Perfect multi-use lumbar pack

Reviewed by HikeTheGizz from Breezy Knoll, TN on Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I originally bought this pack from Sierra back in 1994, and it may have been my first purchase there. It looked to me to be the ideal pack for shorter hikes but it turned out to be so much more. I have used it for everything from days at the race track--I do timing and scoring for auto races--to pretty rugged cave trips and pretty much everything in between, in addition to fairly long-range hiking trips up to ten miles. Eighteen years later it is still going strong! Oh, it's a little dirty from the cave mud (which only gives it character) but the pack fabric and seams are still as near-perfect as something this old and heavily used could be. One of the bungies on the water bottle holders broke but was easily fixed. And I've had to replace the water bottles a couple of times. It's still the most-used pack I own, it pretty much permanently resides in the trunk of my car for impromptu use, and the only reason I recently got myself a new pack was for more volume on longer trips. That's because I find that the older I get, the more I appreciate the creature comforts, and subsequently I carry more.

Kelty still makes lumbar packs (Cardinal, Oriole) and they're probably still fine bags, but they appear to lack the rigidity the Summit has. Between the plastic sheet and rod, even empty the Summit is strong enough to stand upright when empty. It's probably overkill, but it comes in handy sometimes. The newer packs also lack compression straps.

If it comes back into stock, I would highly recommend this model to anyone.