The Marmot Walkabout Lumbar Pack is a mid-sized, all purpose gear bag that is as indispensable for urban adventures as it is for a day on the trail. Larger than a traditional “fanny pack”, this bag has a volume of 625 cubic inches (10.2 liters). It can be carried at the back with an adjustable, removable waist belt or as a sling bag with an adjustable shoulder strap.
I bought my Walkabout new for about $65 when working as a stage manager for a dance company in New York City. I needed a pack that would traverse the city easily, could carry everything from files to first aid kits and that wouldn’t become obsolete at the end of the five day gig. The Walkabout fit the bill and has been with me on every adventure since.
The pack has two storage compartments. The main compartment opens with a double zipper closure convenient for both left and right handed individuals. Measuring about 11.5 inches (29.2 cm) wide by 12 inches (30.5 cm) high and about 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) deep, the compartment has a full length mesh pouch that covers half of the back inside. The mesh’s elastic top band helps keep things organized on the inside and is perfect for stashing a journal or notebook. At the front top of the main compartment is a small zippered interior pouch with a key clip inside, the perfect discreet spot for stuff you’d really hate to lose.
The outer pocket measures about 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) wide by 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) high. The horizontal zipper for the compartment sits in the top third of the pocket and opens easily to access small, quickly needed items.
A padded handle sewn on the top of the main compartment is great for picking the pack up on a quick grab or for a short, comfortable carry. On either side of the handle are oversize d-rings for attaching the comfortable shoulder strap that can be used for extra support or as the pack’s main carrying device.
The pack is balanced on either side with a mesh water bottle pouch that keeps stuff double secure with an elastic cord lock and compression webbing. Each pouch will hold a standard size 1 liter water bottle or will adjust to hold just about any container securely.
When in use as an urban sidekick, I opt out of the waist belt which can be easily removed and sling the bag across my body with the shoulder strap. In this set-up, the bag rests comfortably at the lumbar back but can be easily swung to the side or front. Since its NYC debut, my Walkabout has easily adjusted to wilderness adventures as a true lumbar pack. The waist belt slides into a slot at the back of the pack and secures itself with hidden Velcro. It is an assembly of mesh, webbing and padding that works great when used with the Marmot Biospan load control system. The Biospan system sounds complicated but is simply a way to cinch the pack close to your back comfortably using adjustable straps. If heavily loaded, the pack can be top-heavy when worn with only the waist belt, but this can be offset by using the shoulder strap for extra support.
In addition to being well designed, the pack is well made. In the six years I’ve owned my Walkabout it has proven a dependable and pleasant travel companion. It has withstood live volcanoes, the Amazon Jungle, countless airplane jaunts and a bevy of urban adventures. I once thought to pass my trusted Walkabout to a photographer friend and buy a newer version. I quickly came to my senses and it remains my trusted sidekick.