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