Rated 4 out of 5Â by Trailwalker Great Field Bag...If you compensate for the design
It took a lot of extra effort to make this bag work for my intended application...a field bag for birding. The caveat is that there is only one water bottle pocket. So once you put in a standard size water bottle, the pack will list toward the bottle holder side. That puts the shoulder strap at an angle that is very uncomfortable, and requires frequent adjustment. And the shoulder straps are attached at a point that makes moving the water bottle in and out of its holder difficult. There is, however, several things that you can do to improve this greatly...providing you are not too thirsty! Zojirushi makes a narrow gauge, 10 ounce, insulated water bottle that works perfectly in the bottle holder. It took a lot of research to find that bottle. If you use this bag for day hikes of under 3 hour duration or for around town and sip rather than guzzle, that bottle will work well for you. Also, pack the bag by putting a lightweight "spacer" in the main compartment, closest to the water bottle compartment. I use my chunky nylon eyeglass case for the spacer. Place heavier objects like binoculars on the opposite side of the bag, furthest away from the bottle holder, with the space next to it to prevent it from shifting. This achieves balance that will fix Mountainsmith's design problem. Mountainsmith marketers obviously did not spend a great deal of time field testing this design.
Once you get past this balancing act, this is a great little bag. It has a zip compartment in the lid that holds my keys. A front compartment where I keep my birding book. A flannel lined side compartment for your glasses, although this could have been made a bit more generous for larger sunglasses...mine do not fit. Two main compartments, one padded and lined compartment, perfect for a tablet. Plenty of room inside for a lightweight poncho, protein bars...and even a little open pocket on the rear of the pack for your cell phone, where I keep a spare lens cloth. Do I like this bag? No, I love it, but it took a lot of thought and hard work to get it all right. Kohls was exceptional in promptly delivering the order.