Hard on your gear? Challenge accepted. We threw everything we could at the Cholatse (the ND is the women’s version), but its reinforced stitching, minimalist profile, and 420-denier and 210-denier Robic ripstop nylon resisted both butt-slides through steep Colorado scree and bushwhacking in Alaskan scrub. “I put it through the wringer over six days of thrashing off-trail in Denali National Park, and it still looks brand-new,” reports one tester. The Cholatse’s suspension dealt with the rough terrain just as handily: An ergonomically curved, heart-shape aluminum frame transfers weight directly to the lumbar area via a form-fitting hipbelt. “The pack was stable and didn’t swing, which was important when I was scrambling up a 40-degree chute on all fours,” said one Colorado tester, who lugged 30 pounds over the Continental Divide. One ding: While we found the shoulder straps wide and padded, the minimally cushioned hipbelt chafed on one bony-hipped tester.
m’s M/L and L/XL, w’s S/M and M/L