Your itinerary looks more like an adventure race than a hike? Get this pack, says one Colorado tester. “I could take it anywhere and carry gear for any activity,” he said after a six-day stint in the San Juan Mountains. He hauled 15 to 25 pounds of gear up Missionary Ridge and North Twilight Peak, and then nearly doubled that weight packing skis and an ice axe on 14,150-foot Mt. Sneffels. The suspension managed the heavy loads thanks to a stiff, supportive, Y-shaped frame. He gave the secure ski straps and ice axe loops high marks for being “absolutely bomber” and raved about the coated-nylon pack’s durability after it stood up to bushwhacking abuse on a fishing trip into Arizona’s Jackass Canyon.
High-stress and high-abrasion areas—like the bottom, hipbelt pockets, and ski straps—are reinforced with extremely rugged 600-denier polyester. There’s nothing fussy about the features: a simple top-loading compartment with a hydration sleeve and an exterior panel that fits an avy shovel. Bonus: The torso adjusts from 15 to 22 inches. Caution: Excessive loads overwhelm the hipbelt. One tester complained of bruised hipbones after carrying 35 pounds for three days. $140; 3 lbs. 2 oz.; 35 liters; 1 size; highpeakusa.com