2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2012

Gear Guide 2012: Sierra Designs Discovery 30 Backpack

Keep air circulating with this highly ventilated daypack.

by: Nancy Prichard Bouchard

Sierra Designs Discovery 30 (Ben Fullerton)
Sierra Designs Discovery 30 (Ben Fullerton)

Pick a Pack
See all our 2012 backpack picks
[best ventilation]

The trails around Lake Tahoe are hot in the summer, but the highly ventilated framesheet and backpanel on the Discovery kept air circulating, even in triple-digit temps. We didn’t think it possible that a perforated framesheet could out-ventilate a trampoline-style back, but our testers discovered otherwise.
One tester hauled the Discovery over more than 80 miles of trail and up and down the crags at Lover’s Leap and Pie Shop. “I filled it with a full rack of climbing gear (35 pounds), which it handled comfortably and with no perspiration buildup. Later, I packed three gallons of water (for two dogs) plus food, a small bivy sack, and clothing for an ultralight overnight—and despite the hot day, I didn’t get a sweaty back.”

The ventilation comes from the supersized molded-foam fingers that wrap around the framesheet and force air into the small cavities. Also credit the removable molded hipbelt that slips under a raised lumbar support with ventilation grooves to boost airflow (and allow for a smooth, fitted wrap with superb load distribution). The molded plastic framesheet (with oval-shaped cutouts for even more venting) is flexible and light.

Our testers gave the pack bonus points for the lightly padded shoulder straps that can be easily adjusted for an extra inch of torso length. A single vertical DAC aluminum stay helps the pack bear weight vertically while still twisting and flexing in concert with your spine. Inside the roomy packbag is a single zip pouch for keys and phone. The outside features a stowaway rain cover, a stretch-mesh shove-it pouch*, and secure water bottle pockets that unfortunately aren’t accessible when you’re wearing the pack. $170; 2 lbs. 12 oz.; 30 liters;

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Steve C
Jul 11, 2012

Since this has the best ventilation, could you show both sides?


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Am I missing something here?
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: Ecocentric
Trailhead Register
This is my 1000th post
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: bigsilk

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions