- Buyer's Guide
If you’ve hung around Carryology long enough, you’ll know we’re huge fans of EVERGOODS. We’ve now collaborated with them three times, and we believe that they are home to some of the most innovative and thoughtful bag designs in the market. Today, we dive into their newest offering, the Mountain Panel Loader 22 (MPL22).
Who it’s for
If you’re an active person, who’s looking for a new daypack that can pull double duty, this could be for you. Featuring upgrades that have elevated the rest of the EVERGOODS line, the MPL22 is a versatile and trustworthy pack. If you’re a big fan of its older sibling the MPL30 and are looking for something a little smaller and more nimble, this is for you.
Who it’s not
EDC or tech focused? While the MPL can perform those tasks well, it is definitively an active pack instead of a commuter pack so might not be best suited to those looking for laptop storage and EDC features.
As we’ve come to expect from the team at EVERGOODS HQ, every aspect of the MPL22 is fantastically constructed. From arguably the best water bottle pockets in the game, to the new front pockets that have *just* the right amount of volume for what’s needed. The outer shell is their much loved solution dyed 420d High Tenacity Nylon (with a water repellent PU coating) and can handle pretty much anything, save a torrential long lasting downpour.
My wife and I have used this on a very rainy trip to the UK and nothing inside was wet as we bounced around town ducking in and out of different pubs and shops. Internally you’ll find the EVERGOODS grey 210d liner, while the back panel has been upgraded with their magnificently breathable design, and is one of the most comfortable I’ve found on a bag. Two new pockets, a removable waist belt and sternum strap round out this bag at an almost unbelievable 2lbs. That’s right. Two. Pounds.
I’m not entirely sure how the MPL22 manages to combine almost all of the much loved features from EVERGOODS lineup into one nimble lightweight beast, but it does. And boy oh boy, it’s a joy to use. This is the EVERGOODS bag I didn’t know I needed, and I would argue, perhaps their most versatile bag yet.
Now I should confess that I have a deep love affair with the MPL30, more specifically, the Signal Blue V2 which is one of my all time favourite bags, particularly for big hikes or even short travel. However, it is a larger bag, and if you’re looking for a quick jaunt out and about, or just carrying a smaller load then a 30 litre bag will be far too big.
When I first saw the prototype at Evergoods HQ, I was buzzing. The new pocket placement, the weight, the back panel! Now, after 4 weeks of use, I’m ready to sing its praises as one of the best value for money backpacks you can buy right now.
The MPL22 is a Goldilocks bag. Not too big, not too small, but just right. It can handle a decent amount of gear for a day on the trail but without being overbearing. The new pocketing is a fantastic addition to the MPL DNA, in particular the front pockets. These two pockets essentially separate the front of the bag in a two thirds to one third configuration. These pockets are the only part of the bag that is unlined, which hasn’t been a problem for how I use them, but your milage may vary.
The ‘one third’ lid pocket has become the defacto spot for keys (with the key leash), wallet, headlamp, pack cover and other accoutrement. The ‘two thirds’ pocket is my favourite spot for my full size rain shell, it happily houses my men’s large hardshell and is easy to grab on the move.
The world’s best water bottle pockets sit astride the main panel opening, and can hold large insulated water bottles (I use a 36oz no problem) and could comfortably be used for other quick grab items such as first aid kits, bear spray, tripods, and of course EVERGOODS own organisers. As always, these pockets sit tight to the bag when not in use. I really love this feature for keeping my bag not only looking great, but avoiding any potential catches/snags when on the move.
Internally, if you’ve used an EVERGOODS bag before you’ll recognise the panel organisation with one horizontally opening security pocket up top (fits an iPhone 15 Pro Max like a dream) and one vertically opening mesh pocket below that. This is a great spot for items like snacks, hats, gloves, books and the like.
You’ll also find the stretch woven sleeve on the back wall which can either be used for hydration port in hiking mode, or a tablet/laptop in EDC mode. It’s snug and secure and whatever you’re putting in there carries very well on your back. That sleeve is the epitome of EVERGOODS design, clean, simple and supremely functional.
I spoke of versatility, and that’s because this bag can quite literally do it all. I’ve been using this just shy of four weeks now and so far it has been a hiking bag, a gym bag, a nappy/diaper bag, a camera bag, and an EDC bag. It has performed all tasks with great aplomb, and I mean that. It hasn’t *just about worked* its excelled in each.
As a hiking bag (by design) it is comfortable, nimble, and tough. It carries well on your back, the back panel breathes no matter how hard you’re pushing, and thanks to the 22L size, you can grab anything you need quickly. The waist strap is easily removable via the webbing loop. I’ve been using it without the belt out of personal preference on a smaller bag, but just like its older sibling, it provides great stability when engaged for those more active/treacherous moments. Its 22L size holds more than enough gear for two adults on a half/full day hike. I’ve carried insulating layers, first aid kit, snacks and water for both my wife and I with no problem.
As a gym bag it opens easily to access a change of clothes and has room for two water bottles/shakers, with pockets for all the supplements/snacks you need. For those with little humans it has pockets for all the toys, snacks, and bottles that you need while the panel opening makes it easy to operate and find what you need in crisis/blow out mode. When shooting with this bag, you can comfortably fit a small/medium camera cube in the main compartment and have quick access, while the water bottle pockets can hold a Peak Design Travel Tripod. If you’re going to take this to the office, the back sleeve holds my 14” MacBook Pro and 12’9” MacBook Pro in tandem easily, and you can stack two CAP2’s and a CAP1 in the main compartment for all of your accessories.
It carries equally well whether it is stuffed to the gills or sporting a light load out, and even at its max capacity it is very balanced. With it being a smaller bag, there is no floppy fabric when it isn’t fully loaded, the panel loader construction keeps it neat and tidy either way. Oh and did I mention that it packs into the laptop sleeve of their CTB26? Because it does. This is also an excellent candidate for travel because it can pack so small and light within another bag. If you want to compress even further, you can take out the foam frame sheet!
With all that said, for $199, I’m not sure you can do much better in the 22L range. While it may lack some of the dedicated travel and every day features of EVERGOODS other products, it more than makes up for it with its best in class comfort, exceptional versatility, and lightweight carry. This is the gateway bag you should be suggesting or giving to budding Carryologists, it is a near perfect small backpack, it’s hard to find a fault. So if you, or anyone you know, is looking for a “do it all” bag with the chops to tackle day long ascents and office commutes with equal success, the MPL22 might just be the one.