With so many options for carrying your camera, it can be tough to decide what’s the best camera bag for you. There’s a wide variety and they all fit a slightly different niche.
After using it for a while now, the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack has become my favorite bag for carrying a minimum of equipment.
I love how versatile it is and how it can adapt to so many different styles of photography. When not holding my camera, it’s also a great travel bag for adventures, big and small!
This review will cover some of my favorite features of this bag and why it has earned a spot in my limited selection of camera bags. It’s a relatively small bag but it has an impressive capacity and feature set.
If you’re looking for a bag that will carry your camera, travel very well, and be up for an adventure, check out the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack – you won’t be disappointed!
Let’s take a deeper look.
Table of Contents
Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack Specs
- Packs inside itself
- Super light
- Minimalist design
- Shoulder strap too thin
- Dimensions: 1.75 x 12.25 x 5.5″ / 29.8 x 31.1 x 14.0 cm
- Weight: 14 oz (397g)
- Capacity: 11.5 liters (700 cubic inches)
- Pockets: 2 zipper pockets, 2 stretchy side pockets
Build & Appearance
Over the years, I’ve owned several products from Mountainsmith. They are a Colorado, USA based manufacturer of outdoor equipment including some camera-specific carry options like the Daylight Lumbar Pack.
The Lumbar Pack was one of their original designs but the Daylight version is a lighter weight version that pairs very nicely with an internal camera cube for carrying photography gear. Because Mountainsmith have been producing lumbar packs for so long, it seems like they’ve figured out how to make them super durable.
I’m continually impressed by how well the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack holds up to abuse. Whether it’s going on a rock climb, out on a mountain bike ride, or cruising through an airport, this pack has seen it all and hardly shows any signs of wear!
Although this pack is designed to be lightweight and packable, it still retains a rugged feel. The zippers are nice and smooth and the straps slide easily through the compact buckles.
The waist belt is made from a breathable fabric that conforms nicely to your body and carries the pack in an efficient way.
Lumbar packs might not be the most stylish. They’re one step away from beltpacks – which may or may not be making a comeback. 😉
Despite this, I’ve found that the outdoorsy and utilitarian look of this bag makes it look at home in the mountains or on the trail. I tend to prioritize functionality over looks, which is probably why I love this bag so much.
When it comes to keeping your gear safe, I love that this bag delivers the perfect amount of protection. Some bags are overkill but this bag seems to ride the line of being lightweight without sacrificing the safety of your equipment.
The camera cube fits nicely inside the main compartment of the Daylight Lumbar Pack and has padding on all sides and a drawstring closure on the top. This provides an extra layer of protection against your equipment getting wet.
Overall, the build of this pack is very well thought out and has a nice balance of durability and weight.
The exterior of the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack is refreshingly simple. I love how it has just two compartments and nothing frivolous.
On the top of the bag, you have one main zippered compartment that provides quick access to the camera cube inside. On the front of the bag, another zippered compartment provides storage for smaller accessories like filters, batteries, or a headlamp. It also contains a key clip so you can easily secure valuables. Sometimes I’ll even clip in my memory card case for extra security.
The front panel also has a useful bungee attachment which often gets used to attach an extra layer or possibly even a lightweight tripod.
On each side, there is a stretchy water bottle pocket that can also be used for a variety of accessories. Most often I stash my sunglasses and hat in these pockets.
Although most of the time I use this bag for shoulder/sling style carry, occasionally I do pull out the hipbelt.
The Daylight Lumbar Pack has a hipbelt which tucks away when not needed. This provides a handy solution when you have a heavy load or don’t want the pack swinging around while you’re doing something physical like climbing or biking.
I really like the two straps on each side of the hipbelt that cinch the bag down so it doesn’t flop around if you’re doing more athletic activities.
My only complaint about the exterior of this bag is the slip shoulder strap that comes with it. I found it to be just a little too small and it would cut into my shoulder when the bag was loaded with a camera/lens. The solution to this was swapping it out for a Peak Design Strap.
This allows me to maintain the quick removal function of the shoulder strap while having more comfort when the bag is heavy. It also has the side benefit of using the strap on your camera if you find yourself in need.
Most of the time I don’t have a strap on my camera so that I can easily slide it in/out of bags without a dangling strap but occasionally you need some extra security while holding your camera in a precarious position!
In addition to the shoulder strap, I also love that the Daylight has two small carry loops on the top for tote-style carry. These straps are short and allow the bag to be carried close or hung on top of a rolling suitcase during airport travel.
Overall, the exterior of this bag is very well designed. It’s simple and the features are well thought out.
Similar to the exterior of the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack, the interior is simple and efficient.
The interior consists of a large main pocket accessed from the top. Inside this compartment is a removable camera cube that fits one full-size camera with attached lens as well as a second lens.
I found the fit to be flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of camera and lens sizes.
In addition to the camera cube, the main compartment has a smaller zipper pocket for keeping valuables more secure than on the front pocket. When traveling through airports or in places that I’m concerned about security, I will store things like my passport and memory cards inside this interior zippered pocket.
Another cool feature of the Daylight Lumbar Pack is that the interior pocket also doubles as a storage pouch for the entire bag. If you remove the camera cube, the entire bag will roll up and fit inside this interior pocket. This is super handy if you want to minimize bags while traveling and have a small camera bag when you arrive at your destination.
The front pocket of this bag is simple and only contains a key clip.
Sometimes pockets will contain stretchy organizers for pens, notebooks, and other accessories but I appreciated the weight-saving simplicity of this bag.
I love that the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack is a no-frills camera carry solution with thoughtful design. It’s simple but also meets my needs for travel and adventure photography very well!
My favorite thing about the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack is that it has the perfect capacity for carrying the essentials. It allows me to fit:
- Camera body and lens
- Second lens (up to 70-200)
- Water bottle
- Accessories (i.e. phone, wallet, batteries, filters, etc)
With the capacity being just adequate for a small camera kit, this bag never gets to be heavy and cumbersome like many backpacks can be.
The capacity is great for walking around or smaller adventures where I can leave most of my equipment in the car. It travels really well and keeps things organized while on the go.
This bag also packs down small enough that it can be easily thrown in a larger camera bag in case you want to have a lightweight bag to transfer a smaller portion of your kit into. This scenario is great if you will be hiking into basecamp with a large bag and need something nimble to walk around with!
I’ve also found the capacity of the Daylight Lumbar Pack to be perfect for carrying travel essentials on a plane. If I remove and store the camera cube in a larger bag, this bag will hold my Macbook Air, a book, neck pillow, and other small accessories for air travel!
Ease of Use/Comfort
I use the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack in a lot of scenarios and it performs very well in many of them. The bag is easy to use with just one main zipper to access your equipment and keeps things protected while traveling.
The waistbelt is comfortable and very stable when hiking or adventuring. Anyone who has used a poorly designed waist belt will know how important this feature is!
As I mentioned before, my only complaint was that the shoulder strap was a little too thin for my comfort, but this can be easily swapped out if you have another detachable camera strap.
I love that the Daylight is so versatile and packable. Because of that, it almost always comes with me regardless of where I’m traveling or what sort of adventure is planned.
Value for Money
At under $100 (check latest price here), this bag is incredible value! I’ve found it to be an amazing addition to my regular camera backpack. I can pull it out to take a smaller amount of kit on an adventure and not need the full backpack.
This bag has traveled all over with me and seen a ton of use (probably more than almost any of my camera bags). Because of this, I think it’s a great option for anyone looking for a smaller but still versatile camera carry solution.
I’ve tried some other bags that hold about the same amount of kit but none have been as versatile, simple, and efficient to use as the Daylight Lumbar Pack. The combination of features and lack of frills on this bag make it very user friendly.
When considering the value of a product I often look at how much use it will get compared to the price. With that in mind, this bag has been a great buy for me.
Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack Review | Conclusion
The Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar pack has outperformed my expectations in a lot of ways. It’s been on so many different adventures and fit in perfectly in so many scenarios that I can honestly highly recommend it.
I love equipment that is versatile and packable. This bag is both! It carries cameras and accessories very well and the way it packs inside itself allows me to keep it in my bag regardless of where I’m traveling.
When the time is right to switch to a compact camera bag, the Mountainsmith Daylight comes out to keep my camera secure and accessible.
I’ll be keeping this bag for as long as it lasts, then I’ll be looking for a replacement.
If you want a bag that will perform in a variety of scenarios and not break the bank, check out the Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack.