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Mountain Laurel Designs Burn (2010)

in Backpacks - Frameless

Average Rating
5.00 / 5 (3 reviews)

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Mike W
( skopeo )

British Columbia
Mountain Laurel Designs Burn (2010) on 06/19/2010 18:04:58 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've had my MLD Burn for a while now and find it very easy to give this pack top marks in all categories. I was looking for a good weekend pack (2-3 day duration) and was having a tough time finding a small volume, frameless pack that had all of the features I was looking for.

Must haves for me were a good waist belt, big pouch pocket on the front, water bottle pockets and had to be tough (not made of sil nylon). Side compression straps for carrying a fishing rod, trekking poles or tent would be a bonus. All this in a pack that was under 2000 ci (main bag) was tough to find... until the Burn came along. Thanks to Ron's willingness to customize I was able to get a pack that met all of my needs (compression straps and upgraded waist belt were added).

Ron has designed the Burn with a very slim profile that sits close to my back and balances the load perfectly along my spine. This is where the Burn really shines in my opinion, as I can hardly feel this pack on my back when I'm negotiating some of the tough trails and brush covered streams here on Vancouver Island.

I've recently pushed the limits of the Burn on a 7 day trip that had me carrying a load that was well above the recommended load for any frameless pack (14 lb base + 14 pounds of food and water). The Burn held up to the challenge amazingly well and although I did have to shoulder a bit of the load for the first two days, the pack became a dream to carry on the third day out when my pack weight hit around 25 pounds (no looking back after that!). I think the expanded waist belt really helped the pack transfer the extra weight.

The photo below shows my Burn at the beginning of my trip loaded down with 7 days of food and tent on the outside of the pack.

7 Day Load

While I wouldn't recommend routinely carrying over 25 lbs in any frameless pack, I do like to test my gear to the limits and the Burn didn't disappoint. In fact, I'll have a tough decision to make on my next week long trip... do I take the Burn or one of my larger packs... that will be a tough one as the Burn performed better than expected with my less than light weight load.

The photo below shows my Burn later in the week with my food load reduced and my shelter back in the pack.

Reduced load later in the week

As expected, MLD's workmanship is top notch and even though I have over stuffed my Burn and exposed it to numerous rock surfaces and protruding tree branches, it hasn't shown the slightest sign of damage (sil nylon would make me nervous if subjected to similar use).

My 5/5 rating on the Burn was easy and it's hard to imagine that I'll be purchasing another pack very soon...unless Ron has another pack in the works that I haven't heard about yet.

Edited by skopeo on 06/26/2010 01:01:38 MDT.

Brad Fisher
( wufpackfn )

NC/TN/VA Mountains
Great pack on 01/01/2011 19:32:20 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I bought the MLD Burn back in November to become my primary 3 season pack when a bear canister is not necessary. If I need to carry a bear canister I will continue to use my GG Gorilla.

I was a little concerned about how well a super light pack would carry, but I figured worst case I could sale if I didn't like it. I had carried the ULA Conduit in the past and didn't have any trouble with the frameless aspect.

I planned a 3 day/2 night trip to Arkansas as the initial trip for the Burn. I will post my gear list below so you can get an idea of how I packed the Burn. I was surprised how much gear would fit in the pack and I thought I carried very well the whole trip. A couple occasions I had minor shoulder soreness, but nothing that I wouldn't have experienced with other packs.

Ark Gear List for MLD Burn

MLD Burn

I think the quality is top notch and the only improvement I would make is change the way the hip pockets attach. The provided hooks were pretty worthless, but that was easily fixed with just using a small length of cord to tie the hip pockets to the pack. Very minor issue.

I'm planning a winter trip in a couple weeks and my plan was to carry the GG Gorilla because I didn't plan on the Burn having the capacity. Today I decided to see if the Burn would hold my winter gear and to my surprise I think it is going to work. Now let me clarify that I will be in the NC/TN/VA mountains and the conditions will not be extreme. The temps could drop to 10 degrees and snow will be less than 12 inches. Could be windy, but nothing like out west at high elevations. I made the following gear list changes for winter:

Exped Downmat 7 = Neoair
WM Versalite = Marmot Hydrogen
Montbell Alpine parka = Montbell Ex light
Montbell down inner pants
Pair of heavy gloves
Mid weight wool long sleeve shirt
Aqua mira = cleanstream (better water quality this trip)
No GPS this trip

The winter gear will use the full collar and the pockets will be full. I think the weight will be 22-23 pounds so curious how it will hold up.

I will revise the review after the trip if it works out that I'm able to use the Burn. However I have been very pleased with the Burn to date.


Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Exped DownMat 7 priced at: $128.95 - $218.95
Exped DownMat priced at: $129.00 - $219.00
Marmot Hydrogen priced at: $279.20 - $348.95
Western Mountaineering VersaLite priced at: $424.95 - $494.95
Seth Brewer
( Whistler )

Excellent Thru-Hiking Bag for A Lightweight Hiker on 09/14/2011 10:02:33 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Used this bag from Damascus, VA to Katahdin, ME during the warm weather portion of my 2011 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I started from Amicalola Falls in GA carrying the MLD Exodus with my cold weather gear but quickly found that I really didn't need that much room in a bag and yearned for something that had a slimmer profile and would sit along my spine and not stick out beyond the sides of my shoulders. Upon reaching Damascus for Trail Days I purchased this bag from Ron after carefully considering how the rest of my hike would go regarding needed gear and wondering if the size would work for me. Needless to say it worked wonderfully and performed without flaw under conditions of heavy use and heavy abuse. I didn't have a single issue with the bag the whole hike, and was very happy with its versatility and capacity.
I found that the bag comfortably carried up to about 24 lbs, but did have a few days leaving town where I weighed the bag at 32 lbs with things like a box of wine adding some bulk. I hiked stoveless from Damascus to Katahdin and carried the following gear (minus the Railriders pants and top which got sent home in VT and exchanged for a pair of DriDucks rain pants):

Actual Summer Gear List: A.T Thru-Hike 2011 Mar/Apr Start and Aug/Sept Finish

Tent: (24.3oz.)
• Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben SoloMid – (10 oz.)
• BearPaw Wilderness Designs – PyraNet1 Inner Net Tent – 12” SilNylon Walls (Custom) – (13 oz.)
• Mountain Outfitter 6” Titanium Ti-Eye Stakes – (6 stakes /0.21 oz. each) (1.26 oz.)
Backpack: (11oz.)
• Mountain Laurel Designs Burn Large– (11oz.)
Mat: (3.5 oz.)
• GG TorsoLite Pack Pad/ Sit Pad / Sleep Mat (19.5 x 30 x 3/4in.) (2.5 oz.)
• Foam Hip Doughnut (1 oz.)
Sleeping Bag: (24oz.)
• LaFuma Extreme 700 XL 50* Synthetic Full Zip Sleeping Bag / Quilt - 1 lb 8oz. (24 oz.)
Cooking Set: (5 oz.)
• Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo (4.5 oz.)
• REI Folding Ti Spork (0.6 oz.)
Light: (1 oz.)
• Photo Micro Light (1 oz.)
Firestarting / Tools: (2.45oz.)
• (2) Mini Bic Lighters (1 oz.)
Bathroom: (3oz.)
• Hand Sanitizer (1 oz.)
• Toilet Paper in Ziploc (2 oz.)
• “Nature’s Weightless Trowel” (0 oz.) (rock / stick)
Bearproofing: (1.6 oz.)
• ZPack Cuben Fiber Rock Bag
• BPL Aircore Pro "UrsaLite" Dyneema Bear Bag Cord – (1.3oz/50ft) w/ Nite-Ize #2 Biner
Pack liners / Raincovers: (1.5 oz.)
• Trash Compactor Bags (1.5 oz.)
Showering: (7.9oz.)
• Teva Mush Sandals (7 oz.) (size 12)
• MSR PackTowel Personal Small– (0.9 oz.) (6 x 12in.)
1. Raingear: (7 oz.)
• Dri Ducks Trail-Pac Rain Jacket (7 oz.)
2. Sleeping/Underwear: (2.8 oz.)
• REI Briefs (2.8 oz)
3. Pants/Shorts: (14 oz.)
• Sugoi Running Shorts (4 oz.)
• Railriders Eco-Mesh pants (10oz.)
4. Shirts: (13.4oz.)
• Mountain Hardwear SS ¼ Zip Tee (7 OZ.)
• Railriders Eco-Mesh LS Shirt (8 oz.)
5. Hats: (4 oz.)
• Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Net (0.9 OZ)
• OR Tech Mesh Hat ( 2 oz.)
• (2) EMS Bandana (2 oz.)
6. Gloves: (1 oz.)
• MLD eVent Mittens / Rainproof & Windproof – (1 oz.)
7. Socks: (6 oz.)
• (3) Injinji Toe Socks CoolMax Crew length (6 oz.)
Emergency / First Aid / Gear Repair / Body Prep & Anti –Chafe (8oz. )**
• Bandages…etc Mini Signal / Tick Check Mirror Fox 40 Mini Whistle Tweezers Aleve Tums Ear Plugs Super Glue mini tube…straight razor w/ cardboard.. Leukotape P.. Bandaid Blister Stick
Music / Photo/Ditty Bag: (21 oz.)
• Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 16mp,HD video, (4.8 oz. camera w/ SD card and battery)
• STICKPIC MOUNT (0.5 oz.)
• 16GB Ipod Nano in OtterBox Waterproof case w/headphones/mini charger – (6.5 oz.)
• Phone w/ charging cord (3oz.)
• Write-In-The-Rain Waterproof Journal and Pen (3 oz.)
Water Storage / Purification: (5.6 oz.)
• SteriPen Adventurer Opti w/ Streamlight Lithium batteries (3.6 oz. lasts approx. 2 wks)
• (2) Powerade 1 L Bottles (2 oz.)
Food: (3.7 oz. empty)
• LOKSAK O.P 12.5 x 20 in. Odor proof bag (1.3 oz.)
• Sea To Summit 20 L Dry Bag (2.5 oz.)
Footwear / Gaiters: (s) = summer (36.3 oz.)
• (s) Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 Trail Running Shoes (34.5 oz. / pair – size 13)
• (s) Dirty Girl Gaiters (1.8 oz.)
Trekking Poles: (16oz.)
• BD Trail Ergo Cork 145cm Flick Lock, (16 oz./pair)
TOTAL = 225.85 OZ. (14.1 LBS) Base Weight FSO (FROM SKIN OUT)

Worn / Carried Warm Weather: (69.3 oz. = 4.3 lbs)
Footwear / Gaiters: (36.3 oz.)
• Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 Trail Running Shoes (34.5 oz. / pair – size 13)
• SOLE Dean Karnazes Signature Insoles for Ultra-Marathons – extra support and cushion
• Dirty Girl Gaiters (1.8 oz.)
Trekking Poles: (16 oz.)
• BD Trail Ergo Cork 145cm Flick Lock (16 oz. / pair)
Clothing: (17 oz.)
• Mountain Hardwear T-Shirt ¼ Zip (7 oz.)
• Bandana or OR Tech Mesh Cap (2 oz.)
• Injinji Toe Socks (two pair) ( 4 oz.)
• Brooks Running Shorts (4 OZ.)

Overall Base Pack Weight Carried = 9.8 lbs

The bag was everything I needed, and nothing that I didn't. I used two MLD hip pockets and a MLD zippered shoulder pocket in conjuction with a small non MLD zippered shoulder pocket for my camera. I will continue to use MLD products for any future long distance hiking, as the durability for the long haul is without equal. For cold weather trips over multiple days I will likely use my Exodus, as the capacity is slightly less than I'm used to for winter trips.

In summary: very durable, very comfortable carry under 24 lbs, very comfortable and sleek profile carries and transfers the pack weight well for compact loads, good price, excellent customer service, the quality that goes with all MLD products that I carried on my trip = impeccable and trustworthy.MLD Burn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Edited by Whistler on 11/26/2012 19:55:39 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Outdoor Research Pants - Women's priced at: $65.00
Packtowel Personal priced at: $9.95 - $32.95
Sea To Summit Head Net priced at: $6.89 - $9.95

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