Backpack Review: GoLite Perspective

An ultralight pack that can hold a sizable load.

Say "ultralight pack" to many longtime backpackers, and they'll picture a feature-poor, frameless rucksack that might as well be a grocery bag for all the support it provides. Not so with GoLite's newest and biggest model, which carves out a terrific niche between too-heavy and too-light packs. How does it do that? By going with a minimalist frame and featherweight packbag materials, but not skimping on the hipbelt or shoulder straps, which both have sufficient amount of stiffness and padding to handle sizable loads. Testers praised the Perspective's stability after scrambling through steep, off-trail terrain. "Weight transfer and stability is the best I've seen in this weight category," said one editor. "I had no trouble hauling 30 to 40 pounds over any terrain." A top-loader, the Perspective has two exterior storage pockets, a lid pocket, hydration sleeve, and mesh pouches that easily swallow liter bottles and snacks. The only catch: Lightweight materials aren't as durable, and the bottom of one of our test samples suffered a slight tear from sliding across slickrock.

Price: $200

Volume: 4,450 cu. in.

Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.

(3 sizes)