Montane Featherlite 30 Pack | Review
Montane's new lightweight hill and mountain pack treads the thin line between weight saving and usability with assured flair.
'A basic, lightweight but effective mountain pack with some super neat features that'll strip down to 640g and pack away into its own lid-pocket'
Outdoors Magic: Balance of light and tough, Buddy pocket, main opening and sternum strap fasteners neat, hip and side pockets, basic but effective back system, narrow profile, minimal seam design.
Outdoors Tragic: Basic back system needs careful packing and struggles with heavier hardware loads, pockets could snag on rock.
Outdoors Grabbit? A logical extension to Montane's streamlined pack range, the Featherlite 30 has a simple back system with removable foam pad that sits close and stable, but requires thoughtful packing and can be overwhelmed with heavier loads. Stay light though and you'll appreciate the light but tough fabric, minimal design and some cunning, well thought-through features and fasteners. Strip out the back pad and it'll pack into its own lids and become a handy, lightweight summit pack for big mountain use. We're a little wary of the side and belt pockets snagging on rock, but they're ace for general mountain use and purists could always cut them off...
Lightweight mountain day and summit pack / 100 Denier triple rip-stop RAPTOR Featherlite™ fabric with Robic filaments / Montane ‘Comfort Air Back System’, / removable foam pad / hydration compatible / side stretch mesh stash pockets / twi belt pockets / lid Buddy and security pockets / quick release, single-handed sternum strap fastening / top single compression straps /s towable dual walking pole attachment point at base of pack / integrated top pole attachment on compression strap / perforated foam shoulder straps.
Full Review Below
Montane Featherlite 30 Pack | Performance
We've always had a soft sport for Montane's minimal but cunningly detailed lightweight packs and the new Featherlite 30 is something of a chip off the old block. Let's be honest, the original - and rather good - Medusa 32 isn't exactly a heavyweight at 970g odd, but the Featherlite slashes an additional 240g from that and another 90g if you strip out the back system.
That makes it 730g / 640g with or without the back system pad. What's nice is that even at those respectable weights, you still get functional, thoughtful features, so things don't feel overly Spartan in use.
And Montane has specced tough 100 Denier triple rip-stop RAPTOR Featherlite™ Nylon fabric with a PU coating which adds strength and reinforcing Robic filaments, whatever that are. They've also minimised weak point seams.
The main pack's a simple, sleek affair with narrow, mountain-friendly contours including a slanted base, that works well on facing-out descents to avoid snagging. The back system really is simple. Where other Montane packs have used moulded foam integrated panels, this has a removable foam pad and a mesh and fabric outer panel.
Its not sophisticated, but it all snugs up neatly enough and if you pack carefully and keep loads down, it's all fine, comfortable and stable. You can also rip out that pad, slash 90 grammes of mass and fold the pack into its lid pocket for easy stowage and summit pack functionality. Neat.
Where the Featherlite really scores bonus points is in carefully thought-out features. The main compartment opens with a super simple, glove-friendly cord system and closes one handed. The lid pocket is Montane's 'Buddy' design, which means the opening faces backwards, so your mate can extract stuff while you're wearing the pack without poking you in the eye. And the sternum strap clops on and off a plastic rail with one hand and saves bulk over the chest. Neat.
You also get tough-feeling side mesh stash pockets and pockets on the hip-belt too. For general use those are great, for technical climbing you might want to get rid. Then again, if that's your bag, you should maybe be looking at the more technical Featherlite Alpine instead.
Montane Featherlite 30 Pack | Verdict
Light stuff is always a balance of weight saving, toughness and functionality and we reckon Montane has got it about right for a general mountain daypack with the Featherlite 30. Keep your load reasonable and it carries nicely enough and there are enough features that you don't feel like you're suffering for your weight saving.
Its bonus card is the additional summit pack functionality, which will appeal to a small minority of users, though it would also work as a travelling day pack for shorter outings away from your main rucksack.
For more general use though, we'd also be having a look at the Medusa 32 which has the bonus of double axe-loops. There's not much in it though and if you like your packs light, but still capable, the Featherlite's a good call.