Love the idea of a three-pound pack, but hate losing rigid support and organizing features to get there? Thanks to thinner than average webbing and buckles and a packbag made of wispy-thin Dyneema fabric (made of polyethylene fibers with long molecular chains, making it incredibly strong for the weight), the Nanon delivers no-compromise ultralight performance.
The suspension is slightly less substantial than the others here—it’s comprised of a single aluminum center stay and a foam-covered plastic backpanel—but a form-fitting hipbelt helps make it comfortable with loads up to 35 pounds. The pack attaches to the hipbelt only along its bottom edge, which leaves the belt’s top edge free-floating. The result: The hipbelt naturally cants to all hip shapes. After a trip over scrambly trails in Tennessee, one tester praised the superb fit of the belt and the stability of the back-hugging frame. (With loads above 35 pounds, testers reported that weight hung heavy off of their shoulders.)
Bonus: Torso length is simple to adjust; simply fold down the lumbar pad and fine-tune a color-coded webbing buckle. Multiple pockets provide effective organization. Molded plastic loops on the bottom of the packbag grab trekking-pole tips for secure storage. Bummer: The upper compression straps would be more effective if they were longer and had quick-release buckles.