If you’ve spent any time at all in the bag-sphere you’ve definitely heard of Jack Barley, Keven Dee, and EVERGOODS. Based out of Bozeman, Montana, the young brand had their first 2017 product launched on Kickstarter and raised $161,000 to bring out their first two packs, the Civic Panel Loader 24L (CPL24) and the Mountain Panel Loader 30L (MPL30). Both of these packs personified the idea of “same day, same bag”, or being able to go from the office to the mountains with one great all-rounder pack. Although your use may vary on this promise, there’s no denying that they’ve put out some super high-quality gear.
So, this year when the team launched two new bags we were delighted to check out their fast-packing, alpine-centered Mountain Quick Draw 24L (MQD24). I was lucky enough to spend a few months with it – testing out it’s ability to function as both as urban everyday bag in the swampy heat of New Orleans, Louisiana, and as a minimalist climbing/trail pack in the mountains above Albuquerque, New Mexico.
|Capacity||1464 cu. in.||24L|
|Primary Materials||Shell fabric: 420D HT Nylon 6,6 w PU|
Lining fabric: 210D HT nylon w PU coating
and silicone finish
Stretch Pockets: durable 4-way stretch
Frame sheet: Zote HD80
Zippers: YKK 10RC and YKK 8RC w DWR
Quality and Comfort
One of the first things that’s apparent when unboxing the MQD24 is the quality of materials. The 420D nylon feels like it could get hucked off a cliff and come back looking pretty but still feels nice in your hands and on your back. The zippers are beefy and easy to handle. The pack itself feels light, but not flimsy. The designers managed to thread the needle between modern looks, with a classic cinch-top design (more on this later).
Although the bag isn’t made in the USA (and this might be a deal-breaker for some) the team at EVERGOODS seems to be well-connected with their manufacturing facility in Vietnam and this is reflected in the immaculate quality control that I’ve seen so far. In the four different EVERGOODS bags that I’ve owned (and the many that I’ve personally held), I would be hard-pressed to recall a QA issue, stray thread, or mis-cut. My experience with the customer support team has also left me confident that if these issues did turn up later down the line, I would be well taken care of.
Where some packs take a while to grow on you, the MQD was screaming to get on my back and on the trail. For my own 6’2″ (188cm) frame, I found the hip belt, which is really just a 1” piece of webbing, a bit unwieldy for how high the pack rode on my back, and removed it quickly (and easily). My partner, who measures up at around 5’6″ (167cm), preferred to keep the belt on and we were able to switch between the two of us without much trouble.
The straps are fat and well padded, which I really loved when carrying my gear for the day, but they felt a bit bulky if I was only holding a water bottle and jacket, or if the bag wasn’t significantly weighed down. Obviously this comes down to personal choice, but I did appreciate the inch or two of comfy foam when I was carrying supplies for myself and two dogs. In a similar “one size never fits all”, I appreciated the minimal padding of the frame and though I tend to want a bit more airflow in humid environments, I never felt like my back was stifling. Your results may vary.
Finally, let’s get to the proverbial elephant in the room, (hereon called the muskrat in the backpack) the top opening. As a climber, I’ve tried my fair share of top-cinch packs and I’ve never liked them. Sure, you can throw your rope, jacket, and water in quick and be on your way, but it’s never an elegant solution and your stuff is prone to get wet when it rains. The quick draw “lid” that EVERGOODS has designed solves almost all of my gripes with the old way of doing things. Although it takes a few tries to understand the weird opening / closing sequence (watch the video, trust me), once you get the hang of it, you get all the advantages of quick closure and large stuffage space without the flimsy feel and weather issues that usually accompany it. Although I do wish there was some way to clip all the extra paracord that hangs down when the lid is closed. My one remaining gripe with the system is that it’s very difficult to adequately balance your load and I often found the weight of the bag distributed in the top ¼ of the bag space which makes it uncomfortable and inefficient to carry.
Finally, a completely subjective point coming from someone who’s basically colorblind is the overall look of the pack. I love it. At this point I own all of the EVERGOODS line and although I originally opted for the all-black, the grey is out of this world. It’s a sort of textured, shark skin color that manages to shed dirt and even look BETTER as it ages with a few grease stains and love-scuffs. It can look at home in an office, on the bus, thrown in a truck, or on the top of a mountain. Even if you’re not a person who usually looks at any other colorway than the deepest, darkest, most soul-sucking black, I recommend you give this one a second look!
The MQD24 is divided into three main compartments. The main compartment is basically just a black hole with a stretch panel that can fit a hydration pack (with internal routing for a hose) or a 13” Macbook Pro. The body of the pack can be accessed from both the top, and also a side zipper which allows you to get to the stuff at the back of your pack. YOu can also shove a few items in an internal mesh pocket that’s big enough for a passport or narrow electronics pouch. While writing this review I actually discovered a set of SECRET small vertical pockets that are designed to hold a portable bike pump, monopod, or trekking poles inside the main compartment while still keeping them securely at the sides of the bag. Although this bag is advertised at 24L, I was surprised how much it could fit, and the ability to leave the top open, or only close it slightly gives you a few extra liters of space that you can always use in a pinch.
The stash compartment at the top is big enough for a phone, wallet, and keys, and makes it easy to keep valuables protected and separated. While EVERGOODS’ previous packs have had dedicated volume for these types of external pockets, this one is taking up realty inside the main body, so it can be difficult to grab your wallet in a hurry if your pack is overstuffed.
Finally, the external stretch pocket in the rear of the bag theoretically allows you to throw a sweatshirt or rain layer for quick access. Although the idea is good, I found the pocket to be either a bit too small or not stretchy enough to accommodate as much as I wanted it to. Often these 4-way stretch nylons tend to wear out after a few months of use and become baggy or rigid. Luckily, this hasn’t been a problem with the EVERGOODS stuff, so it seems that adding even an inch or two of spaces (rather than sacrificing durability for a stretchier material) might solve that issue. Being an alpine-spirited bag, the external frame is covered in just the right amount of daisy chain loops to lash gear, carabiners, or anything else you can think of.
- The top-lid closure is the best execution of this type of bag I’ve ever seen
- Dual access to main compartment makes it easy to access gear trapped in the bottom
- High quality materials, great attention to detail in construction
- Grey colorway is sleek and sheds water, dog hair, and stains
- Needs a simple way to secure the extra paracord when the lid is closed
- Outside stretch pocket needs a bit more room to expand
- Easy to accidentally top-load
- Could do with a bit more breathability in the back-panel
Overall, EVERGOODS has managed to exceed my (very high) expectations with their alpine-centered adventure bag. It’s versatile enough to use both in the outback and in the city, and the super-high quality build makes it feel like a pack that should cost more than the $200 they’re selling it for. If you’re looking for an incredibly technical or ultra-lightweight bag you might want to look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a durable, sleek looking, fantastic all-rounder with a slight lean towards outdoor adventure, it’s worth adding the EVERGOODS Mountain Quick Draw 24L to your list. As always, I look forward to whatever these guys and gals have in the pipeline. If they can make me a fan of a top-loader bag, there’s really no end to what I believe they can accomplish!
Editor’s Note: MQD24 was provided by EVERGOODS as a sample for review purposes. The content of this review was not shared with EVERGOODS before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.