Friday, 17 January 2014

MLD Newt

I've been on the look out for a new day pack for quite some time, last August I thought I'd found the one and ordered a Haglofs Gram Comp 25. I was initially impressed with the Haglofs pack, it appeared well made and I found it comfortable on the one walk I used it, unfortunately on that walk one of the pockets ripped so I returned the pack and started the hunt all over again. After quite a few recommendations via twitter I considered the Osprey Talon 33 but in the end I went with the new version (2013/14) of the Newt pack from Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD), which arrived a week or so ago.

This isn't meant to be a review, just a first look at what will hopefully be a pack that lasts me a good few years. I own a few bits of gear from MLD and the quality has never been anything other than spot on, and happily this pack is no different. 

The pack is made from Dyneema which is very strong and hardwearing so I'm hoping it's going to last. The top closure features 2 press studs which hold the fabric together and then the top is rolled in dry bag fashion and secured to the spectra cord clips which are tied on to one of the loops further down the pack. I like this style of closure as it provides some compression to allow for carrying different loads as well as hopefully keeping some of the weather out. There's a simple hip belt, a haul loop, and a mesh front pocket which has 3 spectra cord loops down each side of it to attach the supplied bungee cord to and that's about it. From what I can see there's been a few minor changes to the pack since its last couple of versions so I thought I'd highlight them here as they don't seem to be clear on the MLD site at the moment. 

First off, as above the front mesh pocket is back. For some reason the previous version of the Newt lost the front pocket which put me off buying one last year, so I'm glad to see that it's back. It's the same non stretch mesh as used on their other packs and I've had no problems with the mesh on my Exodus pack so hopefully this will prove to be the case with the Newt.

Secondly the shoulder straps have a new profile, the photo's on the MLD site still show the previous strap shape (pretty much straight) where as the new straps have a much more pronounced curve to them. As the straps were different to the those shown on the web I contacted Ron at MLD who confirmed that the new Newt and Burn packs come with the curved shoulder straps as they've been found to be more comfortable with smaller packs. Time will tell if this proves to be the case for me.

Another change I've spotted is with the spectra cord connected to the clips for the closure system, this cord is no longer sewn in to the seam at the bottom of the pack. Again this is something that is not shown on the MLD site, it still shows the previous version where this cord was sewn in. Ron has said the reason the cord is no longer sewn in is so it can be tied to one of the 3 side spectre loops, giving a bit of flexibility with the height, and using a little less line. I Think I may have preferred it sewn in but can't see it making any difference either way so hey ho. 

That's about it as far as obvious changes go, I'm sure there's probably been a few more tweaks here and there but from what I can see these are the main changes to the updated pack. 

What's included: MLD Newt pack, MLD sternum strap, bungee cord, cord clips
Capacity: 28 litres (1700ci)
Listed weight: 255g (9oz) listed weight does not inc strap/cord
Weight on my scales: 275g (9.7oz) not inc strap/cord
Weight inc sternum strap and bungee cord: 340g (12oz)
Price: Approx £52 ($85)

All in all I'm very happy with my new pack, the quality of the workmanship is the typical high standard I've come to expect from MLD. I've only used it on one 16km day walk so far this year and I wasn't carrying much so it's not much to go by, but for what it's worth it felt comfortable. I'm looking forward to using this a lot in the coming year, and suspect it might even do me as backpack for overnight trips come the warmer weather :-)

Thanks for reading


As mentioned above this isn't meant to be a review, more of a first look that highlights some of the changes I've noticed to the previous version of the Newt pack, and to what is shown online. I've only had this pack around 2 weeks and used it for one day walk so far. I've no affiliations etc to MLD, just impressed with previous gear from them, this pack was bought with my own pennies.

Specs/features taken from the MLD site:

• All Dyneema X (TM) Construction: 210d Ripstop Nylon and Dyneema plus an extra X pattern overweave for high strength, lightweight and durability. (Much tougher and abrasion resistant than thinner and lower content 140d nylon+dyneema plain weave fabrics.)
• Roll top closure doubles as a compression system to stabilize and compact load. 
• 4oz sq/yd Open Hole non Stretch Mesh. Stronger than stretch mesh twice the weight, easy to field repair, does not absorb water and drains fast and allows contents to dry faster than a tight stretch mesh or solid fabric. Dyneema X elastic top sleeves for long term Durability and elastic replacement.
• Shoulder Straps: 2.5" wide SuperWick Mesh lined with full length foam padding. Short daisy chain to fit pack shoulder pocket options.
• Load Rating: Strong enough for 30+lbs - But 14 - 18lbs is the recommended average max for all day comfort.
• Approx. External Dimensions 11" X 6" X 26" 
• Sized for modern ultra light and SUL equipment. Great as an Apine Attack Style Climbing Pack. 
• Six bungee cord loops use our removable mini fast clip hook system. The mini clips reduce bungee adjustment friction and bungee cord can be clipped/unclipped fast. Clips will not wear though like grossgrain and thin webbing. Hooks and bungee add about 1oz- not included in base weight.
• Removable Multi Position 3/4" Most Awesome Sternum Strap In The World with Black WistleLock Buckle + .5oz not incuded in base weight
• All seams double stitched plus stress points are quadruple stitched or bartacked.
• Haul Loop


  1. its not showing up on their website, so discontinued i guess.
    luckily i got my order in around christmas, so it should be arriving very shortly.

    1. Hi Mike, yes I believe it's now been discontinued and due to be replaced with a redesigned version, no idea when though