Helly Hansen Capacitor
Best organization of any large pack
Brand: Helly Hansen Gear Reviews
Suspension • 4.5
For mid-weight loads on long trails, look to the 65-liter Capacitor. Two steel rods in the frame run vertically from the top of the backpanel to the lumbar area, where they contour around the hips, transferring weight across the hipbelt. As one of the lightest packs in the test, the Capacitor shines for moderate loads up to 45 pounds. (That said, we were able to load it up to 63 pounds for a 38-mile trip through Denali National Park—with only slight shoulder soreness.)
Comfort • 3.6
Thanks to 3.5 inches of backpanel adjustability and mesh-wrapped EVA foam on the hipbelt and shoulder harness, testers reported zero chafing. The only complaint was breathability: “My back was soaked, even after hiking for just three hours in 50˚F weather in Chugach State Park,” our Alaska tester says. Blame the lack of a central channel in the backpanel; there are holes in the foam, but the panel lays flat against the back, eliminating any chance of air flow.
Features • 5.0
Testers loved the 12.5-inch-long vertical pockets on either side of the pack. “I was able to keep my thermos in one, so my hot tea was always accessible,” said one tester after a sleet-filled trip in mid-30°F temps in Denali. A roomy toplid (which fit a hat, gloves, and snacks), an internal hydration sleeve, dual hipbelt pockets, and a large zippered dorsal pocket (big enough for a day’s food, a bowl, and eating utensils) helped testers stay organized.
Durability • 3.7
The Capacitor’s PU-coated, 420-denier nylon Oxford fabric repelled light drizzle and deflected moderate scrapes with rock and vegetation, but it was no match for hard bushwhacking in Denali National Park. “After five days, the sides of the pack had several small rips from scrub birch,” explained one tester. (To be fair, so did everything else, including his skin.)