CamelBak Vantage 30
Got a heavy load and a hot day ahead? Choose this well-ventilated hydration pack. “It’ll carry a load of rocks without digging into your spine, and my back barely got sweaty,” one tester reported after hauling 30 pounds while canyoneering in Utah. The key is the pack’s innovative backpanel, which supports eight floating mushroom-shaped plastic pads. Each pad rides independently against your back and the assembly is contained within a mesh pocket, so 2 inches of air-conditioned space sit between you and the packbag. The sack itself is smartly designed, with a cavernous shove-it pocket and the usual peerless CamelBak hydration system (price includes a 100-ounce reservoir). Try before you buy: Since the payload’s center of gravity is farther back than in a typical pack, you need to lean forward into the harness more, which may irk some hikers. $150; 1,600 cu. in.; 3 lbs. 5 oz.