Owner Review Auspex pack - Ray Estrella
- Hello to all,
HTML is here; http://tinyurl.com/mjucy
Mountainsmith Auspex Pack
April 2, 2006
Name: Raymond Estrella
Height: 6' 3" (193cm)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email address: rayestrella@...
City: Huntington Beach
Backpacking Background: I have been hiking for over 30 years, all
over the state of California. I have also hiked in Washington,
Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. I hike year-round, mostly in
the Sierra Nevada, and put 555 miles (896 km) on my boots last
year. As I start my 4th decade of backpacking I am making the move
to lightweight gear, and smaller packs.
Web site: www.mountainsmith.com
Product: Auspex Pack
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 199.00 (US)
Weight listed: 4 lb (1.81 kg) Actual weight 4lb 2.4 oz (1.88 kg)
Volume: 4,000 cu in (660L)
Torso length: 19-22 in (48-56 cm)
Warranty: (from company web site), "Most Mountainsmith products are
covered by a Lifetime Warranty against materials and workmanship
The Auspex is a brown and gold internal frame pack. The body of the
pack is made of Dimension Polyant VX-21 and VX-42 nylon. The VX-42
has a large diamond grid pattern in it. At the top of the pack body
is a 7 in (18 cm) extension sleeve. A cord runs around the top of
the sleeve and through a cord lock, allowing the top to be drawn
Running down one side of the pack on the face is a water-proof
zipper that allows access to the pack without having to open the
top. I rarely make use of this zipper. On either side of the pack at
the bottom is a large pocket made of mesh and nylon. They are large
enough to hold an insulated Nalgene bottle, or a regular bottle plus
additional items. I like the size of these pockets.
Zigzagging across the face of the pack is an elastic cord that goes
through a cord-lock, and five clips. Below this are two ice ax
loops. There are two compression straps on each side of the pack
body. Two ports at the top of the pack near the straps allow the use
of a hydration bladder.
A removable top lid sits on top. It is accessed by a long water-
proof zipper. I love this zipper. All of my other packs that have a
regular zipper on the lid snag constantly. This zipper never does as
there is no zipper-shield to get caught. The lid closes the body of
the pack by the use of two long compression straps that run from the
pockets up to connectors on the lid.
The contoured shoulder straps are made of "breathable Brock foam".
They are attached to the aluminum stays and slide up and down on
them. An adjustment strap behind the shoulder strap determines how
far up the stay they will slide. I am tall enough to just let them
got to the fullest position. But it is easy to adjust it if I let
someone shorter borrow it. The shoulder straps have two adjustment
straps on them. The ones at the top of the shoulder adjust the
distance the pack body rides away from my body. The one at the lower
end of the shoulder strap pulls the pack down onto my shoulders
changing the balance of weight between hip and shoulders. A sternum
strap crosses the between the shoulder straps. It is mounted on a
sliding connection. Each shoulder strap has an elastic nylon loop on
them also. I keep my knife clipped to one of them.
The stays of this "internal" frame pack, are actually on the outside
of the pack. They slide into a reinforced pocket at top of the pack
body, and into pockets on the hip-belt. While I was skeptical of it
at first, I am a believer now.
The hip belt, also made of Brock foam filled nylon is very wide,
although not that thick. It has a large quick-release buckle that is
adjusted with straps that form a sideways V along the padding. By
pulling the strap it tightens both sides of the V, making for even
pressure on my hip. It works wonderfully.
This pack has been used in Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia
National forest, Jennie Lakes and Monarch Wilderness areas. It also
was used on the north half of the John Muir Trail in October 2005. I
used it to carry mountaineering gear up Mt Morrison, in the John
Muir Wilderness. It has been to San Jacinto a few times in winter.
Conditions have ranged from temperatures in the 80's F 9 (C), down
to 15 F (C). Elevations have ranged from 5,000' to 12,000' (1,500 to
3,700 m). It has seen beautiful sunny days, along with snow, rain
and high winds.
In 2005 I put 178 miles (287 k) of hiking in with the Auspex. I lost
my log for 2004, so can not be sure about the mileage that year.
I used to carry a 6000 cu in (98 L) pack, and filled it up for a
five day hike. In 2003 I decided to completely change my style of
hiking, aiming at reducing weight and volume. The Auspex was
purchased to be my long mileage pack. I use it on hikes over four
day's duration for regular three-season hiking. And as my over-
nighter pack during the winter, when I need more space for bigger
bags and tents
This is may be the most comfortable pack I have ever owned. And I
have owned, or do own, eleven of them. If I had to get rid of all of
my current packs but one, this is the one I would keep. To the right
is a picture of the Auspex loaded for 8 days in the fall.
The hip belt is very comfortable. I had to go back and order a
medium size as the large that comes with it had to be tightened the
end of its adjustment range to work for me. That is a common problem
for me though as I have a long torso. If I could I would put this
belt on all off my packs.
The shoulder straps are deceiving. They are more comfortable than I
would have expected based on the thickness of the padding. The only
pack I have used with more comfortable suspension are packs made to
carry much more volume and weight than the Auspex.
I carry a BV 300 bear canister where necessary. The canister will
fit in the Auspex sideways at the bottom of the sack. I put my
sleeping bag in the canister to keep the weight placement right. I
keep my food in a sack near the top of the pack, putting it in the
canister after I get to camp in the afternoon. Even with the
canister inside I have plenty of room for all of my other gear.
The laced elastic cording on the back of the pack is very handy.
Sometimes I will strap the body of my tent under it, with the poles
inside the pack. Or in inclement weather I will keep my rain gear
under it ready for a quick apparel addition. After the rain passes
it goes back to let it drip, keeping the contents inside of the pack
dry. I also keep my river and stream crossing amphibious shoes under
the laces. For winter trips I keep my shovel blade secured by the
In the winter I keep my ice ax and shovel handle in the loops on the
back. I like the hook and loop keepers on the top. They are easy to
The narrow aspect of the Auspex also makes it a nice pack for
mountaineering and winter travel. It allows me to ski and snow shoe
without the pack getting in the way of my arms. It balances well
when adjusted tight against my body. The same is true for tricky
areas in summer, as the following picture in Kings Canyon attests to.
The size and placement of the exterior side pockets is perfect for
me. Half the time I still use Nalgene bottles, and they fit great in
them. I can get them out, and replace the bottles with no
difficulty, something I can not say about most of my packs. But they
are not very durable. Both sides have developed tears in the netting
fabric. I hope that future designs use a more durable material.
The top lid is a good size. I keep my water filter, TP, first aid
kit, sil-nylon pack cover and a couple of food bars in it. I do wish
that the zipper was placed a little higher on the lid, as small
items sometimes fall out upon opening it. I really like the welded
water-proof zipper. It snags much less that the sewn in regular type
zippers. I would like to see all zippers go to this style.
When I called Mountainsmith to order the replacement hip belt, they
told me that the Aupsex was being discontinued. They said it was
being updated, but would have a new name. I look forward to what
they come up with, as I like this pack so much. If some of my
concerns have been addressed I will probably try it out, but until
then I plan on putting many more miles on the Auspex.
Truckin' along the John Muir Trail.
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- Hello Ray,
Here ya go!
> The hip belt, also made of Brock foam filled###EDIT: foam-filled
nylon is very wide,
> although not that thick. It has a large quick-release buckle that is### EDIT: Don't forget the conversions!
> adjusted with straps that form a sideways V along the padding. By
> pulling the strap it tightens both sides of the V, making for even
> pressure on my hip. It works wonderfully.
> Field Conditions
> This pack has been used in Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia
> National forest, Jennie Lakes and Monarch Wilderness areas. It also
> was used on the north half of the John Muir Trail in October 2005. I
> used it to carry mountaineering gear up Mt Morrison, in the John
> Muir Wilderness. It has been to San Jacinto a few times in winter.
> Conditions have ranged from temperatures in the 80's F 9 (C), down
> to 15 F (C).
Elevations have ranged from 5,000' to 12,000' (1,500 to
> 3,700 m). It has seen beautiful sunny days, along with snow, rain### EDIT: , and
> and high winds.
> In 2005 I put 178 miles (287 k) of hiking in with the Auspex. I lost
> my log for 2004, so can not be sure about the mileage that year.
> Field Use
> I used to carry a 6000 cu in (98 L) pack, and filled it up for a
> five day hike. In 2003 I decided to completely change my style of
> hiking, aiming at reducing weight and volume. The Auspex was
> purchased to be my long mileage pack. I use it on hikes over four
> day's duration for regular three-season hiking. And
as my over-
> nighter pack during the winter, when I need more space for bigger### EDIT: "to the end"
> bags and tents
> This is may be the most comfortable pack I have ever owned. And I
> have owned, or do own, eleven of them. If I had to get rid of all of
> my current packs but one, this is the one I would keep. To the right
> is a picture of the Auspex loaded for 8 days in the fall.
> The hip belt is very comfortable. I had to go back and order a
> medium size as the large that comes with it had to be tightened the end
of its adjustment range to work for me. That is a common problem
> for me though as I have a long torso. If I could I would put this### EDIT: of
> belt on all off
- In case you hadn't caught it, the folder is
for the Auspex.