Gear Guide 2009: CamelBak Fourteener Review

Conquer all the fourteeners and beyond with this stable and well-ventilated pack.

Best All-Around

This well-organized top-loader offers great support and ventilation, thanks to a reinforced backpanel that uses four raised foam pads and a U-shaped lumbar pad to create an inch-thick airspace between pack and back. The shoulder harness swivels on a sliding, D-shaped track to adjust for shoulder width and slope.

The straps are padded enough that even 25-pound loads carry comfortably, and the minimalist hipbelt keeps the pack from swinging. You also get shoulder strap D-rings (always welcome for attaching camera gear), deep wand/bottle pockets, and an insulated (iced drinks!) hydration bladder sleeve that’s accessible even with a full load, thanks to a separate zippered compartment.

A pleated shovel pocket swallows clothes or climbing gear; a padded front pocket holds sunglasses or an iPod. Add the included (and standard-setting) 100-ounce reservoir, and you’ll enjoy one epic summit day after another, summer or winter. $125; 1,650 cu. in.; 2 lbs. 13 oz.

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