Put simply we never knew that a daypack could be this comfortable and stable with a range of loads. The Fluid 26 may be designed around its hydration compatibility but thanks to its mix of pockets just where you need them and the on-the-fly volume adjustment it's just supremely comfortable as a long day or weekend pack.
The mix of mesh and zipped pockets, including handy pockets on the hip belt, and three compartments helps with organising kit throughout the pack with quick access pockets where they're needed and a helmet compatible front compression pocket that's ideal for storing waterproofs for quick access. You even get a pecial fleece-lined sunglasses pocket inside the top pocket!
Warm weather's usually when you most regret carrying a pack but the Fluid 26 combats the problems of ventilation with a breathable spacer mesh and ventilated foam on the soft-edged shoulder straps. OK, the back ventilation isn't 100% foolproof and there's still a tendancy to build up sweat after a few hours in the sun, but in real world terms it's as good as anything else around and with a decent wicking layer underneath it never becomes excessive. The hip belt is pretty much average, functional and comfortable with a zipped mesh pocket either side to complement the stretch pockets on the sides of the packs.
The main features of the Fluid 26, however, are the large capacity bladder pocket for hydration systems, with a full 3l bladder fitting easily, and the easy load adjustability. Unlike some manufacturers MHW have elected to leave the hydration pocket as zip free, which makes a lot of sense to us and tube routing is simple thanks to a centrally located exit hole. The on-the-fly compression is what helps keep the pack load stable and whilst surprisingly simple in appearance it does the job remarkably well, keeping the whole pack balanced whether walking, mountain biking or scrambling. To say we like the Mountain Hardwear Fluid 26 is something of an understatement and we can see it being a regular "go-to" pack for anything from day walks to weekends.
Colour: Black, Red, Blue, Green
- HardWave framesheet
- Breathable spacer mesh backpanel
- Soft-edge shoulder straps with ventilated foam
- Pleated front compression pocket
- Quick access zip pocket on top of pack
- Front panel organizer pocket
- Zippered mesh pockets on hipwings
- Stretch woven side pockets
Pros: On the fly compression, ventilation, shoulder straps
Note: This article was restored from the archives. It's published creation date is inaccurate.