Review: Maxpedition Monsoon Gearslinger Backpack

   04.18.18

Review: Maxpedition Monsoon Gearslinger Backpack

Maxpedition has a reputation for quality, and the Maxpedition Monsoon is no exception to that rule. Overall design may leave something to be desired, but comfort more than makes up for it.

Why a sling pack? Traditional backpacks have two shoulder straps, which can be rather difficult to take off and put on while wearing heavy clothing. Also, sometimes the straps of a traditional backpack can constrict the shoulders, or limit movement.

Gearslinger packs have a single shoulder strap which usually has a buckle on it. This design allows the pack to put on and taken off easily while wearing heavy clothing. This is why the Maxpedition Noatak is one of my favorite daypacks.

Most sling packs on the market have a design where pack weight is placed directly on the shoulder.  Depending on the amount of weight being carried, eventually the pack will start grinding into the shoulder.  However, some gearsling packs address this problem by placing the shoulder strap in the middle of the pack, and designing the pack so it can be swapped between the right and left shoulder.

The Maxpedition Monsoon took a different approach, usually seen in only high end gearsling pack.

Maxpedition Monsoon Comfort

Maxpedition Monsoon shoulder strap

I have been using gearslinger pack for years. The Maxpedition Monsoon has to be the most comfortable pack gearsling pack I have ever worn.

For one, the shoulder strap measures anywhere from 3 1/2 inches – 4 1/4 inches across. Compare that to the Maxpedition Vulture II and the Condor II which only have a shoulder strap width of 2 1/2 inches.

To transfer the weight from the shoulder to the waist, the Maxpedition Monsoon sports a waist belt. One side of he waste belt measures 7 inches wide, while the other side of the belt measures only 1 1/2 inches wide and has no padding.

The Monsoon has three padded comfort zones, which help protect the back from items inside the pack.

Once the waist belt is adjusted properly, the Maxpedition Monsoon is a pleasure to wear.

Maxpedition Monsoon Webbing

Maxpedition Monsoon webbing

For those of you who read my previous articles on backpacks, such as the military surplus backpack article, ya’ll should know I like webbing, especially MOLLE webbing.

The Monsoon has a lot of webbing.

Want an extra pouch? No problem.

Pouch on the shoulder strap? No problem.

Then there is webbing on the large section of the waist belt. This would be ideal for a compass pouch, small dump pouch, GPS pouch, phone pouch, or camera.

Overall Design

As much as I like the Maxpedition Monsoon, there are some design features which make me scratch my head. For example, the bottom of the pack is not flat. So when it is set on the ground, it wants to lay backwards.

Why put a 7 inch wide waist belt on the left side, then a 2 inch belt on the right side?

On the back of the pack is a large flap with a hole in the bottom. This seems ideal for carrying a tripod, or some other long item. However, it seems there is no way to make sure the item does not slip through the hole.

there are a couple of outer pockets with have a small opening. This makes the pockets rather useless for storing say a water filter, or TOPO maps.

To open the main compartment there are two zippers which open on both sides of the pack. The zippers do not completely close the pack. When zipped all the way up, there is a small opening which is covered by a flap. Since the zippers run vertically along the pack, they should be secured so they do not work their way open.

On the right side of the pack, the MOLLE webbing is attached to a pocket. This creates a weak point where the stitching is being pulled at. So a canteen may not be the best thing to go there.

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Maxpedition Monsoon Final Thoughts

Maxpedition Monsoon hiking trip

While some of the Maxpedition Monsoon features be lacking, such as attaching webbing to a pocket, the overall comfort more than makes up for it.

The Maxpedition website says the Monsoon has a volume of around 1,000 cubic inches, which is reasonable for a daypack.

Material: 1000-Denier light-weight ballistic nylon fabric.

YKK zippers.

This backpack should provide years of service, which is what one may expect from Maxpedition.

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