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Gear Review: MontBell Super Expedition 90

The payload-to-weight-to-price of this pack is in a class by itself.
MontBell Super Expedition 90 (BP Photo Department)

[big and light]
The payload-to-weight-to-price of this pack is in a class by itself. One tester stuffed it with gear and goodies for a Christmas trek in the Grand Canyon with his family of five. “I had a 63-pound load on the hike down to Bright Angel,” he says (the park’s backcountry office is conveniently equipped with a scale). “It was almost hard to fill this bottomless pit, and the stiff, T-shaped aluminum suspension kept the weight from sagging, as can happen with packs this big.”

He says the hipbelt is a tad soft for such heavy loads, but that adjusting its wrap (each side moves on a Velcro panel) enhanced comfort considerably. Features are few, but six compression straps let you cinch down on smaller loads, and a big U-shaped front zipper provides access to gear (but only when the pack is horizontal). Check fit: Torso length isn’t adjustable (fits 19 inches and up), and another tester says the nonremovable lid hindered head mobility during scrambles on Flower Mountain in Alaska. $249; 4 lbs.; 90 liters

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backpack reviews from the 2011 Gear Guide

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