Five years ago, I never would have believed that I could swing an overnight trip with just a 28-liter pack. I was content to lug around my 65-liter Osprey and fill it with all kinds of things I didn’t need. Moving toward an ultralight setup allows me to hike faster with less effort.
The Waymark Mile 28L Pack is designed for backpackers who want to go fast and light, or for day hikers who require a bit of extra gear. It easily transitions between these two worlds. A roll-top closure and compression strap help the pack expand and compress, as needed. Additionally, in between outdoor adventures, it can be used for commuting or travel.
Weight: 16 oz
Capacity: 28 liters total / 22 liters excluding exterior pockets
Dimensions: 11” wide x 5” deep x 25.5” tall fully unrolled
Best uses: Long day-hikes, ultralight overnight trips, commuting
Circumstances of Review
I’ve used this pack over the past few months for a variety of different activities. I’ve done a couple of day hikes, some backcountry ski tours, one ultralight overnight trip, and a couple of plane rides, all with the Waymark Mile 28 liter pack. I’m extremely impressed with its versatility for its weight. It has a surprisingly high amount of useful features that come in handy for all of these activities.
Large lycra outer pocket and zippered front pocket: A large outer pocket is a key feature for me. I typically store extra layers, food, and essentials there, so I can access them easily and quickly. The stretchy lycra expands to accommodate a lightweight extra layer, like a puffy jacket, while the zippered front pocket is perfect for essentials, like sunglasses, a water filter, sunscreen, and other smaller items that could easily slip out of an open pocket.
My Favorite Features
EcoPak Construction: The materials used on this pack are arguably the most sustainable fabrics in the outdoor industry. The EcoPak material uses 100% recycled yarns while still resisting water and sun bleaching. Though I would bring a rain cover and/or line the pack in a downpour, I’ve taken this pack through a drizzle and also dumped it in the snow plenty of times. The EcoPak material beads moisture incredibly well, and water has not yet permeated through the pack.
Foam core back panel: For a frameless backpack, this offers a decent amount of support. I wouldn’t want to push 25+ pounds, but this pack carries lightweight loads very comfortably. The back panel also helps to keep sharp or bulky objects from creating uncomfortable pressure points in your back.
Roll-top closure with top compression strap: The two of these work together to tighten and secure the top of the large internal pocket. When I’m carrying a smaller load, I love this because it really shortens up the backpack. Conversely, with an overnight setup, the top compression strap adds a layer of security, when the roll top isn’t closed as tightly.
Large side pockets and one chest pocket: The big side pockets are stretchy enough to accommodate any size water bottle, and have cords at the top to secure taller items like tent poles. I absolutely love the chest pocket to keep either a smaller water bottle or snacks. It’s been perfect for fuel in the winter months, when I really don’t want to stop in order to get something out of my pack.
What Will I Use it For?
This pack has been amazing for anything where I’m traveling light and fast. I’ve found it most useful for backcountry skiing, ultralight overnight hikes, and traveling. In the winter months, I don’t typically do many all-day hikes, so I haven’t found as much use there, but I anticipate when summer hits, it will be my go-to bag for long days in the mountains.
This is truly a fastpacking pack. You don’t have room for anything other than the essentials, and it’s not built to comfortably carry more than 20-25 pounds. I’ve only tested it for a quick overnight, but I imagine it would be perfect for an extended fastpacking trip, where your gear list is really stripped down. Also, I would totally take this on a trek, where less gear is required, like the Camino de Santiago or a Haute route in Europe.
When using this backpacking, I always paired it with extra accessories. The hipbelt is just a thin strap with a buckle, so it screams fanny pack. Adding a large fanny pack to store essentials and snacks really helps add space to this setup.
Also, if you add another shoulder strap to store water, you can use the large side pockets for a shelter, and give yourself more room in the main compartment. I’m really excited to use this pack next summer for all of the overnight trips I do in the Wasatch. I love to hike into lakes, camp overnight, and then do long one-day runs from there. This pack has the perfect amount of space for a warm, summer overnight trip.
What I Love (Pros)
Pockets. The amount of pockets on the outside of this pack make it so you can carry extra layers, shelter pieces, trekking poles, and/ or other gear, all with ease. This has been really nice in the winter when I’m conscientious about how much time I spend not moving. It’s been great to be able to keep a beanie, my puffy, mittens and water all quickly within arm’s reach.
Overall design. The Mile 28L pack is extremely well thought out. Though, at first, it may look like a normal day-hiking pack, it’s easy to tell that the features are geared toward ultralight backpacking. Large outer pockets paired with a smaller body make for a pack that can grow outward with gear, as opposed to up. This is great for backpackers and fastpackers who want to move quickly while keeping their weight centered.
Versatility. In the last couple of months, I’ve been able to use this pack for most of my adventures, whether they’re outdoors or via plane. Though its features are all geared toward outdoor activity, it has a really clean look and works well for commuting and traveling.
Shoulder straps. The shoulder straps are surprisingly well padded for such a lightweight pack. Also, the strap and buckle across the sternum has an elastic adjuster so it fits perfectly without having to do much tinkering.
Not My Favorite… (Cons)
Extremely minimal hipbelt. This is 100% a personal preference, and I like more padded hip belts, even on ultralight packs. I find the weight trade-off is worth it for me, in how padded hip belts help carry the load.
Shorter side pockets. The side pockets for water bottles, tent poles, etc. are a bit short on this pack. I definitely have to tighten down the shock chords really thoroughly to feel like my gear will be secure in the side pockets.
Waymark Mile 28L Backpack Overall Impressions
Overall, I’m extremely impressed with this backpack. I was initially skeptical about its size and wondered whether it could handle a full overnight setup; but the features make it easy for backpackers who want to go fast and light. The roll-top closure allows it to easily compress and expand, accommodating varying loads and making the Waymark Mile 28 a great all-around pack. I’m excited to continue to use it for backcountry skiing and long winter day hikes, and it will be absolutely perfect for my weekly summer overnight trips in the Wasatch.
MILE 28L Backpack by Waymark Gear Co.
Katie is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. When she's not behind her laptop, you can find her guzzling instant coffee in the backcountry or developing a new and expensive outdoor hobby. To see her adventures and occasional long rambles, follow her on Instagram @katelyn_ali
Good review, Katie!
I really think that a pack of this size is quite useful for a multitude of tasks. As long as a person is mindful of packing based on needs rather than wants, I’m fairly certain that pack will meet the criteria for a short duration trip. While I’m not currently in the market for another pack of this size, I believe that you’ve done a good job of evaluating the product for others to consider. Keep up the good work!
Regards, Midwest Mike