Mont Astro Travel Pack

A rundown on the Mont Astro’s features

The Mont Astro is a seriously good travel pack.

I’ve done a fair bit of travel – in South-east Asia, Africa, Europe and America – and I wish I had this pack.

Why? Firstly, it’s a good size. The women’s version is 65 litres, which I find is a good capacity for most types of travel, whether it’s a week in Indonesia or two months in Africa. The Astro actually comes in three sizes: “women’s”, “medium” and “large”. Each of these has a different hip-belt size, pack capacity (65, 70 and 75 litres respectively) and back length (check the product page for measurements).

Secondly, it’s an effective shape. The design is really travel friendly. It has a “clam shell” style zip opening, so it opens up like a suitcase. That means it’s easy to pack and unpack. Unlike a top loader, you don’t have to worry about stuffing bulky items a narrow throat. And, you won’t need to pull out half the contents of your gear (and have it spill all over the street) while you rummage around for an item you’ve packed at the bottom of the pack.

One thing I’ve always found annoying about zips on travel packs is that they’re the first thing to bust. But the zips on the Mont Astro are big and robust. The other thing Mont has done to mitigate zip failure is design zipper-protecting “wing straps”. These strap across the pack, which means that if you tighten them correctly, they should take the stress of the closure rather than putting that strain on the zip.

Grab handles on the Astro are robust and ergonomic, so if you’re like me and have a heavy bag by the end of the trip (too much shopping), these handles aren’t going to cut off the circulation in your hands, like some flimsy grab handles on other bags can. Plus, the Astro’s handles are also low profile, which means they won’t snag on carousels and such when you’re in transit.

The thing I really love about the Astro is the additional 22-litre day pack that comes with the main pack. This is not just a crappy sack thrown in. It’s a fully featured pack that would hold its own as a standalone product – but, you get it for free with the Astro. It comes with a discreet, fleece-lined soft pocket for valuables. It has a padded laptop sleeve that can be used for a hydration bladder (and, yes, there is an outlet for a hose). There’s a ventilated mesh and foam back structure, which would help with the “sticky back” phenomenon you get in humid, tropical environments. The front pocket is generous, and includes internal organisation and a key clip. There are stretch pockets on each side for water bottles. And, this day pack clips onto the main pack – either on the back, or the front (handy for keeping valuables close in places where you’re likely to get stuff stolen). It also stows away neatly into its own compartment in the main pack – for if you don’t need it until the end of your trip, for extra purchases. The zips and construction are all made to the same high quality as the main pack.

You’d think that all the goodies are packed into this extra day pack, but Mont has more surprises for you. In the main compartment, the design is clean and simple. Yet, Mont have managed to add features like an internal compression strap with flat, zippered pockets for storing small bits and pieces. There are a couple of other internal zips as well, including a mesh pocket. But the real highlight is a soft, suitcase-style ‘pod’ with a grab handle. It clips into the pack, so you can either use it for internal organisation – your toiletries, or whatever else – or you could carry it separately if you need the extra space in the main compartment.

Of course, this pack also comes with a separate bottom compartment, which is handy for keeping dirty stuff separate. Throw in your muddy boots, or smelly socks, or dirty laundry.

Mont included several other nifty features, like a luggage tag that’s retractable (to prevent snagging). Also, the main zippered compartment is lockable, thanks to an attachment point they’ve included. Like many good travel packs, the harness can also be zippered away.

The harness itself is more than decent – it’s less bulky than a harness on one of Mont’s bushwalking packs. That’s a good thing for a travel pack, where you might pack the harness away frequently. The hip-belt is very sturdy and substantial, and can be adjusted with “forward-pull” straps (much easier, in my opinion). The harness is fully adjustable. And, as I mentioned earlier, comes in three sizes. It’s worth noting that the women’s size is not just the smallest – the shoulder straps are narrower and also contoured to better suit a woman’s body shape.

The Astro is made of hardwearing Nylon fabrics (Duramax 310-denier Nylon and 840-denier Nylon HD). The base is re-enforced with 1640-denier ballistic Nylon. Super tough.

All in all, the Mont Astro has all the features I look for in a travel pack. It’s a robust, well-designed pack that should hold up to some rough treatment.

Fast facts
  • Brand: Mont (100% Australian-owned company)
  • Capacity: 65 / 70 / 75 litres, plus 22L day pack
  • Style: Travel Pack
  • Weight: 2.9kg pack, 700g day pack, 285g travel pod
  • See Mont Astro product page for more details.

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