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Mountain Hardwear
PCT 55L Backpack

4.125 out of 5 stars
8 Reviews
Color:Black Spruce


Size Chart


Why We Like The PCT 55L Backpack

Mountain Hardwear built the PCT 55L Backpack for better load control on long overnights and weekend excursions. Featuring their innovative Hoverbelt hip belt, the PCT follows our body's natural motions and actively shifts weight to where it's supposed to be, reducing fatigue and giving the feeling that it's virtually floating there. This works in unison with the trampoline back panel and lightweight aluminum frame to better support us as we maneuver jagged rocks and scraggly scrub brush. And if that tear-happy terrain happens to snag a part of our pack, we don't need to worry much. The base and shell are made of high-denier fabric that resists the daily trials of the trail.


  • Multiday pack that specializes in better carrying weight
  • 55L size is great for 2 or 3 days in the woods
  • Dual-density foam on hip and shoulders provides soft padding
  • Dynamic Hoverbelt moves with your body for better carry efficiency
  • Trampoline back panel is supportive and breathable
  • 7000 series aluminum frame gives lightweight strength
  • Over 9 external pockets provide plenty of fast access
  • Removable hydration sleeve doubles as daypack
  • Item #MHWZ9I5
Responsible Collection
[shell] 200D recycled ripstop nylon, [base] 420D Cordura nylon, [lining] 70D ripstop nylon, PU coating
[small/medium] 55L (3356cu in), [medium/large] 57L (3478cu in)
7000 series aluminum perimeter stay
Shoulder Straps
dual density foam
Waist Belt
3D dynamic, dual density foam
Hydration Compatible
Reservoir Included
top, bottom
2 side stretch water bottle, 2 hip belt, 2 zippered top lid, 1 bottom sleeping bag, 1 front shove-it with zippered interior, 1 front zippered
Ice Axe Carry
Trekking Pole Carry
Sleeping Bag Compartment
yes, bottom u-pocket
Detachable Daypack
[torso] (small/medium) 16-19in, (medium/large) 18-21in
Claimed Weight
[small/medium] 3lb 12oz, [medium/large] 3lb 13oz
Manufacturer Warranty

Overall Rating

4 based on 8 ratings

Review Summary

1 Stars - 0 reviews
2 Stars - 0 reviews
3 Stars - 1 reviews
4 Stars - 5 reviews
5 Stars - 2 reviews

What do you think about this product?


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3 out of 5 stars

June 5, 2024

So much potential, but design problems.

The pack is yet to be used, but will be a couple times soon. There is a 'fatal flaw' in the design of the day pack bladder holder. Customer service was unable to grasp it and/or give me a straight answer. The day pack is a roll top like a dry bag. In that design MHW forgot about HOW the bladder hose would EXIT the day pack to the user. The only options, from my perspective not MHW, is to either cut a hole in the day pack (immediately voiding any warranty) or leaving the top open, which interferes with how it attaches to the main pack. I exclusively use a bladder for hydrations so I'm struggling with whether I want to use this pack at all now. Another more minor flaw is the sewing on the hip belt. It was not finished well and missed by Quality Control on the particular pack I received. There is a ROUGH part that I am hoping gets used to smooth, but we'll see as it touches directly to my person and may cause a hot spot and chaffing. Now that I'm done complaining about it. The design features are great. It, in theory, met what I needed, and I'm eager to try it. Not sure how I'll use my 3 ltr bladder though. I can't recommend this pack at this time, but I own it and will have to deal with it and see...

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Originally reviewed on

4 out of 5 stars

June 1, 2024

Perfect except very noisy.

This pack is everything I wanted. Super comfortable, lots of pockets, very versatile. However, it is the noisiest pack I've ever owned. I'm hoping it will quiet down after breaking in, but after a year it's still noisy. Are there any tricks to break it in and quiet the rustle/creak of fabric?


Originally reviewed on

5 out of 5 stars

March 10, 2024

Best backpack

Superb design and construction!! A real innovative backpack. Beautiful product!

Originally reviewed on

5 out of 5 stars

July 10, 2023

So many great features

Comfortable, light and tons of features in this pack. The side water bottle pouches are my favourite feature by far. The hip belt has a pocket that comfortably fits an iPhone, and includes a small day pack on the inside. I liked this bag so much in the 55L which are very well allocated space, that I bought a smaller day pack in this line as well.


Originally reviewed on

4 out of 5 stars

May 22, 2023

Great pack

Great pack, could use an interior zipper pocket. Side pockets were perfect for easy access to water, snacks and maps


Originally reviewed on

4 out of 5 stars

January 15, 2023

Well Constructed Pack

After trying out around a dozen backpacks, I ultimately settled on this pack due to how well its constructed and how comfortable it is when loaded with weight. I am yet to take it on a long trip, but I have confidence it will remain comfortable on a multi-day drip. After trying so many backpacks, it came down to this bag, and the Gregory paragon 58. Though the paragon was slightly more comfortable, it is made with flimsy fabric doesn't seem like it would last very long or take abuse from the trail very well. One thing I would change about the PCT 55 is the hydration reservoir pocket, which doubles as a day pack. This part of the bag is sort of clunky and not the easiest to deal with. I would rather have a traditional hydration reservoir pocket on the bag. A little disappointing, but not a deal breaker. Along with this, the pockets on the hip belt don't seem large enough to be practical, but the comfort and the durability of the rest of the bag makes it seem as though its worth the sacrifice, especially since this bag has such large side pockets where things can be stuffed. This seems like a durable bag that will last me decades, not to mention Mountain Hardwear has a great repair shop for their products if they happen to break or wear down prematurely.


Originally reviewed on

4 out of 5 stars

October 29, 2022

Great pack

Freaking love the size and just how it's put together. Haven't had a chance to put it to use yet but just from how it feels and packs I'm happy with it.


Originally reviewed on

4 out of 5 stars

July 10, 2021

My first real backpacking pack and its almost perfect

This is my first real pack for overnight backpacking. I have been hiking and using Mtn Hardware packs for a long time I currently have a Splitter 20 that I've had for about 8 years and put through the ringer. Also my newer pack a Rainshadow 36 that's about 4 years old and used and abused with no sign of giving up anytime soon. So going into this pack I had and still have very high expectations. So far I can only give initial impressions as my only real use thus far was a 3 mile overnight trip to the upper twin lake on Mt.Hood about a 3 mile hike. It performed pretty well for that but I still yet to put it though some more punishing things like get caught in a rainstorm to truly test how well it holds up in more undesirable circumstances. The sizing is a touch big but that was to be expected as I'm very thin but with a broad build making sizing of clothes and packs a little more challenging. So for people more normally proportioned it should fit just fine and it still worked just fine for me. The pack has plenty of room was able to fit everything I could need and more: First Aid kit, two changes of clothes, half my tent (went with my girlfriend and she had the rest), a fleece and rain jacket, food for two, 3.5 liters of water, sleeping bag, my fly fishing gear, a shovel, ect. So far so good and really I would have rated this 4.5 if possible but since I can't ill have to leave it at a 4. As to why, there is one major drawback I've found with carrying a hydration bladder. So the pack has a day-pack included that attaches inside the pack for ease of use and it has a clip inside to attach your bladder inside the day-pack. This is all and good however I don't really plan on using the day-pack and that bladder clip is the only one in the pack. So if you remove the day-pack you lose your mounting point. I found an easy fix that being some Velcro tape stuck together fed through an exposed portion of the metal frame at the top of the inside of the pack that allows me to hold a bladder in place (A zip-tie worked as well but is much less practical). A spot to feed through the hose would be nice as well but is not necessary as feeding through the top works just fine, just a detail that would be a great addition. So overall first impressions are great build quality is top notch and can hold a crazy amount for a 55 liter, just a few little things here and there that would be super easy fixes to just make it that much better. I very much look forward to putting it through its paces this summer and beyond, I have high hopes.


Originally reviewed on