My favorites pieces of gear are typically multi-purpose, robust, simple, and effective. The Outdoor Research DryComp Ridge Sack is all these things.
The construction is extremely basic. It’s a 34-liter rucksack made of waterproof 70-denier nylon fabric with a roll top closure and welded seams. There are simple shoulder straps with a chest and waist buckle, although those are more for load stability than weight transfer. The pack bag has bungee cords, a narrow mesh stuff pocket, and security cords for up to two ice axes. The pack bottom is reinforced with tougher 420D nylon.
The DryComp Ridge designed as a secondary pack for summit days, but it’s actually significantly more versatile than that. On a recent trip to South Africa, it served perfectly as the single piece of allowed carry-on luggage, as well as the ideal pack for day hikes in Elephant Addo and Royal Natal National Parks.
The pack is comfortable with up to about 15 pounds, but don’t overload it! With no framesheet or real hipbelt and the simple simple shoulder straps, it’s just not up to the task. My one gripe is that there’s no good place for a hydration bladder or means to easily route a hose from inside the pack. The exterior mesh pocket can accommodate one, but having that much weight on the outside of the pack is rather ungainly.
Bottom line: This is a super versatile daypack that you’ll grab over and over again, whether it’s for a hike up a 14er, a globetrotting airplane stint, a rainy day bike commute to work, or as a daypack to carry inside your load monster on a big expedition. This thing’s a workhorse.