Rated 4.3 out of 5 by 3
Rated 4 out of 5 by Cary Great Pack!
I've tried several high-end packs over the years trying to find a pack that fits my frame and can comfortably carry 40lbs. Most of the packs I've tried just don't stay in place (I've got no hips or butt!) or can handle the weight.
I purchased this pack because the design seemed to make sense and would solve my problem. My first trip was 33 Miles on the Florida Trail this past December. I was carrying 38lbs at the beginning and after shedding food and water, finished up around 32lbs.
The pack performed flawlessly. It was extremely comfortable, gave me great balance and confidence and stayed in place on 11-mile days. I also discovered the pack is practically waterproof. After loosing my footing on a moss-covered footbridge, I ended up chin deep in a creek. After hauling myself out (and repairing my pride) I opened the pack to find almost NO water had entered the pack!!! Impressive!
Also, other pack manufacturers are very liberal with their stated pack volumes and most are smaller than advertised. This pack is a large 65 liters. I had room to spare with all of my winter gear, food and water.
My only negative, and the reason I gave the pack 4-stars instead of 5, is the pack showed some wear after just one trip. There were a couple of places along the hip belt that had been warn from the swing-arm shoulder straps rubbing against it. I fixed this with a little ShoeGoo. It should be fine.
I've gone on a couple of shorter trips since and it performed equally well.
I would recommend this pack to someone looking for comfort and large capacity.
March 11, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by Matthew A near perfect backpack
A very well built backpack.
I've tried many different backpacks through the years and I think this Black Diamond pack is on to something with its new design.
The pack is comfortable and allows for added mobility while you walk. I tried out several other quality backpacks before deciding on the BD Mercury. I found this pack allowed me to feel so much more unencumbered when walking.
Since the lower portion of the pack rotates on a single joint the pack can easily move side to side with your body as you walk or climb. Putting on the pack for the first time reminded me of getting on a bike for the first time as it easily shifted its weight side to side as you moved. I used the side straps (a great feature!) to help limit the side to side movement and found the perfect feel for both stability and mobility.
Overall a much more comfortable pack than others on the market and competitive in pricing. There is only one other product out there that has a similar feature, but its nearly twice the cost.
Other nice features that I love about this design is its simplicity. I can't stand straps and clips all over the place that you find on many new packs these days. Its good to have a few necessary straps, but too many gizmos just creates confusion. I had a large 85L competitor backpack that I gave up on because getting into the pack was like trying to untie a knot.
This pack has two sealed zippered pockets that are easily accessible and allow you access to the pack interior...a must have for any back pack. It also has straps to allow you to compress the pack...another must have for me.
I'd give it 5 stars if the not for the following:
1. I would prefer the padded part of the hip belt to be slightly larger, stiffer, and able to be molded to fit. If I could add this feature it would be the perfect pack for me. The straps on the front of the Mercury were 1 inch nylon whereas most other designs use 1.5 inch, which I find more sturdy and comfortable.
Also, since the pack does move more, your shoulders straps will bear some of this movement, whereas other packs have less stress on the shoulder straps.
2. It also would be nice to have the hydration pouch accessible outside of the pack's interior - my other pack allows for the bladder to slide down between your back harness and the back of the pack. This allows you to avoid reshuffling all the contents in your pack when refilling your water bladder.
I wish it was easier to find these in retail stores. I had to drive 35 miles to a retailer to try it out.
Overall an impressive backpack. Thank you BD.
June 21, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5
by ChrisS The Best! ...but with room for improvement
I LOVE this pack. My Mercury 65 floated my gear from camp to camp on several hikes in BC's southern interior mountains summer 2012. When I go pack to a pack with a static hipbelt and shoulder straps, I feel like I'm in a straight jacket!
Here are my ideas for improvements:
-The hipbelt pockets, or at least the bottom half below the zipper, should be made of stretchy material. In the current configuration I can barely fit more than a Clif bar and I'd like to be able to stash a GPS or the like in there.
-I had to exchange the first Mercury I bought due to zipper issues and a problem with the cable linking the shoulder straps coming off its track, causing it to make noise and not slide smoothly.
-Finally, the water bottle/side stash pockets, while successfully minimalistic, make it difficult to remove a bottle while wearing the pack (packed full) and impossible to reinsert it. They are very stretchy, accommodating various bottle sizes and yet never allow a bottle to fall out, but when I needed my hiking partner's help every time I needed a drink I couldn't help but wish for a more elaborate design (and yes, I do use a hydration bladder with great success, but bottle access is important too).
Great job Black Diamond on the best pack I've ever tried! (vs. Osprey, Gregory, Deuter... the new Arc'teryx packs come close) - That said, I'd love to upgrade if any improvements to the design are made!
May 14, 2013