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MontBell Versalite 20 Backpack SPOTLITE REVIEW

An 11.5 ounce lightweight toploading daypack with top pocket, side panel pockets, and hydration compatability.

Overall Rating: Above Average

MontBell's Versalite 20 is an excellent lightweight day pack. It has just enough features and durability to be functional without encumberment. It's too small for overnight backpacking, and on the heavy side for a take-along summit pack; however, its features might entice some to carry it on extended backpacking trips where frequent day hikes are expected.

I requested this pack to review as a kid's backpacking pack. For this use, the Versalite 20 would receive a "Recommended" rating, falling short of "Highly Recommended" only because it's slightly too long for most 7 to 12 year olds.

About This Rating

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by Jay Ham |

MontBell Versalite 20 Backpack SPOTLITE REVIEW

Overview

MontBell's 11.5 ounce Versalite 20 backpack was tested as a child's "full-sized" backpacking pack (article coming out spring 2007), for which it worked very well. I also reviewed it as an adult's lightweight daypack and present that review here. I used the Versalite 20 as a daypack from camp to collect water and carry day-tripping necessities (first aid kit, food, rainwear). For an adult traveling without kids, this pack could double as a sleeping bag stuff sack, though there are much lighter stuff sack packs available, this one being among the more durable. I also tested the Versalite 20 as a dedicated daypack. The durability and features were ideal for this use.

MontBell’s Versalite 20 is a simple pack. The harness is basic; lightly padded shoulder straps, 3/4-inch wide webbing waistbelt, and a sternum strap. Still, the fit is good and I found the pack comfortable loaded with 5-liters of water and essentials. Montbell added 3-D spacer mesh on the shoulder straps to disperse perspiration. No such luxury exists on the backpanel, which was 30-denier double ripstop nylon.

I feel the Versalite has just enough features, without overdoing it. There is a small top lid pocket, perfect for a windshirt and first aid kit. The mesh front panel pocket wraps around the front panel and lower side panels, and is accessible from either side while wearing the pack (like having two water bottle pockets). Inside, the Versalite has a hydration pocket with two exit ports on either side of the top pocket. A tool loop on the left side and a single side-release compression strap completes the package. Overall, the MontBell Versalite 20 is one of my favorite daypacks: simple, functional, lightweight, and reasonably durable.

Features and Specifications

  • Manufacturer: MontBell
  • Weight: 11.5 oz (326 g)
  • Volume: 1200 cubic inches (20 liters)
  • Materials: 30-denier double rip-stop sil-nylon and 210-denier nylon reinforcements
  • Features: top loading, top pocket, side/back panel pockets, hydration pocket, ice axe loop
  • Harness: padded shoulder straps, sternum strap, webbing hip belt
  • MSRP: $60.00

Citation

"MontBell Versalite 20 Backpack SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Jay Ham. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/montbell_versalite_20_backpack_spotlite_reveiw.html, 2007-02-25 03:00:00-07.

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