – as well as the other packs in the Roots Collection – lies within its straightforward, easy to traverse, design. With very little organization skills you can easily add and subtract to the pack and balance multiple adventures at once; as well as exceed its recommended weight capacity of 40 pounds.

We had the opportunity to really put the Wizard to the test while out on a 5 mile “stroll” through the dense woods of my local mountain. It was hot and humid, and we got caught in two different drenching downpours. The Wizard was packed to the gills as I had intended to do some other product testing while drinking some cold beers when we got to the top. To my joy and surprise not only did the outside of the pack dry up rather quickly – but the inside was dry as a bone. 


The Wizard fits your back quite like an old book bag or satchel: squat and wide. Both the back panel and shoulder straps are padded to keep the pack comfortable in all conditions, but because the Wizard lacks load lifter straps, you really start to feel it pulling away from your back when it’s fully loaded on an incline. Not a deal-breaker by any means, though it is worth noting.

Overall, when you look at the Roots Collection as a whole, it almost feels as though Mountainsmith is launching this line with the folks who grew up using the original packs in mind. By reintroducing classic designs like the World Cup and the Grand Tour it’s a like a trip down memory lane and a strong move as we’re all older now and can appreciate the mix of that iconic styling with updated materials and modern amenities. The Roots line is a modern take on the packs that once worked for students and have been modified and updated to help us balance our multi-faceted, multi-functioning, caffeine driven adult lives. 

The Mountainsmith Roots Collection will appeal to people trying to balance office life with outdoor life; parents who bring their kids along out on the trail; and for world travelers who aren’t content with the type of luggage commonly associated with folks in their mid-thirties and older.

The 2016 Mountainsmith Roots Collection includes:


Wizard, $139.95

Capacity: 1770 Cubic Inches

Torso Fit Range: 15”-19”

Pack Weight: 2lbs 2oz

Ideal for: Extended Day Hikes, Weekend Adventures, Travel


World Cup, $119.95

Capacity: 1525 Cubic Inches

Torso Fit Range: 15”-19”

Pack Weight: 2lbs 2oz

Ideal for: Day Hikes, Campus Life, Commuting


Divide, $89.95

Capacity: 1340 Cubic Inches

Torso Fit Range: 15”-19”

Pack Weight: 1lbs 12oz

Ideal for: Day Hikes, Campus Life, Office


Grand Tour, $99.95

Capacity: 1160 Cubic Inches

Torso Fit Range: 15”-18”

Pack Weight: 1lbs 15oz

Ideal for: Quick Hikes, Campus Life, Office


Adventure Office Large, $119.95 (Small is 550 cubic inches; $60)

Capacity: 1220 Cubic Inches

Pack Weight: 2lbs 5oz

Ideal for: Office Life, Campus Life, Travel (Carry-On)