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You believe variety is the spice of life, so it's no surprise you tackle ambitious ski tours in the winter, climb alpine rock routes in the fall, and bag 14ers in the summer months. Luckily, Mountainsmith designed the Mayhem 35 Pack with all your favorite pursuits in mind. The slim profile allows you to climb with minimal restriction, and the mesh back panel keeps you comfy on sun-baked slopes.

  • PE framesheet provides enough support to comfortably carry up to 45 pounds
  • Suspension best fits torsos between 16 and 21 inches
  • Anvil Airway Perspiration Control System features twin elevated foam pads with an open spinal column for ventilation and moisture control
  • Lumbar Control Point utilizes a pronounced padded area to lock the pack onto the lumbar region of the spine for improved load transfer and a better fit
  • Tuck-away waist belt provides support when you need it and stays out of the way when you don't
  • Dual-density shoulder straps provide a comfortable carry
  • Multiple straps allow you to carry skis or a snowboard
  • Top access makes for organized packing
  • Front panel pocket is ideal for a rain jacket or puffy
  • Front panel shovel pocket provides quick access to avy gear
  • Side mesh water bottle pockets help you stay hydrated
  • Side and bottom compression straps help to balance the load
  • Storm collar compression strap beneath the lid is ideal for packing a rope
  • Ice axe and trekking pole loops provide secure external attachment points
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

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Mountainsmith Mayhem 35

    Although the pack was designed as a climbing or alpine pack, I selected it because its feature set, shape, and volume also make it an ideal day and carry-on travel pack. This pack lacks any load-bearing frame, and its plastic frame sheet serves only to protect a person's back from sharp and/or hard objects. You might think the frame sheet also provides the pack structure, but it does not in this case unless you fully stuff the pack from the bottom up. If you do not stuff the pack as you load it, then loading and unloading the pack results in the top third of the pack "caving in" toward the pack interior. I find this the single most annoying feature of the pack since it makes loading and unloading more work than necessary.

    On the other hand, the extreme flexibility of the frame sheet also permits it to precisely conform to the shape of a person's back, which brings a pack load closer to the body and helps reduce muscle fatigue. Despite this benefit, I still opt for a stiffer structure since I prefer ease of loading and unloading to a closer carry. This is a rucksack, and I have no plans to carry more than about 25-30 pounds in a pack with no load-bearing frame or without a true hip belt (packs of this small volume are too short to have an effective means of transferring load from shoulders to hips--unless you are a relatively short person).

    Aside from that issue, I think the fabric selection, features, and construction quality are first rate. I especially like the long shoulder pads, hide-away belt, belt pockets, and side compression straps that can wrap all the way around the non-harness pack side. The interior hydration sleeve doubles nicely as a laptop or document sleeve. The use of 420D fabric along the entire harness side of the pack is a nice touch. The Mayhem's 35 liter (41 liter extended) capacity and slender pack shape is perfect for day hiking, commuting to work, or carrying about one week's worth of necessities on board most major airlines.

    Great 4-season daypack

    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

    I was looking for an alpine pack that I could use year round and in all conditions. That's a lot to ask, but I finally found what I was looking for in the Mayhem.

    This is a great pack for skiing and snowshoeing, and I'd imagine it's also great for snowboarding (I'm not a boarder). There are multiple ski carry options, as opposed to many packs that have only one choice. The front pocket fits my avalanche shovel perfectly. The ice axe loop can be essential for hiking in any season here in Colorado. The ski/trekking pole loops are perfect for ski mountaineers, who will eventually want to switch from poles to an ice axe and will need a place to securely attach their poles to their pack. The compression straps make snowshoe carry very easy, and they also provide a good spot to attach crampons or a crampon bag. You can easily carry snow pickets and other hardware with this pack as well.

    For summer, this pack has good ventilation. That's hard to find on alpine climbing packs! The back panel is simple, comfortable, and there is good airflow on the back, which is something I find useful in all seasons. And there are water bottle pockets! And they hold actual water bottles! That is almost unheard of on mountaineering daypacks.

    Some people might find the hip belt too thin. I don't. The pack carries loads well, and the lightly padded belt makes for better flexibility in climbing and skiing situations. The back frame is flexible and perfect for the kinds of loads you can fit in this pack.

    The Mayhem is extremely durable, like just about every other Mountainsmith product I've come across. Unfortunately, mine was stolen a few weeks ago! Once I get the funds, I definitely hope to replace my Mayhem 35 with another Mayhem 35! There are lots of good options when it comes to this kind of pack, but this ended up being exactly what I was looking for.

    Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack

    From backcountry skin tracks, to alpine climbs to overnight backpacking trips, the Mayhem 35 is a technical virtuoso. Ski and snowboard carry options, shovel pocket and trekking pole/ice axe loops allow you to easily dial this pack in for every type of adventure. A low profile, tuckable hip belt allows this pack to comfortably function with a climbing harness and help you gain the next summit on your tick list.

    Since this backpack comes in one size, is it a unisex backpack? I am 5 ft 4 in tall. Thanks!


    Great question! While I wouldn't peg this as a one-size fits all, it is a pack that either males or females are able to use as long as the torso length matches up.

    The torso measurement for this pack is: 17 - 22in

    Shoot me an email anytime you have questions!

    Jared D.

    Expert Gearhead