Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack Camera Pack Review

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A Unique Camera Pack For Hikers

 
Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack Camera Pack ReviewMountainsmith makes all kinds of outdoor gear including backpacks, luggage, trekking poles and they recently started making tents and sleeping bags. Mountainsmith has applied their design and manufacturing expertise to camera bags and camera backpacks as well as other outdoor equipment. I visited their booth at the 2010 Winter Outdoor Retailer tradeshow and had them ship me their Quantum Daypack camera pack for testing. As the name suggests, the Quantum Daypack is designed for day hikers and I put it to good use in the mountains near where I live in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack camera pack - front and back

The Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack is a unique camera pack concept and a great option for serious day hikers who want to take a real camera out on the trail. It’s a daypack with a padded “DSLR holster” camera compartment at the top that holds a digital SLR and zoom lens. The rest of the pack holds whatever gear you’d take on a standard day hike – extra clothes, food, rain gear, etc. It’s got straps on the side to hold a tripod, a built-in rain cover and mesh pouches on the side for water bottles. Like most camera packs designed for real outdoor use, it opens back, under the shoulder harness. This protects the part of the pack that touches your body from mud, snow, etc. The Quantum Daypack is also made from recycled plastic bottles – a very respectable feature in a time when “Green” is often little more than a marketing position.

Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack camera pack on the trail
The Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack on the trail
 
Accessing the "Camera Holster" from the top zipper of the Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack
Accessing the Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack’s DSLR Holster from the top

 
I used the Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack for hiking in the Wasatch Mountains above Salt Lake City in all weather conditions – rain, sun and snow. I carried two different camera setups in it – the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 digital SLR with 18-55mm kit lens and pro 70-200mm f/2.8; and a Canon EOS 7D DSLR with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS zoom lens. Since the pack only has one padded camera compartment, I carried the Sony 70-200mm zoom in a separate pouch in the main compartment of the pack along with a light down jacket and rain gear. Everything fit with no problem and the harness was very comfortable. The Canon EOS 7D body is bigger than the Sony but it fit the DSLR Holster compartment just fine with the 18-200mm lens mounted. The DSLR Holster has a zipper that can be opened to lengthen the compartment for longer lenses. It can also be removed and carried alone with the supplied shoulder strap. If you want to carry more camera gear the Quantum is also equipped with the Hypalon lens case attachment system. Camera access is either through the main compartment behind the pack harness or a top opening that offers access to the camera compartment. There are clear zipper pockets for accessories like memory cards, filters, etc on the inside of the pack’s main door as well as in a smaller compartment on the outside of the pack (see photos, below). There are straps on the side for a tripod, mesh pouches for water bottles and even a built-in rain cover with its own stash pocket.

Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack - front compartment
Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack – front compartment
 
Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack - main compartment and "DSLR Holster"
Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack – main compartment with removable DSLR Holster

 
My first impression of the pack was a little mixed – mostly because I’m used to bigger, burlier, more expensive camera packs. But once I accepted it for what it is – a casual daypack and not a professional backcountry photographer’s backpack – I quite enjoyed using it. It’s noticeably lighter than a full-sized dedicated camera pack, it carries everything I need for a big day hike and the harness feels great on my medium-sized torso – even on long, steep, rocky hikes. It’s a very comfortable pack – a lot more comfortable than the bigger camera packs I usually use. My only real complaint is that interior access is a little awkward. The bottom of the shoulder harness blocks the main compartment zippers making it difficult to open and close completely. That’s really a small quibble, though. Especially when you consider the pack sells for about $100, considerably less than most of the dedicated camera packs I use.

The Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack in the rain

Photographers and backpackers looking for a pack that can carry lunch, raingear, hat, mittens, and a DSLR – would do well to check out the Mountainsmith Quantum Daypack. If you don’t need to carry a camera and 15 lenses, why use a pack designed to carry that kind of gear? The Quantum Daypack is perfect for day hikes with a digital SLR and tripod. It’s a lot more comfortable than most camera packs, too.

 


Related Content:
All Mountainsmith Camera Case Reviews
Camera Bag User Reviews
All Camera Bag News & Articles
Mountainsmith Web Site


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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.


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