Lumbar Packs for Green-Thinking Nordic Walkers

Pack-maker Mountainsmith’s small packs made of recycled plastic water bottles

Mountainsmith has been making quality backpacks, camera packs, day packs and more for years, but now, they are utilizing material fabricated from recycled plastic bottles. Hooray!

The Process

The bottles used in the recycling process come from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea, countries that have pioneered refabricating plastic bottles into fabric. The bottles are processed, cleaned and converted to flakes before being shipped from these countries to Taiwan, where the material is spun into fiber that in turn is woven into Mountainsmith’s proprietary ReDura fabric and then triple-coated to increase the material’s overall strength and durability.

For the chemistry savvy, the material is polyethylene teraphthalate (PET), a thermoplastic resin in the polyester family used to make beverage, food and other liquid containers and synthetic fibers.

The Packs

Of Mountainsmith’s extensive product line, the smaller lumbar packs are ideal for Nordic Walking. If you’re in the market for a utilitarian lightweight lumbar pack to hold the necessities for a few hours of walking, take a look at the Buzz II, a 7-ounce featherweight and the smaller, lighter (only 3 ounces) Vibe II. The Buzz II (right) features air-mesh foam back panel, zippered mesh pocket on waist belt, reflective highlights (not trivial with short days coming up), zippered main compartment, two compression straps, key clip, headphone cord port, mesh sleeve gel pockets, elastic rigging on front panel and quick access to two water bottles in foam-padded water bottle pockets. It retails for $45.

Mountainsmith calls its Dart II a “minimalist hydration pack” for shorter shorter Similar features include air-mesh foam back panel, adjustable waistbelt with elastic webbing keepers, reflective highlights, one foam-padded water bottle pocket for a 22-ounce bottle, zippered mesh main compartment, key clip and headphone cord port. It retails for $25.

Available colors are pinion green, heritage teal, red, black, charcoal, cobalt and lotus blue. And the good-conscience value? Priceless.

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