Mountain Hardwear Scrambler Daypack

Review: Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry Daypack

A mega robust, waterproof daypack for winter hiking, scrambling or rock climbing

The ideal daypack for adventure climbers, scramblers and winter hikers. The Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry boasts exceptional druability, a watertight construction and a number of excellent rock climbing specific features.

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry: The stats

Capacity:30 litres
Weight:1lb 11oz / 770g
Waterproof:Watertight OutDry construction
Number of pockets:5
Material:400D HD Nylon Plain Weave

Features of the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry

Fabric

Backpack buckleThe 400D nylon is super strong and highly durable. To further protect your gear from the elements, the inner surface of the bag has a waterproof membrane that is bonded directly to the fabric. This OutDry technology makes it fully watertight, and it also stays nice and lightweight when wet by not holding onto water.

Hydration sleeve

Hydration sleeveThis is a separate pocket that sits between the main compartment and the back panel. It has an open top with a simple velcro tab that keeps a hydration reservoir in place. There is one loop on each shoulder strap to secure a hydration tube in place.

Side pockets

Side pocket of packThere are two large and very deep side pockets on each side of the pack. They are made with the same fabric as the rest of the bag, which certainly makes then durable. However, the lack of elastic makes them a little tricky to use. There are also compression straps that run over the top of the pockets and are secured with a buckle.

Top lid

Top lid of packThe top lid features a large zippered pocket for storing frequently used items and valuables. It is the only zippered pocket on the bag. So the 600D HardWear Tarp 18 TPU Poly Composite fabric (try saying the quickly!) is an essential feature. It adds an extra layer of protection to whatever is stored in that top pocket, which is usually valuables.

Main compartment

Rope strapThe main body of the bag is accessed through an easy pull-cord. On top of this, but underneath the lid, is a rope attachment strap that enables a rope to be carried on top of all the rest of your gear. This is secured with a simple buckle and can be tightened around your rope.

Trekking pole holders

Pole carrierOn both sides of the pack there are adjustable toggles that are designed to attach trekking poles or an ice axe. They also hold a climbing helmet securely on the pack without it flopping around. The bottom of poles or axe are then attached to the two webbed loops at the bottom of the pack.

Waist belt

Wasit beltThere is no padding on the basic webbing of the waist belt. But when cinched in tightly it does offer a decent amount of extra support if you need it, just not much in the way of comfort. If you don’t want to use it at all both ends of the belt can be stowed away through a small opening and into the bottom of the side pockets.

Sternum strap

Sternum strapThe sternum strap is fully adjustable both across the chest, and up and down on the chest. At its highest point it sits really nice and high up which is great from a comfort point of view for us lady wearers! There is also an integrated whistle on the buckle.

Gear loops

Gear loopJust below the side pockets are two large reinforced gear loops designed for carrying climbing gear or parts of a rack externally on the pack. The loops are positioned well to access the gear without taking the bag off, as you would from a climbing harness.


Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry review

The first couple of outings with the Scrambler included a 30 minute coastal hike (and back) to an exposed sea cliff for some evening top-roping. I carried personal climbing gear, a rope, snacks, a bottle of water and my helmet. My first impressions of the bag weren’t especially overwhelming. It did what it needed to do in a way that most other bags can. Other than the handy rope strap on the top of the pack, nothing stood out. In fact, the water bottle was hard to access when the pack was full, and it also became a little uncomfortable after carrying lots of weight in it for over an hour.

Backpack and rope on sea cliffs

However, a full day of low grade trad climbing and scrambling on the rugged coast of West Cornwall soon changed my opinion. This time I didn’t bother carrying water in bottles but used a water bladder stored in its designated pocket. Instead, I stored a first aid kit in one side pocket and stuffed an extra layer in the other. Much easier than trying to squeeze in water bottles. And more convenient to rehydrate regularly.

The top pocket held my camera, phone, sunnies, sun cream and snacks. They were easy to access halfway up the route and it was never a pain to get into the pocket.

And finally, the main compartment of the bag was used to carry the rope and extra gear. I carried the bag on my back for the duration of the climb. Some pitches were roped. Some were not. And I loved not worrying about battering the bag and its contents when pinned against rocks in uncompromising positions! It was also very stable on my back during the scrambles. This was down to the low profile waist and sternum strap being securely fastened.

I wore a climbing harness for the whole climb which meant that I didn’t need to use the gear loops on the sides of the bag. If I were carrying all the gear on my own when hiking to a climbing route then this feature would be invaluable. But in most scenarios the gear is shared between two people with precious cams and nuts often stowed safely away inside a backpack!

I’ve only used this pack during the summer but hope to use it for winter hikes and scrambling adventures. The more I’ve used the bag the more comfortable it has become. And I hope that the initial discomfort I felt was down to stiffness in the pack that needed wearing in. If so, then this pack will be an absolute winner for long winter hikes as it has such a generous capacity to carry extra layers, fuel and gear for cold weather missions.

Climbing with backpack

What I love the most

This pack is super durable and robust. You can sling it around and not worry if it gets battered or scraped on the rock. And I really love that it’s waterproof. I don’t have to worry about layers getting damp or guide books getting soggy.

What I’m not so keen on

The lack of stretch in the side pockets mean that it can be pretty tricky to fit in a water bottle once the rest of the pack is fully loaded — there’s just no space! Pack your bottles before you fill the main compartment and you’ll be just fine. And the bottles will stay in place really securely. Elasticated fabric would make these pockets much more user friendly.

I also find the bag lacks comfort, especially when fully loaded with climbing gear. This is fine if you don’t have to hike into the crag. And it’s no problem when hiking long distances with very little weight in the pack. But I have found that the bottom edges of the pack rub on my lower back/hips when carrying weight for anything more than an hour.


Woman wearing backpack

Verdict

For winter hikes, scrambling missions and climbing adventures, the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry has some superbly practical and rock climbing specific features that you won’t you find on your average daypack. There are more comfortable packs out there, but its large capacity, exceptional durability and robustness against the elements make up for what it lacks in the comfort department.

Find the latest price at:
Mountain Hardwear | Amazon | Backcountry

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

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