Despite its name, the Everest is best for trips that are equal parts hostel-hopping and tent camping. Its design is a mash-up of features we like in luggage (ease of loading and organization, multiple entry points), and a trail-ready backpack (good durability, cushy suspension). After a trip to Africa to deliver supplies for an anti-malaria campaign, one tester declared the packbag “cavernous enough to hold bulky electronics, books, and even a watermelon.”
While trekking in the mountains above Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the same tester appreciated the weight transfer provided by dual aluminum stays while toting 50 pounds. “The load stayed on my hips even as I stumbled up and down steep, rocky trails slicked by goat urine and dew,” he says. For travel days, testers loved the front’s U-shaped zipper for stowing folded clothes flat.
The Everest’s lid converts to a daypack (or carry-on). The torso adjusts easily via a Velcro strip, but the harness design, combined with the pack’s tall profile (it towered up to eight inches above testers’ heads when filled to capacity), made the load tippy and prone to sway. This lack of stability and the pack’s above-average weight make the Everest best for on-trail, moderate-distance hikes. $150; 6 lbs. 1 oz.; 75 liters
See all backpack reviews from the 2011 Gear Guide