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Capacity: 34L (2075 cu. in.)
Weight: 3lbs 8oz
Frame: 5mm tempered aluminum wire/ 1.5mm HDPE framesheet
Features: M-Flex suspension, dual pivoting/adjustable hip belt, Snake Loader zipper system w/ #10 urethane water-resistant zipper, perforated foam backpanel, shoulder straps and hipbelt, Ice-axe straps, 4 gear loops, rainfly
Since busting into the scene last year Mile High Mountaineering has been hard at work keeping it real with new packs and new designs that show their hip styling and should be a real wake up call to the well established brands that they are in it to win it. I have beat the hell out of one of MHM's newest releases the 34 liter Salute.
One of the first things you will notice about this pack is that it has a unique snake zipper system that features 3 separate pulls. This allows a few key things to occur; you can splay the pack completely flat on the ground so as to use it as a place for your rope at the crag, it allows you to fully assess what you have in your pack and it lets you open the pack from top or bottom with out spilling the contents should you need. Essentially this is the worlds first top, front, and bottom loader!
As with all of the MHM packs to date this pack is built to last a lifetime of high country abuse featuring 315 denier main body fabric and 850 denier Invista Cordura bottom fabric. The zippers on this pack are bomber YKK #10 and gone is the poly zipper seen on the other MHM packs and I truly hope they continue with this new zipper from here on out. As per MHM standards there was true attention to detail in the slick design of the Salute.
Even with weight exceeding their recommended 15-30lbs (I had it loaded with 40lbs) the pack carried really well and vented adequately even during our scorching 100°F days. Designed for day hikes, I think this pack will work well for those folks looking to head out for multiple days, so long as they pack smartly. I was able to fit 3 days worth of gear into the pack and still had room for a few beers! Some other dialed features are the hidden ice-tool/axe straps, 4 compression straps, 4 gear loops, bomber carry handle on the top of the pack and stashed rain cover.
While I would be hard pressed to find anything really "wrong" with this design I would like to see MHM utilize a combination of male and female buckles on the straps so you can carry gear along the center back of the pack instead of just along the sides. The reason for this is that when you have the pack fully loaded and stash a water bottle or some other gear in the mesh side pockets you cannot strap anything of any volume to the side of the pack because the side straps are simply too short. All in all I would give this pack a very high rating especially if you are looking for a bomber 1-3 day pack and aren't concerned about the 3lb 8oz pack weight. I will continue to enjoy this pack and will eagerly await to see this new industry leader as they will no doubt wow us for years and years to come.