The MLD Burn backpack has been around in one variation or another for quite a few years now. Myself, I’ve owned 3 different Burn packs over the years. The first one, I didn’t care for the small padded wings on the hipbelt. Second one, I got with a removable webbing hipbelt but then found the shoulder straps to not be all that comfortable. The biggest reason I decided to give the Burn a third chance is the shoulder strap design changed a while back to more of a gradual “S” shape as opposed to the former straight/J style. I’ve found with regard to shoulder straps, I much prefer a mellow “S” shape over the traditional “J” shape or even an aggressive/dramatic “S” shape. This newer style shoulder strap on the Burn is really dialed in and I find them very comfortable. And of course, I ordered with a removable 1” webbing hipbelt. In addition to the shoulder straps, I was also sold on the dry bag style top closure, which I prefer to the older cinch top closure and the new partially reinforced pockets. And don’t even get me started on the wasabi . . . that is a sweet, sweet fabric color for a pack. I really like it.
While I like a dry bag style roll top closure, I also like a top strap to keep things snug. The Burn has both and that makes me happy. My Burn has a single ¾” top strap but I think they are now being made with a narrower 10mm “Y” top strap. If you have a preference, you may want to double check with MLD before ordering. Personally, I could go either way, I suppose the “Y” strap would be better at securing something like a rolled up sleeping pad or even a bear can (of which I would never carry on the top of my pack but I’ve seen it done).
Volume breakdown from the MLD website:
Pack body: 1500ci (24.6L)
Main Outside Pocket: 200ci (3.3L)
Side Pockets: 150ci + 150ci (4.9L)
Extension Collar: 300ci (4.9L)
Total: 2300ci (37.7 or 38L)
Now 38 liters may seem like a lot but that number is a bit deceiving because it includes everything. There’s no doubt about it, this is a fairly small pack and a note of caution to anyone considering this pack for more than a daypack or overnight/weekend pack, you need to have your gear down to a fairly small volume. As far as weight carrying ability, depending on what you can tolerate, 25 pounds is probably max. But if you can fit your gear into a pack this size, you probably aren’t going to hit that weight unless you have a lot of food and water.
Advertised weight for a stock pack, not including sternum strap is 335 grams (11.75oz). My size medium (as pictured) including sternum strap but not including webbing belt is 296 grams (10.4oz).
External dimensions of this pack are roughly 26″ tall x 6″ deep x 10″ wide. The gives the pack a narrower/taller profile than a lot of the other packs in this liter range. I find these dimensions preferable to a shorter/wider pack.
There is a total of 12 attachment points on the pack which consist of a web loop with 7mm glide ring. These can be used with cordage or shock cord for a variety of lashing or compression points. I actually prefer the simplicity of not having all that but it’s nice to have the option. I can see maybe attaching an upper and lower loop for securing a trekking pole but I’ve never been a fan of shock cord running all around the outside of a pack. If I need to secure that much stuff to the outside of my pack, I just need to get a larger pack.
The newer style Burn includes front and side pockets which are a hybrid combination of Dyneema X and mesh. The mesh MLD uses is pretty burly, some of the toughest pocket mesh I’ve used but adding the Dyneema X reinforcement to the areas they did makes a lot of sense. When I’m carrying a lot of water, I like to put Evernew bladders in the large front pocket and having the bottom reinforced is going to help prevent holes in the mesh and also help protect the bottoms of the bladders. The Dyneema X on the side pockets should help prevent some of the snags from bushwhacking or overgrown trails.
Yes, that is a big extension collar.
The extension collar is generous, to say the least. MLD specs the collar at 300 cubic inches. It is made with 70D silicone coated ripstop nylon. The opening closes with two nylon snaps (or popper’s as Tony Hobbs would say) and once rolled down dry bag style, is secured again with a buckle.
If you are interested in reading more details about some of the fabrics used in this pack, head over to the MLD fabric mojo page for more detailed info.
This photo gives you a good perspective of the subtle “S” curve of the shoulder straps which I was referring to earlier. The shoulder straps are considered unisex and are 3” wide and 5/8” thick. The padding is 0.5” thick EVA foam and the back of the straps are made with SuperWick mesh (1/8″ thick). These are very well designed and I can’t stress enough how comfortable they are.
Haul loop is included as well as full length 3/4″ daisy chain for attaching gear/water bottle pockets, etc.
According to Ron at MLD, this is in fact the most awesome sternum strap in the world. Who am I to argue with that?
Here is a close up of the attachment point for the removable one inch webbing hipbelt. This was a custom feature, the stock burn comes with a 1” hipbelt which has small unpadded Dyneema X wings. Check out the photos on the product page and you’ll see what I am talking about.
As mentioned, I have owned two other variations of the Burn and just wasn’t satisfied with either of them. This latest generation however, is proving to meet all my expectations from a pack this size as well as addressing my former complaints. The only thing I can think of right now which I would change if I ordered again would be to have the side pockets made with solid Dyneema X, no mesh. There’s nothing wrong with the current design, solid side pockets are just a personal preference. Oh, and I would ditch the hydration port. I don’t use a hydration bladder so that is just an unnecessary hole in the side of my pack. Other than that, this generation of the Burn really is an exceptionally well thought out, well made, bomber little pack. And as with all MLD products, the quality and attention to detail is second to none and a strong reminder why MLD is at the top of cottage manufactured ultralight gear. A bold statement for sure, but anyone who owns or has owned MLD gear knows what I’m talking about.
*Note: the pack is also available in stealth gray, in case the wasabi is just not your thing.