Packing strategies change with hiking pace, but no matter how much we pushed the throttle, the Aerios 30 kept up. When we wanted to go fast—like on a postwork quick hit near Ouray, Colorado—two larger-than-average, stretch-mesh hipbelt pockets (one zippered) and four big pouches on the vest-style harness let us access snacks without stopping. When we had all day, the 30-liter capacity let us pack to enjoy the destination—we could fit a long camera lens, an elaborate lunch, or climbing gear (even a 70-meter rope) in the main compartment. Better yet, we could access our gear no matter the packing approach: A yawning, U-shape top zipper allows full access to the main packbag, which contains a shallow interior pocket for wallet and keys. On the outside, bungee lacing sits below another articulated pocket; we found that the pocket stayed roomy and accessible even when the pack was stuffed. The Aerios’s side pockets are shallow cups, and a bungee cord pulls a flap of fabric forward over a water bottle to hold it in place.
w’s and m’s, two sizes each