Friday, December 12, 2014

Gear Review! Mountain Hardwear’s Scrambler 30

When it comes to backpacks for my daily run commute I tend to have a few “must haves.” First it has to have both a chest and waist strap. Second, it needs to fit comfortably on my back and shoulders and third it needs to hold all of my stuff. Well the Scrambler 30 covers all of these things and more! My history of backpacks goes back four or five years when I used standard backpacks to run commute. The result was frequent chafe marks on my neck (not sexy) and my running shirts also often got rubbed the wrong way along the waist and the fabric would get pilly. Never mind the shoulder support would usually be non-existent, giving me sore shoulders. Eventually I wised up and got a Salomon hydration pack that fit well but the chest strap was one long piece of elastic so I would perform a funky yoga move to get in and out of it every time-oh and lord help me if I was wearing a hat too! Thankfully I never dislocated my shoulders. Then came the scrambler 30. I was dubious, I mean going from a 3 liter pack to a 30 liter pack seems like it would add a lot more weight right? Nope. The pack itself is less than a pound. It certainly covers the “hold all my stuff” requirement, and then some. I have even been able to run commute to the mall, do some Christmas shopping and keep going home (with space to spare)! The shoulder straps are not heavily padded but with the waist strap adjusted I can easily find a good weight balance so neither my hips or my shoulders get tired. And that’s one of the best features of this backpack. It has a lot of straps so you can adjust it in almost any way you need to to get a good fit. It also has straps for trekking poles (which I have yet to use) but the absolute best strap is the chest strap-it has a clip! Yay! No more yoga posing as I try to get it on. One click and I’m out! The back portion of this backpack looks almost space-age, with its strategic padding, but it makes a huge difference over running with no back plate or padding of any kind. I hardly notice I have it on and my back is so much happier not having the odd work shoe digging into my back! The one feature this backpack boasts is its waterproofing. I’ve become accustomed to having to fit a bag (garbage bag or otherwise) over my backpacks for years living on the coast. Now I don’t have to. Ever. Again. I was out in a downpour and yes, the backpack got wet…but the inside didn’t! Not a single thing!! While the outside fabric feels like any other pack the inside has a plastic-like film that keeps everything dry and the pack itself dries out in seconds once it gets indoors. I was so impressed by this I posted it on Facebook. Lol. This backpack will be with me for a long, long time. I’m not sure about it going into a race with me (it’s a bit more pack than I would likely need), but for my daily run commutes and long runs on the weekend, this bag is a must-have.