Not Just For Dayhikes
If you're like me and hate to carry a crap load of unnecessary gear in a bulky over-sized pack, then take a look at the Mountainsmith Centennial 30 because contrary to popular belief, you can squeeze more out of it than just a day hike! Obviously you won't be scaling Everest with this guy but if you generally pack kinda light then you can easily squeeze a weekend trip out of this pack. With some careful and thoughtful packing, I was able to fit all of the following gear in here fairly easily: My Integral designs South Col bivy sack, Big Agnes synthetic lightweight sleeping bag (in a drycomp sack), Western Mountaineering compressed down pillow, full hydration bladder, Snow Peak gigapower stove, fuel canister, and mug, small emergency first aid/survival kit, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear, Arcteryx Easy Rider fleece, Katadyn water filter, raincover, and of course a few packs of trail mix/gorp and freeze-dried meals; That's quite a bit of gear and did I mention the pack was still very comfortable to wear! If you're using a tent instead of a bivy sack or ENO hammock you're more than likely going to be pressed for space but I almost always use a bivy sack or hammock. One of the great features that allows you to fit bulkier items like tents, pads, or sleeping bags in this guy is the the adjustable lashing strap that runs underneath the lid to the outter pocket, you can just strap it safely under the lid and you're good to go! I have only found two flaws on this pack. The port for the hydration reservoir hose is very small coming out of the pack, so small that my camelback bladder has become a permanent edition to this pack, as I can't get it out now. On the bright side, the construction and stitching on this pack is awesome, as I fought like hell to get that hose through and was sure I was going to rip the stitching somewhere but never did! The second fault is that if you use the mesh side side pockets for a nalgene or sigg bottle, it takes up a lot of space pressing in on your pack, but I didn't deduct any points since I rarely use bottles. To wrap it up, the centennial 30 is a perfect for everything from a day hike to a weekend out in the mountains especially for the price, but don't expect to get much more than that out of it.