Could have been great, but so many bizarre design decisions...
I wanted to love this pack so badly. There are some good things about it, but many things that make no sense. I bought this for a few reasons:
1) to travel with - as an ultralight bag that can be easily stuffed into a larger bag, and then taken out for flights, day-trips, etc.
2) to run with - I wanted something ultralight that I could run a couple miles to work with, with a day's worth of clothes inside (#1 above was the main reason, but I figured this would be a nice bonus)
3) As a compression sack, if I ever needed one while camping, etc.
- it's light, of course
- it's comfortable. MUCH more comfortable than I thought.
- a large (I have a 16" screen) laptop fits in the back pocket where the foam insert is.
- didn't bounce around much at all while running with it, despite the lack of a waist belt
- folds into the top pocket, which is very nice
- this is not a compression sack. The regular Marmot Kompressor has compression-like straps and works much better in this regard. If you compare them, you'll see that this pack has its two side straps oriented sideways, so you really can't compress things vertically as you can in the Kompressor, which has all 3 straps oriented vertically. Futhermore, the amount you can tighten the straps on this pack is limited because they are looped at the ends. Difficult to describe, but you can't pull the strap all the way.
- The large outside pocket drives me insane. It's huge (basically covers about half the pack) and is one huge pocket, so everything is all over the place. The zipper, as you can see, is in the middle, so it's difficult to put larger things in. It takes a lot of effort to put just a normal paperback book in. If the zipper were on one side, you could just slide it in, but since it's in the middle you put half the book in, then kind of bend it and fold it until you can the other side in. Finally the pocket is made of mesh so that people can see everything inside it (no I really don't want people to see my ipod while I'm walking around Guatemala City, thank you), and the contents are less protected from weather. If there were a few smaller pockets (including open side pockets for a water bottle) enclosed with the same ripstop material, this would be infinitely better.
- When the bag's closed, the top pocket is "curved" around the front of the bag, so you really can't put anything in there. Anything rigid (even a pen) will prevent the bag from being closed as it's intended to be. This pocket is pretty much useless except for really tiny things, and its only use is really to hold the pack when you fold it in there.
- Two cords that don't really do anything, near the top. They're just loops. Maybe you can hang stuff from them but I think they would bounce around a lot.
- Says it's hydration pack compatible, but all other packs I've seen that are have a slit for the tube at the top of the bag. This has a hole like that, but it's at the bottom! I am absolutely clueless about what the hole is for. If you use this as a hydration pack, you're just going to stick the hose through the top of the pack somewhere. It's possible, since it doesn't close with a zipper, but would be a bit clunky.
- Like many packs, there's a stretchy part of the chest strap, that is supposed to expand when you connect the clip. However, it's doubled up and takes too much force to expand it - so if you tighten the chest strap and connect it, instead of this elastic part being expanded, the two shoulder straps just come closer together, and you're left with this unsightly loop on your chest.
- the top pocket (which the back stuffs into) could have been a lot smaller. When you do it, it can be further compressed by at least 30%. I wish this pocket were smaller so it would take up less space when stuffed in.
In short, I do like this pack - it just could have been so much better. If you are trying to decide between this pack and the regular Kompressor, like I was, the *only* difference is the size, because the extra pocket on this one is close to useless.