Model: Redwing 36
All hikers love gear that outperforms its price point, and the Redwing does just that. One tester shouldered it on overnights to field stations in southeast Alaska as part of her job as an ecologist, and declared it “supercomfortable” even when maxed out with 30-pound loads; a spring-steel frame ably transfers weight to the padded hipbelt. Bummer: The water bottle pockets are too shallow to hold a one-liter Nalgene.
$100; 2 lbs. 9 oz. (m’s); one size each, m’s and w’s