[little big pack]
Want a small-load workhorse for both around-town schlepping and fast-and-light adventures? This is it, says a Montana tester who used it for two weeks’ worth of hikes on Marshall Mountain and along Miller Creek, as well as biking and jogging all over Missoula. “It’s simple, light, and tough,” he says. “I beat the heck out of it, and I bet I could hang it on the store shelf and no one would be the wiser.”
Credit the minimalist design—nothing extraneous, just a main compartment that holds lunch and layers, and a zippered top pocket ideal for electronics—and durable 210-denier fabric. The slightly padded backpanel can handle loads up to 10 pounds, he says, and the webbing hipbelt and thin shoulder pads snug the weight close for running and scrambling.
And since there’s no structured frame*, it’s easy to squish the Speed Lite into a weeklong pack, then use it for short peakbagging trips while you’re basecamping. Caveat: One tester wished for a shove-it pocket for occasional overloading. Easy solution: The 20-liter version ($79) has a hybrid shove-it pocket that opens on the sides, plus a little extra space for bulky layers. $69; 13 oz.; 15 liters