Tested: Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 Outdry
The Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 Outdry is a versatile daysack aimed at hikers, rock climbers, alpinists and skiers. The model is a development of the popular Scrambler 30, and the most obvious upgrade from its previous incarnation is the addition of Outdry waterproofing. This feature alone makes the pack stand out in a crowded market, but before we look at this aspect of the pack let’s take a tour around the pack’s basic features.
At first glance, the pack displays clean lines and unfussy design, but look closer and you also find plenty of functionality. The pack is equipped to carry skis in an A-frame, two ice axes, and there’s also a strap in the lid for holding a rope. Unlike many packs designed for technical terrain, the Scrambler 30 manages to remain perfectly streamlined for shedding snow, and it lacks the mess of webbing often seen on this type of pack. The compression straps are minimalistic, but effective. A single metal buckle is used to hold the lid shut, and allows a fair amount of compression. The buckle is bombproof – particularly welcome if you’re nervous about plastic parts breaking – however, the downside is the fabric strap can sometimes snag on the buckle, which can be quite frustrating.
Possibly the biggest selling point of this pack though is its ability to survive a torrential downpour, and leave everything in the main compartment perfectly dry. At first, we found it hard to believe the pack could be completely waterproof, however after various drenchings we had to concur that the Scrambler 30 does indeed keep its contents bone dry. The OutDry fabric seems to be fairly hardwearing too, so rubbing up against granite chimneys or spikey sea cliffs should be no problem.
One thing everyone likes to see in a pack is enough pockets to store the smallest items, and anything that needs to be easily accessible at any time. The Scrambler 30 has one zipped compartment in the lid, although it’s worth noting that the zipper is not sealed; personally, I would also have liked another zipped area for first aid items and insurance cards etc. For those that like to carry a hydration bladder, Mountain Hardwear have catered for this well. The days of a leaking bladder drenching everything in your bag are over, with the Scrambler 30’s bladder compartment cleverly-positioned between the back panel and main waterproof area.
With regards to comfort, the straps on this pack don’t have much padding, and the waist belt is only a strip of nylon; however, considering the relatively small capacity of the pack, and the intended use, I felt that the minimal padding was perfectly fine. When wearing a climbing harness, the most frustrating thing is a padded waist belt blocking access to gear loops, after all. So to the bottom line: does the Scrambler 30 do what it is meant to? Our answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’. For challenging day trips with anything from ice axes, skis, ropes, or even just a packed lunch, this pack will perform. It has clearly been designed with versatility in mind, yet still qualifies as a minimalistic pack with no gimmicks.
Verdict: A tough, technical daysack for general use, with its trump card being its waterproofness.
Material: 400D HD nylon
Capacity: 30 litres
Features: Hydration sleeve, two
sidepockets, side compression straps
More info: www.mountainhardwear.eu