This Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Review is about the smaller pack in the miniseries, very strongly built and with a great capacity, suitable for a variety of day outdoor tours and for travel.
Key features & benefits
- Steel frame.
- Great capacity.
- Very durable Cordura fabric.
- Great suspension.
- Many asymmetric features.
Mayhem 35 new 2016/2017 and previous versions
This is a well-known pack that has been on the market for several years already, as far as I remember at least from 2013. It has been modified at least two times in the past. So if you are familiar with previous versions, you will not recognize the pack. It is totally changed.
I am not going to make a list of changes here, it would be pointless. If you know the earlier versions of the pack, you will realize the changes immediately; but if you do not know it, then it would not matter in any case. Just to say that the previous adjustable harness and lid from the old model(s) are gone.
Who is it for
The Mayhem 35 is suitable for day tours and for very light overnight tours, and those include hiking, mountaineering, climbing, kayaking, cycling tours, etc., but this is also a great travel pack.
The torso size is in the range 15 – 20 inches (38 – 51 cm), bear this in mind because the harness is not adjustable.
The pack can carry a lot of load in spite of its small size, the official capacity is up to 45 lb (20 kg).
Built of strong materials, the pack is good even for professionals. Its price is a bit steep for beginners, but if you can afford it, this is a great tool, worth the money.
The picture above shows also the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 WSD (women specific design), the second pack from the left. The first from the left is the 35-liter pack for men (it comes also in Anvil Grey color, see the pictures below).
The pack is built in the best tradition of the Mountainsmith, so you have a very durable Cordura fabric similar to the biggest packs of this brand, like their huge Apex 100 pack.
The pack is panel loading type, but the zipper is asymmetric; it is quite short on one side (see the picture below), but it goes almost to the bottom on the other side. It is hydration compatible and the sleeve is in the main compartment, while the hose port is on the right side.
The suspension is really good for this size. It is based on a peripheral steel wire, a PE frame sheet, and a stabilizer bar. The picture below shows how nicely the shoulder straps are padded, with the padding that goes smoothly around the edges to save you from hot spots.
The sternum strap visible above is adjustable, so you have hooks on it which attach the strap to the ladder-type system on both shoulder straps. I love this design.
You can see also the padding which is a part of what they call the Anvil Airway ridged EVA system. This includes small ridges covered by the breathable mesh for a better ventilation. Very large ventilation channels are between the padded sections.
The hip belt shown below is very wide and padded enough. It is flexible and it hugs the waist nicely. Observe the breathable mesh. The lumbar padding is massive and with the ridges and mesh similar to the upper sections. Note again that the harness is fixed here.
The pockets’ design is all asymmetric. The two pockets on the hip belt are different; you can see them above. The pocket on the right is zippered and on the left this is without the zipper and the fabric is different.
The side pockets are also asymmetric. On the left, the stretch mesh pocket is with the top entrance. On the right, the pocket is angled, almost horizontal, and it is equipped with a cinch cord to keep the bottle in place.
There is more asymmetry: one small and flat zippered pocket is on one side (e,g., for maps), and there is no such pocket on the other side.
You have a very large stretch mesh pocket on the front, it is expandable and with flaps on the sides, and it is equipped with three buckles. This is a useful space where even a helmet can be stored.
There is also a top zippered pocket for smaller items, it is visible in the pictures above.
Compression and attachment elements
Dual compression straps are on the sides. The upper straps are connected with the front pockets. The lower straps are over/under type, so you can pass them under or over the pockets.
On the bottom you have dual loops for trekking poles or axes, see below, and they are paired with bungee tie-offs higher on the pack.
Dual daisy chains are positioned vertically on the front pocket, see below. You have also D-rings and webbing loops on the shoulder straps.
The pack is without bottom straps, just to know to avoid surprises. I recently received a comment related to that in my text about Deuter Futura Vario 50, the person was unpleasantly surprised after realizing that the straps were missing.
Please see more about the series in this short video by the Mountainsmith:
Pros & Cons
Here is my summary:
The rain cover is missing, and it can be ordered here. The bottom compartment is not available, but the design with the very long panel zipper makes it unnecessary. Make sure you know your torso length as the harness is fixed.
At the moment of writing this text, the Amazon price for this pack is $140, so it is a bit steep. Note that the model for women is $112. Please check the links for updates.
What users think
On Amazon, so far the pack has received a 4.4/5 average score. See how I rate it:
My rating breakdown of the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Pack
- Gender: separate models for men and women.
- Weight: 2 lb 15 oz (1.34 kg).
- Volume: 2135 cubic inches (35 L).
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 24.75 x 11 x 8.5 in (62.8 x 28 x 21.6 cm).
- Capacity: 45 lb (20 kg).
- Torso size: 15 – 20 in (38 – 51 cm).
- No torso adjustment.
- Waistbelt circumference: 28 – 48 in (71 – 122 cm).
- Waistbelt width: 1.5 in (3.8 cm).
– 305D Multi-Rip Cordura HP.
– 610D Cordura HP.
– Spring steel wireframe suspension.
- YKK zippers.
- PE frame sheet.
- Anvil Airway ridged EVA back padding.
- Hybrid panel loader system, ideal for long trail & travel.
- Forward pull waist belt with adjustable webbing.
- Dual trekking pole loops.
- Dual bungee cords.
- Large front mesh pocket.
- Smartphone compatible waistbelt pocket (up to iPhone 6+ and Galaxy S6).
- Side panel mesh storage pocket with Over/Under strap pass thru.
- Colors: 3.
Mayhem 35 pack vs competitors
See how the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 backpack stands in comparison with some top-class packs:
*For S/M size. **This is just an entrance.
As you see, some features are missing in the Mayhem pack. Its V/W ratio is quite good, 26. See also the prices; at the moment of writing this text they are respectively, $140, 170, 140. Note that the Mayhem WSD (for women) is $112.
In the conclusion of this Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Review to say again that this is a strong pack built from high-quality materials, very reliable and versatile. It lacks some features which I love to have in a pack, hence my rating. But if those features are not essential to you, I can strongly recommend it.
Need something smaller from the same brand? No problem, check this Mountainsmith Scream 25 Pack. Note also that they have launched a new Mountainsmith Mayhem 30 Pack with a unique and ultra-tough Spectra Fiber technology.
This pack is in the upper range for day packs, so if you need something smaller, please check the packs below 35 liters. But if you need something bigger, please visit this page with many top quality packs in the range 35 – 55 liters. There you will find the larger pack from the same series, the Mayhem 45. You might want to check this Osprey Eja 38 which is a women-specific pack.
Thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of comments or questions. Have a nice day.