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Bargain Load Haulers: Weekend Pack Review

High performance and low cost? These 6 weekend packs deliver.

Best for Climbers
Millet Prolight 45

If you want a tough, stable pack that’s uncluttered by extra pockets and organizing features, choose the Prolight. The single top-loading main compartment is free of internal dividers of any kind, so there’s no futzing while packing awkwardly shaped items. Testers hiked three days’ worth of supplies into Grace Camp in the Adirondack High Peaks, skied Mt. Marcy all day, then skinned and skied the challenging Benny’s Route Canal with fully loaded packs. Through it all, they praised the Prolight’s load control and comfort. A vertically rigid framesheet flexes side to side, and stayed glued to testers’ backs even when they twisted or reached while scrambling. Not surprisingly, the Prolight excels at carrying technical gear. Features include an ice axe harness that tucks picks out of the way, reinforced patches under cinching side straps that prevent ski edges from cutting the bag, and hipbelt gear loops for hanging climbing pro. Large webbing loops on the shoulder straps let you hang a camera or GPS, or use them as thumb loops if your hands swell from hanging down all day. It’s a tad heavy for a no-frills, relatively small pack (with a sewn-in top and the lowest capacity here, it’s best for weekend duty), but the weight pays off in durable materials and a solid suspension. Bottom line: For general backpacking duty, we’d like a little more organization, but for technical pursuits we wouldn’t change a thing. Reader service #104

> Capacity 2,745 cu. in.
> Sizes 1 unisex
> Weight 4 lbs. 1 oz.
> Price $150
> Info

Overall 3.7
Comfort 3.9
Loading 3.5
Stability 4.2
Durability 4.2

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