First Impressions

Back in the 1970s, Mountainsmith got its start with a unique focus on lumbar packs, products aimed to fit in the small of the back. The company continues to innovate in that area with general purpose products and those for specialized applications like photography. The Swift FX is the smallest of Mountainsmith’s offerings in the photography category at 275 cubic inches of carrying capacity. But despite its relatively small size, it fits a lot into a deceivingly compact package.


The Mountainsmith Swift FX boasts a range of features, special carrying compartments and options. Starting with the waist belt, Mountainsmith did it right with nice padding across the back, and an integrated pocket on the right hip for small items like keys or credit cards. The belt has multiple adjustments to refine how the Swift FX carries the load. There’s also a detachable shoulder strap in case you prefer that method of transport.

Dimensions: 8.5 in x 5.75 in x 8.25 in
Volume: 275 cu in
Weight: 1 lb 4 oz
Material: 450 denier nylon (100% recycled)

The main compartment is lined in bright yellow (a Mountainsmith signature) with soft loop sides. Two removable dividers create three sub-compartments – the central can hold a body with lens, and the two sides can hold additional lenses including larger zooms. I was able to easily fit a Micro 43 body and lenses in the Swift FX.

The Swift FX includes three additional compartments on the exterior of the bag. The first is a hard-sided pouch with zippered, color-coded pockets for SD cards and USB drives, and a lanyard for keys. The second is located between that outer hard-sided pouch and the main compartment. It’s an elastic stash pocket that’s large enough for a hat, gloves or lightweight jacket. And the third is a mesh pocket for carrying a water bottle.


The Mountainsmith Swift FX is a very comfortable lumbar pack that fits perfectly against the lower back. No complaints. Carrying capacity is also good allowing for at least one body and two lenses.

Final Verdict

As lumbar packs go, the Mountainsmith Swift FX is top notch. Comfortable, simple to adjust and with a hefty carrying capacity. If you’re looking for something in that class, you won’t be disappointed by the Mountainsmith Swift FX. Recommended.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to to Mountainsmith and Ingrid Niehaus PR for providing product for this review.