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Mountain Hardwear Scrambler RT 35 OutDry Pack | Review

MHW's OutDry waterproof technology works brilliantly with an added roll-top closure making this one of the few genuinely waterproof mountain daypacks out there.

‘The combination of MHW’s excellent waterproof technology and a roll-top closure makes this one of the few functionally waterproof mountain packs out there albeit with a few minor compromises. Go throw yourself in a river – your kit will still be dry even it you’re not.’

Outdoors Magic: Functionally waterproof thanks to OutDry,   light, multiple external stash pockets, basic but supportive back system, still takes a hydration system.

Outdoors Tragic: Slow access to main compartment, no secure zipped lid-type pocket, belt pockets very small, reservoir ca be tricky to insert if the pack is full.

Outdoors Grabbit? The Scrambler 35’s trump card is that it’s nigh on 100% waterproof with a dry-bag style closure and OutDry membrane. That does mean it’s more faff than usual to access the main compartment and means the hydration sleeve lives between the back sheet and the pack body where it can cause barrelling. There’s no lid, so no lid pocket either, so your only zipped secure pockets are the small belt ones. There are three handy mesh stash-pockets though. And despite the basic shape and back system, the pack’s reasonably comfortable with light to medium loads and carries fine. Asks the question: how much do you need your pack to be waterproof? MHW has other OutDry options too if you want something different.

Full Specification

Functionally waterproof, lightweight,  all-round mountain pack / 400D HD Nylon with OutDry membrane / Hardwave suspension back panel / front and side stash pockets / zippered waist belt pockets / sternum strap with whistle / dry-bag type roll-top closure / hydration sleeve

Full Review Below

Roll-top, drybag-type closure is slightly more faff to use, but means the pack has serious water resistance - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
OutDry label denotes membrane applied to the inside of the pack body covering seams and making the pack effectively waterproof - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
Hydration system slips into an external sleeve between pack body and back plate.Can be hard to insert if the pack is loaded up - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

MHW Scrambler RT 35 OutDry Pack | Performance

We’ve used smaller versions of the MHW Scrambler in the past, but what makes the 35-litre version here different is that not only does it have the excellent OutDry membrane applied to the inside of the main pack body, it also uses a dry-bag style, roll-top closure to up the waterproofing ante.

You can pretty much submerge it without the contents getting wet and normal rain really isn’t really an issue. Big deal, you might be thinking, there are other ‘dry bags with straps’ out there. But where the Scrambler 35 differs is that it’s made from normal pack fabric and MHW has gone out of its way to keep the pack as functional as possible.

That means you get three handy mesh stash pockets, a basic compression system and hydration reservoir compatibility with an external sleeve behind the wavy, bendable, plastic Hardwave frame sheet.

Stealth daisy chain gives scope for added shock cord stowage or just hang an old tin-mug from it… – Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

There are axe/pole loops too and a pair of zippered pockets on the minimal waist belt. The whole thing is commendably light and, unless you properly overload it, reasonably comfortable too. Not luxurious exactly, but supportive and not actively unpleasant for a minimal back. The Hardwave back plate flexes neatly to conform to your back and nestles nicely.

There is a small price to be paid for all this. The roll-top closure is a little slower than conventional pack access and a tad fiddly. It also means there’s no lid and no lid-pocket. Which in turn leaves just the small belt pocket for secure stowage of precious items like rings to rule them all, keys and so on.

Next, it can be hard to insert a hydration reservoir once the pack is loaded up, best to do it first, though that’s hardly unique to the Scrambler. Finally, if aesthetics are a thing for you, the pack does have a slightly rectangular, squared-off look to it, which doesn’t really impaction on function, but may detract from your carefully cultivated pro alpinist image… Or maybe not.

The Scrambler carries well given its stripped-down back system, but those belt pockets could do with being larger we think - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

MHW Scrambler RT 35 OutDry Pack | Verdict

In a nutshell, it’s all about the waterproofing. If you’re someone who’s always wanted a light, decent capacity, mountain daypack that’s also going to keep the contents reliably dry without resorting to liners or rain-covers, this is the puppy.

There are a few inconveniences as a result, notably the roll-top closure and resulting slow access to the main compartment, but having those stash pockets makes things bearable – note: it’s not a good idea to stick a wet shell jacket in the main pack, use the front stash pocket for that and keep everything else dry…

Overall, it carries nicely for a light, basic back system unless you overdo the loading and makes a decent all-round mountain pack. If you don’t love the squared-off aesthetics, MHW has other OutDry options, though only the Scrambler RT 40 seems to share the roll-top closure and looks like the best call if you want a pack like this plus a more conventional lid with pockets.

More Information

See mountainhardwear.eu

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