Top positive review
35 of 35 people found this helpful
Mountainsmith Youth Scout External Frame Pack
on June 19, 2009
I ordered two of these packs for our sons (ages 8 and 11), for use on weekend to week-long backpacking trips.
SETUP: These are highly adjustable packs, which should allow for many years of use. The shoulder straps can be moved in and out in roughly 1" wide increments (each side -- so moving them inward one notch would move them 2" closer together overall). Similar adjustments move the hip belt up and down. It took me about 10 minutes per pack to get them set up. Despite significant differences in how each boy is built, I was able to dial in the fit almost perfectly.
FEATURES: The main compartment is roomy enough for lots of gear. There are two smaller pockets on the left side and one long one on the right side. The pack hood contains a zippered compartment and there is another large pocket on the back. This provides lots of options for separating your gear. There is also a bungie arrangement for things like rain jackets. The sleeping-bag sling underneath is a cool feature, and removable if needed. While we keep their packs light, an older child or teenager could easily carry as much equipment as they need.
IN USE: Our boys enjoy carrying them and haven't complained about any problems with fit or function. I can say that this pack is significantly better than the one I used 30 years ago.
COMPLAINTS: The only downside (and it's very minor) is that I found the adjustments a little finicky. To make a major adjustment, you remove a split-ring at the end of a rod, move the rod to another hole and then install the split ring. It's not bad, but it's not the most enjoyable thing in the world.
OVERALL: I think this is a well-made product that not only has enough adjustments to grow with the kids, but the construction quality to last as well.