2020 Tour Waistpack: Use Your Hips, Not Your Back

Built on a legacy of outdoor gear and accessories, the 2020 Tour is the newest version to one of the most popular lower lumbar waist packs offered by Mountainsmith. The 2020 Tour comes in varying sizes, to fit the individual’s needs on the trail, but all versions offer the beneficial features built on the pack’s 40+ year evolution that make it ideal for the many miles one will obviously travel with it.

Made from an overall 420D Oxford Nylon material, this weave blend gives the 2020 Tour the needed flexibility to be both durable as well as dynamic enough to meet the needs of the user. And while the Tour comes in several sizes, the most popular is the 11.5″ (L) x 10″ (H) x 5″ (W) variant with approximately 9L of overall storage space (featured).


At the front is a four-point compression attachment system that is intended to hold fleece jackets, blankets, or other bulkier items. The top two points of the system are ABS plastic toggle buttons that allow for adjusting the 4” of shock cord on either side. This The idea being that the four-point compression attachment system can hold bulkier items against the front body of the Tour itself. On the front flap of the compression attachment system are four nylon bands (one in each corner) for attaching carabiner rings or other attachment items.

On the front of the 2020 Tour and just above the compression attachment system is a thick 10” YKK zipper that opens into a 12” (L) x 8” (H) accessory pouch with a key lanyard. The pull-tab to the YKK zipper itself includes a band of nylon with a rubberized endpoint for more tactile feel and secure pull.

On either side of the 2020 Tour is a mesh and elastic sleeve for up to 32oz. drinking bottles with an adjustable cinch band of shock cord on the top. The mesh material is ideal for drinking bottles to assist in the evaporation of excess/spilled moisture or other condensation.

Continuing from its points on the front and side are four adjustment straps (two per side) that adjust the tension and width of the 2020 Tour to the waist belt itself.

The waist belt consists of a 7” (L) YKK zippered pouch on the right side, and a 5.5” (L) mesh pocket on the left with an elastic band opening. Both pockets are large enough to accommodate plus-sized cellphones or other electronics and immediate-need items.

The interior of the waist belt consists of 1” open-cell foam padding with a mesh fabric for maximum breathability against the body. The waist belt material runs behind, and attaches to the 2020 Tour by, a semi-rigid and contoured closed-cell EVA pad that allows for FreeFlow air passage when against the body and improve air flow.

The waist belt secures with an ABS plastic slide-release buckle, and has 12” of adjustable length on either side to account for between 28” to 48” waistlines. When not in use, the waistband can be stowed behind the semi-rigid, contoured closed-cell pad.

On the backpanel of the 2020 Tour is a pass-through slot near the top for headphones or hydration tube, and two ABS plastic buckles for use with the optional shoulder strap (included) when carried in that desired function. Between the backpanel and semi-rigid and contoured closed-cell EVA pad for the waist belt is a 8.5” (L) stash pocket that can be used for storing a variety of flat items.

Along the top of the 2020 Tour is a thick 16” YKK zipper with similar nylon and rubberized endpoint as the front zipper. This zipper runs along the entire length of the top and both sides for maximum access into the main interior storage space. On either side of the zipper is a carrying handle that allows the 2020 Tour to be hand carried as a pouch or handbag when desired.


The main storage space for the 2020 Tour is divided into two 210D nylon sections thanks to a foam divider panel that runs the length of the interior. On the inner-facing side is a 11” pocket for a horizontal hydration bladder or electronics, with the pass-through slot at the top. This pocket also has an internal foam pad between the pocket and the bag’s exterior to prevent transfer of heat or moisture.

Oppositely, is a 11.5” (L) x 10” (H) x 3” (W) open storage space for a variety of items, while on the outward-facing side is a small 9” (L) zippered pouch.

The 2020 Tour is available in Black (featured), Rust Brown (featured), Moss Green, and Asphalt Grey.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): At an MSRP of $79.95, the 2020 Tour is a continuation of Mountainsmith’s longstanding tradition of producing quality, light, and functional trail gear. The Tour uses nylon materials with a low denier rating that offers fair abrasion resistance while giving excellent flexibility. The Tour is also available in a Small (with 6L of storage for $74.95) and a Day (with 13L of storage for $89.95) configuration that allows the consumer to choose which is best for their needs. In contrast, other market alternatives include the Ripstop Nylon Waist Pack ($175) with 10L of storage by Filson, the Talon 6 ($75) with 6L of storage by Osprey, or the Nine Trails Waistpack ($119) with 8L of storage by Patagonia. This gives the 2020 Tour a good price value for its materials, design, and overall size variations to meet any demand on the trail.
  • Comfort – Average (3/5): The 2020 Tour took a little adjusting to get a proper fit, but when properly sized to sit at the lower lumbar, just above the belt line, it was of an appropriate (or average) comfort on the trails. The waist belt proved to give comfortable support around the hips, and the ABS buckle felt secure regardless of the weight to the contents. Overtime however, the weight of the pack while worn on rough or more dynamic trails did pull and fatigue the hips to a notable degree. The larger YKK zippers moved very smoothly and the oversized pull tabs made grasping them easy and comfortable. Likewise, while worn in the shoulder bag configuration, the shoulder strap itself had good padding and made over-the-shoulder carry comfortable. The one notable negative aspect observed was that when carried by the handles in the handbag configuration, the nylon straps became uncomfortable if the bag was heavily loaded. A suggestion for improvement to Mountainsmith would be to make the handles thicker or more rounded (such as inserting a rubberized tube inside the handles) that would make the handles more contoured to fit in the hand.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): From a durability aspect, the exterior of the 2020 Tour was made from a flexible 420D nylon blend that started to show signs of exterior wear after just a few hikes and abrasion against some granite trail rocks. This is likely normal, but the use of a higher denier nylon, such as 500D Cordura as commonly found in many tactical accessories, would make the material for more durable. A recommendation to Mountainsmith on a suitable “middle road” would be to reinforce the bottom of the 2020 Tour with a higher denier or rubberized material as that is what will experience the most abrasion. This would also have the added benefit of giving the bag some structure while still being flexible enough to fold flat. Otherwise reinforcement stitching; such as bartack, double-line, and X-pattern threading was noted throughout for added strength. Another notable suggestion to Mountainsmith would be to find a more robust slide-release buckle for the waist belt, as the current one (although remained secure while worn) felt frail.
  • Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally; while primary worn as a waist belt and when fully loaded, the 2020 Tour did sit comfortably around the waist due to its robust padding. But over time (several hours) and distance (5mi+) that weight (and the waist belt) of the 2020 Tour did fatigue the hips. It was observed that the weight of contents was somewhat extensive, it often caused the top of the 2020 Tour to sag and thereby further pull on the waist belt. The alternative was to utilize the shoulder strap for over-shoulder carry for light trail hikes, but then the weight pulled disproportionately to one side of the upper torso (i.e. via the shoulder). For the lightest work, the handle carry was the most comfortable over shorter distances, but even then the nylon handles did dig into the hands. On a number of occasions, while sitting, the 32oz. Nalgene water bottle did get pushed out of the mesh pocket and fall on the trail due to pressure applied by rocks or other objects up from the bottom. This was likely due to the cinch drawstring not being up high enough to tightly grip above the shoulder of the bottle and secure it. A 32oz. Nalgene water bottle did max out the circumference of the mesh pocket so it is likely a smaller sized bottle may resolve that issue. A positive note was the high-visibility color of the interior made it remarkably easy to identify even the smallest items when looking through the contents of the main storage compartment. The thick YKK zippers moved easily, quietly, and smoothly while the wide pull tabs made it very easy to hold. Some suggestions for Mountainsmith to consider for future designs would be the integration of hardware along the waist belt that would enable for the attachment of an optional shoulder harness to further (and evenly) distribute the weight across the shoulders and hips. Moreover, integrating a rubber tubing or some type of material into the carrying handles would give it some roundness to fit more comfortably inside the hand. Lastly, Mountainsmith may want to consider adding hook-and-loop material along one side of the internal divider, so as to allow for the attachment of various pouches, patches, or other accessories that would aid in further compartmentalization of contents, should the end user desire it so.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): At an empty weight of just 28 ounces, the 2020 Tour with its 9L of storage space was very lightweight due to its flexible and thin nylon material. This afforded the waist pack very good breathability and support. Once items were added to the main storage compartment or two water bottle pockets, that weight then was distributed along the waist belt, shoulder strap, or handles based on its carry configuration. There was however, a finite amount of weight that could be added, as the 2020 Tour was only intended to hold a fixed volume of contents for a single day’s hike. In contrast, the Ripstop Nylon Waist Pack (17.6 ounces) with 10L of storage by Filson, the Talon 6 (11.8 ounces) with 6L of storage by Osprey, or the Nine Trails Waistpack (13.4 ounces) with 8L of storage by Patagonia illustrated how lightweight nylons are commonplace in these products, but with its added padding and hardware the 2020 Tour was of appropriate (or average) weight.

Overall Rating – Average (16/25)

Product Link: https://mountainsmith.com/2020-tour-lumbar.html

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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