Mountainsmith Apex 80 gear review

Mountainsmith Apex 80

I am an amatuer backpacker with experience roaming around in the Wind Rivers, Zion National Park, Yosemite, and other great sites in the western United States.  My latest adventure has been working for a wilderness therapy program in southern Utah.  Its a great job, but puts a lot of wear and tear on the body, the mind, and especially gear.  

We admit as staff that whatever goes into the field is usually destroyed since we are camping with the students for 8 days straight every other week for months.  Daily basic itinerary: get up, eat, pack up camp, hike, find water, set up camp, eat, and go to bed.  For the safety of the students, our own well being, and to make sure we have everything the program needs, we are regularly carrying from 70 to 90 lbs of gear every day.  Sometimes it seems a bit excessive, but the Mountainsmith Apex 80 backpack has made it very doable.  

Mountainsmith Apex 80I am a smaller body at 5'7" and have found that I can carry any load with comfort with all of the adjustment straps for the shoulders, back, and waist.  I can easily transfer the weight to my preference of my hips or my shoulders, depending on what I need for the day.  I have loved having a large compartment to store my -30 degree sleeping bag in, and still having plenty of room to put my fire gear, extra clothes, food, and water.  

But one of the best designs of this pack is all of the accessable loops and straps on the outside of the pack.  We regularly find as staff that we need to add or transfer gear, student medications, more water, and/or clothing that would be difficult to move in certain conditions.  With spacious side panels, loops for caribiners to attach to, mesh pockets, and drawstrings, I have plenty of places to keep these things accessable.  

The pack has held up over many miles and has shown little sign of wear or breakdown.  I have had no problem with loose straps, torn fabric, defective zippers, or other ruined gear.  I have gone through hot, cold, snow and rain, and I am happy to still be carrying the Apex 80.  Happy trails!


• Parallel Y-Frame adjustable suspension

• Load distributing Lumbar Control Point™ pad

• ICS Cup™ waistbelt fitment (ICS - Iliac Crest Shelf)

• Anvil Airway™ perspiration control system

• Dual density shoulder straps

• Delta Wing Compression™ belt adjustment system

• Front panel pocket fits Ten Essentials with zippered access to main compartment

• SlingShot™ detachable top lid converts into a lumbar pack or shoulder sling

• Side panel mesh pockets fit most water bottle styles

• Zippered side panel accessory pockets

• Separate sleeping bag compartment with internal divider

 MSRP: $209.95