This streamlined go-getter smartly combines our favorite ultralight and traditional pack features.
The Perspective surprised us. It’s up to 3 pounds lighter than the other packs in the test, but its suspension handled nearly as much weight–35-plus pounds–in workouts ranging from 16-hour Adirondack days to off-trail scrambles in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness. The secret? A bare-bones suspension consisting of a curved plastic framesheet (easily removable for more ounce-shaving) and a wide, thinly padded hipbelt whose waiflike thickness belies its strength. Spacer mesh foam in the back and shoulder harness kept us cool all day.
The pack has more features than many ultralights, including decent compression (it cinches down to daypack size), a removable lid pocket, overlapping front compartments, and easy-to-reach side mesh pockets. On the downside, it didn’t swallow as much gear–despite its stated capacity–as the Osprey and Gregory packs did, and its pocket layout isn’t as useful. Three of five testers got a satisfactory fit from the unisex sizes, but the suspension doesn’t adjust, so fine-tuning is out. It’s also the only contender whose durability concerned us: Rough slickrock and Adirondack bushwhacking tore holes in the lightweight fabric, one zipper pull blew out, and the mesh pockets are vulnerable. It’s best for trail hiking with 25 to 35 pounds when your priority is minimizing weight.
Size: 4,450 cu. in.
Weight: 3 lbs. 6 oz.
Contact: (888) 546-5483; www.golite.com