Mountainsmith Spectrum Camera Backpack Review

Mountainsmith Spectrum Front View

The Mountainsmith Spectrum camera backpack retails for $129.95 from the Mountainsmith website.

I’ve used this backpack for the majority of my backpacking needs. I love that you can now carry your laptop and camera in the same pack instead of carrying around different packs for each.

The backpack comes with a zippered laptop compartment, main compartment, and zippered camera section. Each one of these compartments is entirely separate from each other. There are also two smaller compartments, both zippered, the larger of the two offering areas for keeping smaller items compartmentalized. There is an additional very small pocket on the front of the bag. It’s the perfect size for my laptop mouse. This backpack serves very nicely as a traditional backpack that can also carry your digital SLR and a few lenses.

I wouldn’t recommend it as your main camera pack since the camera area is relatively small, but I would certainly recommend it on trips where you only want to carry one bag to fit your laptop and camera gear.

I carry my Nikon D90 often in this backpack. I wouldn’t suggest carrying a larger camera because even mine gets a little tricky to remove from the camera pouch at times. Most entry level and “Prosumer” DSLR’s will fit just fine.

The backpack is very well constructed. The carrying handle has this rubber piece for handling when the packs not on your back. It feels very strong and durable, as well as comfortable on your hands.

Mountainsmith Spectrum Zipper Mountainsmith Spectrum Main Compartment Mountainsmith Spectrum Camera Area Mountainsmith Spectrum Handle

The only negative I can find with the backpack is that the camera area is also what comes in contact with the ground when you set it down, since it is located at the very bottom of the bag. The camera area is well padded so this may not be an issue, but I sometimes cringe when someone sets it down heavily, not realizing my camera is in the bottom.

It would be nice if the main area of the backpack came with a few dividers or pockets inside. It’s a rather large area which I only use for clothes or a few power cables as it can become a rats nest of tangled cords otherwise. A few additional pockets lining the inside of this section would help, but I’m a stickler for multiple pockets.

One great feature of this backpack is the weather sealed zipper of the laptop compartment. This is a little extra insurance that your laptop will stay dry if you’re caught in a downpour. I’ve had this backpack drenched before and the inside remained bone dry.


  • Ability to store your laptop and camera in the same bag
  • Weather resistant material and zipper
  • Well built construction from recycled materials


  • Removing your camera from the camera section can be cumbersome
  • Main compartment has no dividers

All in all, I would recommend the Mountainsmith Spectrum pack to anyone looking to consolidate multiple bags into one well made and durable pack. The ability to have your laptop and camera in one pack makes this bag ideal.

Mountainsmith Spectrum Camera Backpack
April 13, 2013
9/10 stars
The Mountainsmith Spectrum Camera Backpack works well as bag to hold both your camera, laptop, and a few lenses and accessories.

Ken wrote:

I've had this backpack for over two years now and it still looks like it did the day I bought it. This is certainly a well made backpack that has stood the test of time.

The zipper still works well. There is no fraying of any of the seams, nor are there any tears in the material, and I haven't been exactly nice to this bag. I certainly recommend it.

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