We are huge fans of Mission Workshop. They build top-notch, durable and stylish backpacks, shoes and clothing for road warriors and globetrotters. If you want to see their products in person, go check out their store in Los Angeles or San Francisco, which is based in The Mission District (fancy that!)
We purchased a black camo Hauser Hydration backpack in early 2016 for telemark skiing and really fell in love with the product the more we used it. It easily accommodated lots of travel gadgets, as well as water, snacks, sunscreens, gloves, extra equipment, etc. You can clip your helmet and retractable poles (even ski boots) to the outside with the velcro fasteners, or your own carabiners.
Because the travel backpack is very slim when you wear it, it allows your arms tremendous freedom of movement, which is important for telemarking and cross-country skiing. Plus, it’s very lightweight, even when stuffed to the gills.
The Hauser comes in a few different colours, including black and green camo. We purchased the black camo one, which is featured in these photographs.
The Hauser is a hydration backpack and can be purchased according to how many litres of water you want to carry in it, but it isn’t limited to being used this way. The hydration aspect is up to you, as the backpack itself does not contain a water bladder. Instead, it provides a waterproofed compartment for you to but your bladder into and neatly tidies the tube that comes out of it to extend up through the straps to the front, where it’s easy to access when you’re on the go.
There are a number of zippered compartments for all your travel gadgets on the front and sides, plus plenty of places to clip your equipment to with carabiners. The backpack is essentially one long vertical container down your back that’s split into two.
The first area, which is zippered, is where your water bladder goes. Again, you don’t need to use it for this purpose. It’s slim and shallow, though, because that is its intended purpose. It’s a waterproofed area that has some insulation to keep whatever’s inside relatively cooler than the outside. We used it for food that we wanted to preserve, until it was lunchtime.
The second area is a large undivided section that is accessed from the top. From the pictures, you’ll notice that there’s a flap of fabric on the top that can fastened down, like a messenger bag, or furled tightly and clasped, if you need to waterproof the top of the bag to prevent rain and moisture from getting in. When you lift (or unfurl) the top flap, it opens upwards into a long neck. It’s a bit like a sailor’s stuff and carry-all, duffle bag. You’ll have to rummage around with your hand to pluck things out, or dump everything out to get to what’s in the bottom.
There are some zippered compartments on the very outside.
The overall construction of the Hauser backpack is fantastic. This is one tough piece of kit. The canvas has been treated to waterproof it and it really works. We fell down in some pretty heavy snow in the outback and no moisture ever got inside.
There is a nice mesh on the outside of the backpack, the part that comes in contact with your body, to improve breathability and wick off any sweat build-up.
The only complaints we’ve had is that Mission Workshops are frequently out of stock. It seems they do very limited edition runs, according to demand, and they sell through to very few distributors, so you’ll need to check their website and buy from them directly.
Their travel equipment is also quite expensive but you won’t be sorry, because the build-quality is so high.
They do a backpack range called the Arkiv that allows you to purchase different components that easily fasten to the backpack itself, so you can customise it as a modular system. We haven’t tested these yet but would love to! (Mission Workshop, hope you’re listening)
They do nice urban clothing, messenger bike shoes and outback apparel, as well, but these are stratospherically expensive in my opinion. Very stylish, however. To see what I mean, check out their Remi Waterproof Hooded Blazer.
Lately, they’ve been branching out from the outback adventure gear and getting into more urban nomad equipment, such as this Transit Laptop Bag.
Still, you’ll get better value for money and good durability from many of the well known adventure clothing brands out there. And if you do plump down for their clothing, you’ll be one of a select crowd, since these items tend to go out of stock faster than their backpacking equipment.
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