Gear Review: Mountainsmith Mayhem 35

Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack

I don’t know about you, but I love backpacks. When I first got married my wife wondered why I needed so many packs. I guess that was a legit question to ask. I can’t remember how I answered that questions but I am sure I said something like, "you know I need a different pack for snowboarding, and another for climbing and one for backpacking, etc." This was true to a degree. But really I love backpacks. And I do love certain packs for certain activities. With that said if you are looking for one pack that can work for multiple activities, then the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 is that pack.

Mountainsmith has taken all their years of experience and dialed in on the Mayhem 35. I have been impressed by how feature rich this pack is. There are enough places for you to clip, hook or stash gear on or in this pack that you can bring a few extra things along. 35 liters or 2135 cubic inches isn’t a huge pack, but it can hold enough gear for a day of touring or for a light overnight backpacking trip. If you really cram the Mayhem 35 you can gain an extra 6 liters of space.

mountainsmith mayhembackThe construction of the Mayhem 35 is top notch. Mountainsmith has used high quality materials so you don’t have to worry about the pack ripping or being torn to shreds from the metal edges of your skis or board. The back panel has Mountainsmith’s “anvil airway suspension” to help the pack breath better while on your back. The shoulder straps give plenty support and feel great. The hip belt on the Mayhem has minimal padded which makes it perfect to stow away when a hip belt would just be in the way.

The two downsides that I have come across with the suspension system of this pack are: First, if you are going to load this pack way down, the hip belts might not give you the support you might be used to or need. And second, there is no torso adjustment, so you cannot get a more custom fit depending your size and preferences.

With that said there are tons of features that this pack has to make up for any downsides. For snow sports this pack has you covered. You can carry skis A-frame style or diagonally and you can carry a snowboard or snowshoes vertically on the back of the pack. It also has stretchy shovel pocket that fits a shovel nicely but can be loaded with other gear when a shovel is not needed. I have read reviews of past Mayhem 35 packs and a big complaint was the shovel pocket was not big enough for most shovels. I did not find this to be the case with the new Mayhem 35. My shovel fit nicely in the pocket with even a little room to spare.

The Mayhem 35 has an ice axe loop so you can strap that on, but it also has trekking poles loops which make it nice and easy to strap your trekking pole on the back when not needed. The front pocket of this pack will fit a map, power bars and other essential items so they are easily accessible. The top pocket is a lot bigger and is a great place to put other items that you might need during the day. There are two water bottle pockets and to mesh pockets on the hip belt for snacks or other items you might want at your fingertips throughout the day. There is also a hydration sleeve, but you will have to supply the hydration bladder.

This is a top loading pack, which make it great to stuff it full of gear. The downside is getting to that piece of gear that is in the bottom of the pack. One feature that I would love to see on this back would be a side or bottom zipper to access the bottom. But as this isn’t your week long backpacking pack, it isn’t as essential as you probably won’t have that much gear to go through to get to the bottom. The compression straps on this pack also make it nice to tighten the load for added stability.

Overall this pack has a wide range of uses and overall functionality. This pack can be a little small for some people that like to take the kitchen sink on overnighters and it might just be too big for those that love to pack ultra-lite for ski days. But for someone looking for one pack that can do almost anything, this might be the one. If you plan on a few summit pushes this summer or love to head into the backcountry for quick overnighters, I definitely would say to check out this pack.


• Multiple way to strap skis, boards and other thing to this pack

• Two accessible pockets to store essentials for quick access

• Multifunctional - One pack for many different activities


• Top load only

• Hip belt might be a bit thin for some

• No torso adjustment

Features right off Mountainsmith's Website:

• PE framesheet load dispersion

• Load distributing Lumbar Control Point™ pad

• Tuck away waistbelt

• Dual density shoulder straps

• Air mesh backpanel with Anvil Airway™ perspiration control system

• Ski & Snowboard Carry

• Front panel pocket fits Ten Essentials

• Side panel mesh pockets fits SIGG™ and Nalgene® style water bottles

• Avalanche shovel pocket

• Tool / Trekking pole carry

• Storm collar (6L capacity)

• Bar tack reinforcements

• YKK® Zippers

• 3M™ Reflective Cord

• Materials: 210d Duramax™ Junior RipStop Nylon, 420d Duramax™ Nylon, 210d RipStop Liner

• Dimensions: 22" x 11" x 7" / 55.75 x 28 x 17.75 cm

• Volume: 2135 cubic inches / 35 L

• Extended Volume: 2500 cubic inches / 41 L

• Capacity: Up to 45 lbs

• Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz / 1.04 kg

• Fit Range: Torso: 16" - 21" (40.5 - 53.5 cm)

• MSRP: $129.95


Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.