Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack Review

Mountainsmith outdoor products are designed in Golden, Colorado which is only a couple of miles from where I grew up. I love that this review hits so close to home. For this product review, I tested the Tour lumbar pack.

What is a lumbar pack? It is Mountainsmith’s quintessential waist pack that pioneered this product category almost 35 years ago. Don’t call it a fanny pack or a bum bag. It is far from that. Instead, this pack has made me rethink what it means to travel light in the mountains. Read on to find out more about this great piece of gear that should be in every outdoor enthusiast’s gear quiver.


Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack

Price:

$79.95 MSRP
Colors: Heritage Black, Otter Brown, Deep Blue, Lichen, and Asphalt Grey

Ratings:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort & Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Versatility

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Value

Overall Rating: 5.0

Summary:

Overall, it was a great experience using the Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar pack for hiking. Keep reading to find out what I carried in it and how it performed in each of the rating categories.

MY REVIEW

First impressions out of the box were solid. What I mean is that the pack felt well designed and it wasn’t as heavy as it looked. Every inch of this pack was well thought through when it was built and the materials used were top-notch. I could tell right away that I was in for a treat.

As Mountainsmith would say, the Tour pack is “Forged For Life” meaning that it is built to last just like all of their other products. Their commitment to durability is impressive and it is visible in both the materials and craftsmanship used in this pack.

The fabric used in the production of this pack is Cordura® HP. When compared to other popular materials like nylon or poly, it excels in both abrasion resistance and anti-tear strength. It is also water resistant. The material is firm, yet very comfortable when the pack is worn.

The waist belt is well padded, soft, and flexible for a great fit. It has a high level of comfort and includes a small zipper pocket on the right side which is great for a compass, a mobile phone or a small satellite communicator.

Using the included shoulder belt, a consumer can add additional stability by throwing it over one shoulder and cinching it down. This belt also adds an additional level of comfort while on the trail. Throw it over one shoulder with the waist belt tucked in and it doubles as a carry bag for around town.

The Tour pack is extremely versatile. On one of my hikes, I was able to carry water, portable stove, fuel, base layer, fire starter, compass, mobile phone, and a puffy jacket. I had additional room for other small items in the main compartment, inner sanctum™, and in the front zipper pocket.

My favorite feature of this pack is the ability to shrink down and tighten up the load with the bottom panel compression straps. They can also double as a spot to carry an alpine bivy.

Mountainsmith left nothing out of this pack. It includes easy to use pull tabs on the zippers, an internal clip for keys, front panel bungee system, and two large handle straps on the top for easy hand carrying. They literally thought of everything with the features of this pack. Oh, and I almost forgot. The interior yellow fabric makes it easy to see things inside the pack, especially at dusk and dawn when the light is flat. This and the features listed below are a fantastic feature set for such a small pack!

The only feature that I felt was unnecessary was the pass through headphones port. With technology these days, it seems like the majority of people now have bluetooth headphones so this would not be needed in most cases.

An added bonus for this pack would be to include a small, packable rain cover. That would make me more comfortable tossing in my DSLR camera or an extra lens.

Pro Tip:

It’s not obvious at first, but the outer bungee cord is perfect for stuffing a jacket onto the outside of the pack so that it doesn’t take up precious internal pocket space. Simply scrunch up a jacket, place it under the bungee cord and cinch it down.

Here’s a quick list of features on the Tour lumbar pack direct from the Mountainsmith website:

FEATURES

  • Backpanel stash pocket ideal for securing passport, boarding pass, etc.
  • Patented Delta Compression System load adjustment
  • Side reinforcement bottle pockets (Fit up to 32oz)
  • Inner Sanctum™ interior zippered compartment for small valuables
  • Front panel bungee attachment system
  • Zippered front panel pocket with key clip
  • Bottom panel compression straps
  • Bright yellow lining promotes interior visibility
  • Strapette compatible (sold separately)
  • Headphone port
  • Bar tack reinforcements
  • YKK® Zippers
  • 3M™ Reflective Cord

MATERIALS

  • 610d Cordura® HP
  • 210d Nylon Embossed Liner

DIMENSIONS

  • 11.5″ x 10″ x 5″ / 29 x 25 x 13 (L x H x D)
  • Waistbelt Width: 1.5″
  • Waistbelt Circumference: 28″ – 48″

VOLUME

  • 550 cubic inches / 9 L

CAPACITY

  • Up to 12 lbs

WEIGHT

  • 1lb 9 oz / 0.73 kg

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Great design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Lots of functional features

👎 Cons

  • No rain cover included

Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack. A classic pack that can be taken on trail, travel, and everyday adventures. It is durable, reliable, comfortable, and carries the perfect amount of gear to support all of your favorite activities.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out this great lumbar pack.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography. That’s me!

SOLE Active Medium Footbed Review

SOLE is a Canadian company that was born in 2001 and is focused on making a positive impact on people’s lives. It is worth mentioning in this review that their products are obsessively designed to help athletes of all skill levels while also putting a strong emphasis on sustainability. Using recycled wine corks in their new products and planting cork oak trees are just two examples of how they are offsetting their company’s carbon footprint. They are growing their company in a responsible way while providing great products to the outdoor industry. These facts encouraged me to perform this testing.

For this product review, I tested the Active Medium footbeds which are a perfect fit with running shoes, every-day sneakers, and tennis shoes. I have to admit that I had never used custom footbeds prior to this review, but I was pleasantly surprised with their comfort, quality and performance when testing them in general running shoes and trail running shoes.


SOLE Active Medium Footbed

Price:

$49.00 MSRP
Colors: Black/Red

Ratings:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Performance

Overall Rating: 5.0

Summary:

Overall, it was a good experience using the SOLE Active Medium footbed for general running and trail running. Keep reading to find out how these footbeds can benefit you and how they performed in each of the rating categories.

MY REVIEW

Out of the box, my first impression was a good one. The first thing that I noticed was how lightweight the footbeds were. The packaging was simple, straightforward and recyclable.

At first, I was concerned about the fit inside of my running shoes because out of the package, the footbeds looked a bit too long. However, once I removed my old insole from the shoes and replaced them with the SOLE footbeds, they fit perfectly. No trimming was required during my initial testing in the running shoes, but I did end up trimming them slightly for a perfect fit in my trail running shoes.

When looking at the side profile of these footbeds, one can see that they have been constructed with an attention to detail and are of high quality. The 1.6mm open-cell foam (blue layer) provides excellent shock absorption and comfort. These footbeds are latex free and consist of three important layers – the moldable orthopedic base, softec cushioning layer, and a thin top sheet. The moldable orthopedic base offers personalized support to prevent the arch of the foot from collapsing and the deep heel cup provides cushioning and helps prevent lateral movement.

After inserting the footbeds and slipping my feet into my everyday running shoes, I instantly felt the cushioned support and I felt my weight distribute evenly over my feet. On my first run with these footbeds, I decided not to heat mold them and see how they performed. Then before subsequent trail runs, I followed the directions that were provided in the packaging and popped them in the oven for a custom fit.

Heat molding the footbeds was quick and easy with the following steps:

  1. Heated the oven to 175 degrees
  2. Removed the factory insoles from my trail running shoes
  3. Trimmed the top of the footbeds just slightly
  4. Placed the footbeds on a baking sheet for 5 minutes (3 min didn’t quite do the trick as described in the directions)
  5. Inserted the footbeds back into my trail runners
  6. Stood on them for 2 minutes

I found these footbeds to be super comfortable both before heat molding and after. However, heat molding them gave me an even more customized fit that left me wondering why I had not invested in custom footbeds prior to this testing.

During trail running, I typically have some heel pain and some mild soreness in my knees. However, I did not experience any pain while using this product during trail running sessions. I enjoyed feeling like I was floating on air as I took each step along the trail.

An added bonus to the consumer for these footbeds would be the ability to customize the graphics and colors online. It would be great to be able to match colors to running shoe colors as well as upload a custom image online that would be custom printed directly on the top of the footbeds.

Pro Tip:

Be sure to perform the heat mold method that is provided on the instruction card. It will give you a solid fit, faster than wear molding!

Here’s a quick list of features on the Active Medium footbed direct from the SOLE website:

FEATURES

  • Provides cushioned support
  • Reduces plantar fascia strain
  • Improves balance
  • Promotes natural foot alignment
  • Distributes weight and pressure equally
  • Heat and wear moldable for a customized fit
  • Polygiene odor control
  • Supportive arch and heel cup
  • 90-Day guarantee

DIMENSIONS

Width – Forefoot (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 98mm 
  • Women’s 7 – 87mm

Length – Heel to toe (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 290mm
  • Women’s 7 – 245mm

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Clinically proven to reduce plantar facia strain
  • Custom moldable
  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable fit
  • Earth-friendly packaging

👎 Cons

  • No image customization or custom color options available

SOLE Active Medium footbeds. Lightweight, durable inserts for your trail running or athletic shoes. These footbeds provide amazing cushioned support and promote healthy alignment for adventure-ready feet.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out these great footbeds.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.