Mountainsmith Develops Trailblazing Zerk 40L Fastpack

Active Gear Review is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Mountainsmith, craftsmen of iconic backcountry equipment and recreational outdoor gear has created the ultimate thru-hiking pack co-designed with elite long distance hiker, The Real Hiking Viking, aka Thomas Gathman. Mountainsmith and Gathman drew inspiration from the ultra running, backpacking, and the fastpacking worlds to create the Zerk 40.

The combination of Mountainsmith’s expertise, Gathman’s vision and his on-the-ground experience hiking more than 12,500 miles of trail brought the Zerk 40 to life. The pack is extremely lightweight, durable, and packed with the tricks of the trade and features that Gatham says are essential to speed and efficiency on the trail.

“I can go longer without needing to take the pack off my back. It’s such a simple thing, but the time and energy I save over the thousands of miles that I’m on the trail adds up quickly.” Commented Gathman, “All of the features were intentionally dialed and tested to keep everything I need in arm’s reach while moving at a pace of 30, 40 or 50 miles a day.”

Beyond the line-up of quick access pockets and lashing points, the pack offers an unbeatable strength to weight ratio; it utilizes Spectra® fiber, which pound for pound is 15 times stronger than steel, yet incredibly light. At the same time, the pack is extremely comfortable as the shoulder straps disperse heavier than normal loads, and the padding maximizes comfort and breathability while minimizing abrasion. Lastly, the removable interior laser cut frame sheet and back panel mesh allow for ultimate airflow, breathability and resistance to chafing.

“We have always dedicated ourselves to building durable, function-first gear and we have a long history of working with elite outdoors people to inspire design.” Remarked Jay Getzel, President, Mountainsmith, “With The Real Hiking Viking we were able to open a conduit into the thru-hiking community to develop a pack unlike anything we’ve seen on the market.”

Mountainsmith has launched the Zerk 40 through a crowdsourcing campaign to allow them to work directly with thru hikers and deliver a pack outside the normal tradeshow, preseason and Q1 delivery cycle. The campaign gives the brand the flexibility of taking extra time needed to test and refine the pack in time for the kickoff to the thru-hiking season.

To support the campaign, order a pack and learn more about the Zerk 40, click here. For more information on Mountainsmith and their products, visit for more information on The Real Hiking Viking, visit

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.
Related Post

This website uses cookies.