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Gear Guide 2009: Mountain Hardwear Koa 55 Review

Reach for snacks and extra layers with ease while wearing Mountain Hardware's Koa 55 backpack.
GG09 Mountain Hardwear Koa 55 445x260Mountain Hardware Koa 55 (www.sethhughes.com)

Easy Loader
Both male and female testers liked the comfort, stability, and practicality of these roll-top packs, which admirably hauled bulky ropes, climbing helmets, and camping gear up big Sierra peaks. The roll-top was well-liked for its easy access, weatherproofing, and crammable space. Thickly padded shoulder straps and a lightly reinforced hipbelt with dual pockets handled 40-plus pounds, while a mesh trampoline backpanel, stretched tightly between aluminum rods running around the pack’s perimeter, kept testers’ backs air-conditioned.

Two unique hidden zipper pockets sit on either side of the roll-top closure, offering quick access to small items–as long as you don’t squeeze the packbag down too hard. A stretch helmet pocket sits on the front, and bottom straps hold bulky sleeping pads. The huge wand/bottle pockets are easy to reach on the go, making this a good pack for folks who snack and layer frequently and on the move. Bonus: Testers could refill the hydration pocket with the pack closed, using a separate zipper compartment in the backpanel. Napali 50 is the women’s version. $190; 3,350 cu. in.; 3 lbs. 10 oz. Mountainhardwear.com

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