Gear Review: Mountainsmith Lariat 65+/Juniper 50+ Weekend Pack

These Transformers-worthy packs sport convertible fanny packs and summit packs.

Most Versatile

These Transformers-worthy packs sport convertible fanny packs and summit packs. We tested every feature of these three-in-one haulers during a two-week family basecamp in Colorado’s San Juans. “They allowed us to haul in 50 pounds of gear, then downsize to hip-packs for exploring Chicago Basin and summit packs for climbing 14,059-foot Sunlight Peak,” says dad.

The panel-loader summit packs were a highlight for mom. “Full reservoirs fit nicely, and there was just enough room for layers, lunch, and a few essentials,” she says, adding that “even without a hipbelt they felt stable when we scrambled up scree and exposed ledges.” The adjustable torso lengths accommodated everyone (from 15 to 21 inches), comments load-hero dad, and thanks to the beefy load stabilizer straps, “I could shift most of the weight to my hips. It was very stable unless you stacked it high.”

However, slender mom wished for more padding on the shoulder harness of the women’s Juniper. Low-impact bonus: The fabric in both of these well-priced packs is made from recycled PET bottles. The only downside? The features make the pack a bit heavy for the capacity. $199; 4,275 cu. in.; 5 lbs.