Mountain Hardwear PCT 65 - Women's Review
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Mountain Hardwear PCT 65 - Women's
|Price||$300.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Large U-zip opening, durable, massive side pockets, included hydration/day pack||Ultra comfortable and well-ventilated, spacious and fits a bear can horizontally, affordable, durable, low center of gravity||Versatile, affordable, customizable, comfortable, lightweight, user-friendly design||Stable and sturdy, comfortable, adjustable, spacious, great suspension||Comfortable, plush padding, highly adjustable, good number of pockets, easy-to-remove brain|
|Cons||Bulky, lightly padded harness, small hipbelt pockets||Set torso adjustment points, no back stash pocket, brain isn't very flexible||Lower maximum load, less plush padding||Heavy, overbuilt for lighter missions, padding can feel stiff, expensive, less versatile||Large spring-loaded waistband is hard to get into, suspension can feel bulky, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Plenty of pockets and a large capacity but not as comfortable or well-padded||Get back to basics with this comfortable and affordable pack that can handle heavy loads with grace and adequate ventilation||Both affordable and customizable, this pack comes equipped to tackle a variety of adventures, all in a very weight-conscious and beginner-friendly way||Bringing you exceptional comfort and support for heavy loads with an excellent feature set and spacious pockets||With unparalleled ventilation, comfortable straps, and a full range of adjustable features|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear P...||Osprey Renn 65||REI Co-op Flash 55...||Gregory Deva 60||Osprey Aura AG 65|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear P...||Osprey Renn 65||REI Co-op Flash 55...||Gregory Deva 60||Osprey Aura AG 65|
|Measured Weight||3.7 lbs||3.6 lbs||2.7 lbs||4.7 lbs||4.5 lbs|
|Weight per Liter (oz)||0.91 oz/L||0.89 oz/L||0.79 oz/L||1.25 oz/L||1.11 oz/L|
|Organization Compartments||Lid, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment, daypack included||Lid, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment||Lid, double side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, shoulder strap phone pocket, main compartment||Lid, front pocket, hip belt pockets, 1 water bottle compartment, main compartment||Lid, front pocket, side pockets, dual front pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment|
|Access||Top cinch, bottom U-zip||Top, bottom||Top||Top, side, bottom||Top, side, bottom|
|Rain Cover Included||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Women's Specific Features||Women's specific fit||Women's specific fit||Women's specific fit||Slim profile and women’s-specific Response A3W Suspension||Women's specific fit|
|Sleeping bag Compartment||Yes (optional divider)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bear Can Compatible||Yes - Vertical||Yes - Vertical and Horizontal||Yes - Vertical||Yes - Vertical and Horizontal||Yes - Vertical|
|Main Materials||Recycled 210D ripstop shell, 500D dordura base||600D polyester||Ripstop nylon; Oxford nylon (bluesign® approved)||210D 40% recycled nylon & 420D 45% recycled nylon with PFC-free DWR||Nylon|
|Volumes Available||50, 65 liters||50, 65 liters||55 liters||60, 70 liters||50, 65 liters|
|Sizes Available||S/M, M/L||One size, adjustable torso||XS, S, M||XS, S, M||XS, S, M|
|Measured Volume (main compartment)||(not measured)||45L||45L||45L||(not measured)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
What separates this pack from the rest is that it has lots of spacious pockets for all of your gear. It has two separate zippered chambers on the lid, seven total exterior pockets, and even an integrated daypack that comes off so that you can stay organized at camp. Even better, the PCT 65 is made entirely of Nylon (no mesh to be ripped here) which is a unique feature of a backpack with so many storage options.
For a pack with a large capacity meant to carry a heavy load, we found the PCT 65 to be lacking in comfort features. While the harness is a women's specific fit and is comfortable, the hip belt left us wanting more. It is small and thinly padded. The hip belt seems disproportionate to the rest of the heavily featured pack. Despite the small hip belt, the pack has some redeeming comfort qualities. The trampoline back panel provides nice ventilation and kept us from feeling what was in our packs which made it a pretty comfy choice overall.
Ease of Use
This metric is where the PCT shines; that is if you like lots of compartments. One of our favorite features about this pack is that the hydration bladder pack is removable and actually turns into a daypack. It was nice not to have to schlep our whole backpack with us on short day hikes from camp or on missions to find water. The PCT also has two giant side pockets that can easily accommodate a water bottle and packable layer, which we appreciate.
One drawback to having lots of storage features is that the pack felt bulky, and at times, the excessive pockets felt unnecessary, depending on what we packed. If you are bringing rope, a harness, and a helmet, there's plenty of room, and the pockets are appreciated. But if you tend to pack a bit lighter, you might find all the compartments to be overkill.
At 4.2 pounds, the PCT isn't light, but it certainly isn't the heaviest pack on the market either. For the capacity, it feels like a bigger pack but doesn't come at the cost of additional weight. Lighter-weight fabric generally sacrifices durability but cuts a few ounces. While this pack is made out of a heavier recycled 210-Denier ripstop shell and a 500-Denier Cordura base, it makes up for it by being very durable.
An average adjustability rating score was warranted for this pack. The frame is easy to adjust for multiple torso sizes just by moving the velcro harness, which we appreciated. But the hip belt is a fixed size, meaning it may not totally cradle your hips depending on your size and shape. We wish the hip belt was adjustable, or at the least, a smidge bigger to accommodate more people.
The PCT comes with a steep price tag. The plus side is that you're paying for durability and longevity. And if you take trips in rugged environments, appreciate organized storage, and don't mind the hip belt, this might be the pack for you. If you want a more straightforward pack, you can probably get one at a lower price.
For the person who loves organization and takes trips in rugged backcountry places, the Mountain Hardwear PCT 65 could be your dream pack. It has lots of pockets, it stands out for its durability over many miles on the trail, and it feels like it has a bigger capacity than 65 liters. There's much to like about this hardwearing pack.
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