High Sierra Ascender 40 Backpack

This 40-liter, panel-loading pack is only $80.

Brand: High Sierra

Model: Ascender 40 Backpack

The average price for packs in this capacity range (according to our last two Gear Guides) is $178, which is why this 40-liter, panel-loading pack­—less than half that amount—initially turned our heads. But its performance kept us hooked.

It has a suspension robust enough to comfortably manage 35 pounds and capacity to hold a small tent, sleeping bag, and supplies for a weekend. Effective V-shaped compression straps morph it into a roomy daypack. $80; 3 lbs. 6 oz.; 40 liters; highsierra.com

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