Mountainsmith Lumen Camera Pack - SNEWS

Mountainsmith Lumen Camera Pack


Mountainsmith has long been known for the quality of the company's fanny and internal frame packs. So it isn't surprising the company has decided to produce camera packs…after all, that's how LowePro got started. This summer, the Golden, Colo., company began shipping its new 19-piece line of cameras bags to retailers.

The largest in the series is the Lumen Camera Daypack, which retails for $100. In some respects, this is one of the best packs of its type on the market. However, it falls short in other areas.

The feature that makes the Lumen superior to all of the other major camera packs is the rear-entry zippered panel, which allows the pack to be laid on the ground for access without putting the suspension in the mud, snow or water. This is a huge benefit that is long overdue for outdoor photographers.

The rear panel and shoulder straps are nicely padded and ventilated, so the pack is very comfortable on long hikes. Unfortunately, the pack is too short for photographers with a longer torso so the removable waist belt is useless -- a common defect in all camera packs since sizing is based on volume not back length.

Inside the pack, the foam padded insert has sufficient room for one camera body with a lens attached, two or three extra lenses, and a flash. This holds and protects the gear well, but is a bit shallow for use with camera bodies that have a power grip. There are also two zippered pockets on the panel for all the accessories.

On the front of the Lumen is a relatively large (about 400 cubic inches) pocket for day hike essentials and two smaller pockets (about 150 cubic inches each) for other odds and ends. This is plenty of room for warm-weather trips, but insufficient for winter-time excursions. Mesh pockets on either side aren't quite big enough for using a Nalgene, but will work well with bike bottles.

In action, the Lumen carries well and is easy to work from in a hurry. Though getting to cameras requires removing the pack, it's a fast operation, and the zipper only needs one hand. When traveling, it doesn't look like a pack containing lots of expensive equipment, and that is a major plus.

The biggest downside of the Lumen is a lack of rain protection; after a three-hour hike, the internal padding was soaked. Considering that this pack will easily hold $5,000 of camera gear, an integral pack cover is sorely needed. Another weak point is a quick-release system for a tripod; you can use a mesh side pocket but it will get trashed and is less than ideal.

Overall, this is a really nice fair weather camera pack. Compared to the LowePro Mini Trekker Classic, which retails for the same price, it has more volume and features, and the rear-zip panel is a major improvement. The company is off to a good start, but if Mountainsmith intends to be a serious contender in this market, it will need to listen to the input of a lot more photographers.

SNEWS® Rating: 3 hands clapping. (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection).

Suggested retail: $100

For more or 800-551-5889



Mountainsmith Aurora II lumbar camera pack

There are still a few minimalist outdoor photographers out there who don't lug the kitchen sink (several camera bodies and lenses) into the backcountry. Minimalist means carrying one body and a couple of lenses, just enough to get the job done without weighing you down. more


Mountainsmith Lodo computer backpack

Daypack designs that have sufficient capacity and the features to handle not only laptop stowage, but also an assortment of files, notebooks, various other electronics, and a selection of personal items are numerous. Finding a really good one among the many, the SNEWS® team has more


JanSport Talus pack

JanSport, of late, has been trying to recapture some of its glory days when it was a pioneer in backpack design. Part of that initiative is the Cloud Ripper line of four daypacks for on-the-move pursuits, which includes the Talus pack. Looking like a mini-me version of a more


Pedco Wrap-Up camera wrap

When we first spied the Pedco Wrap-Up camera wrap during the summer trade show season, we at SNEWS® were intrigued and excited by this ingenious little accessory and couldn't wait to put it to the test. The small camera wrap is a stretchy neoprene piece about 8 inches long more


Ortlieb Velocity Pack

Ortlieb has a well-established reputation as one of the premier makers of waterproof bicycle touring gear. In recent years, the company has taken that expertise and put it into general use packs. The Velocity is a new waterproof messenger-style daypack with roll closure and more


Atlas Fast Pack

It's no surprise when snowshoe companies started making packs that their product would be ideally suited for avid snowshoe participants. The Atlas Fast Pack is all that and more. It's equally well suited for backcountry skiing and ski touring. The Fast Pack we tested is a more


Osprey Talon 33 Pack

Finding the perfect versatile pack is a dicey proposition. Even an ultra light, ultra minimal overnight bag is usually too big for much else. And versatile daypacks often lack the type of technical features that make the best light-and-fast overnight bags so successful. more


Epic Stealth Cam Digital Action Camera

Because you never know when adventure is going to happen, and because a video of that adventure is sometimes worth more than words, our team jumped at the chance to test what is billed at the “tiniest portable digital video device” for outdoor and action sports. Weighing only more