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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Guide 2010: Backpacks

These packs allow hikers to travel fast and comfortably thanks to dynamic suspensions and weight-saving materials.

by: Steve Howe

Photo by John Burcham
Photo by John Burcham

best overall
Editors' Choice 2010: Arc'teryx Altra
heavy duty
Osprey Aether 70/Ariel 65 Weeklong Pack
load monster
REI XT 85/XT 75 Weeklong Pack
Mountain Hardwear Wiki 65/Nalu 60 Weeklong Pack
killer deal
Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10/60 + 10 SL Weeklong Pack
all-day comfort
Black Diamond Infinity 60/Innova 60 Weeklong Pack

Mammut Trion Guide 45+ Weekend Pack
most versatile
Mountainsmith Lariat 65+/Juniper 50+ Weekend Pack
most stable
Deuter Spectro AC 32/28SL
best ultralight
Granite Gear Escape AC 60/Escape AC 60 K Ultralight Weekend Pack
best all-around
Gregory Z55/Jade 50
killer deal
Kelty Lakota 4000 Weekend Pack

summit pack
Mountain Hardwear Fluid 32 Daypack
best hydration pack
CamelBak Vantage 35/Vista 32 Hydration Pack
best photo pack
ClikElite Nature 35 Camera Pack
tough and versatile
Marmot Eiger 40 XT Daypack
most comfortable
Black Diamond Nitro/Pulse Daypack

  PLUS: Measure Your Torso for a Perfect Backpack Fit
video icon Editors' Choice 2010: ARC'TERYX Altra Backpack
Backpack Shopping Tips

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Reader Rating: -


Jul 19, 2012

I would suggest a review on the Ivar brand packs. They have a patented internal design that makes them super unique - and comfortable and organizational. I was a North Face pack type of girl till I discovered Ivar. I've been a believer ever since.

Jun 08, 2010

I own at least nine packs, and not a single one of these brands. Oh course, mine are lightweight, and made in America. Five pound packs are so..........nineties.

May 24, 2010

I just bought one! I've used the Vapor Trail, and am super excited to test out he daypack (been looking for one forEVER to accomodate my long torso...

May 24, 2010

I just bought one! I've used the Vapor Trail, and am super excited to test out he daypack (been looking for one forEVER to accomodate my long torso...

Granite Gear Vapor Day Pack
Apr 22, 2010

The one I wish to see on the daypack list would be the Granite Gear Vapor Day. It is by far the most comfortable daypack I've ever carried! This is due to it's substantial suspension that you typically don't see in this size of a pack. Most packs I've noticed that are around the 2000cu in capacity have floppy or very thin diecut foam wastebelts that seem to do little. The Granite Gear's waistbelt is as substantial as it's larger siblings due to it's dual layered, dual density nature. Not only the waistbelt, but the shoulder straps are also dual density. Even the backpanel as dual density foam! Along with the plastic framesheet and the 2lb total weight, this pack carries like nothing else I've ever used. I've even used it on a week long desert trip, though I had to leave a few things home I usually take. Though I've never used the packs listed here in the daypack section, the Granite Gear seems to meet all of my criteria when it comes to a quality, comfortable, versatile pack. Best purchase I've ever made!


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