Brand: Mountain Hardwear
This cavernous, 100-liter top-loader manages monster loads without any superfluous weight. It easily swallowed all of my gear and food for a 12-day gig on the PCT, and stability proved top-notch, even when I was scrambling and bushwhacking.
Credit the plastic framesheet with aluminum perimeter rod and center stay, which attaches firmly to the stiffened hipbelt and provides excellent load transfer, even when I schlepped 65 pounds—more than half my body weight! And after a few days, the hipbelt’s memory-foam padding molded to my curves for customlike comfort.
Thick shoulder straps held the load snug to my torso without rubbing or pinching. Nice touch: Plastic tubing on the zipper pulls is easy to grab with gloves on. $340; 5 lbs. 6 oz.(S); 3 unisex sizes; mountainhardwear.com.
Interchangeable Advanced FitLock Hipbelt. Extra thick dual density shoulder straps. Full HDPE framesheet with alloy perimeter rod and center stay (removable for lighter loads). Aluminum stay behind lumbar area gives hip compressor straps an active anchor point and effectively traps framesheet, improving load transfer. Compression molded backpanel sheds snow, provides comfort under heavy loads, resists abrasion, and ventilates. Very durable, bomber fabrics throughout. Light colored interior coating on black model. Full-wrap hideaway compression system creates wide range of possibilities for attaching gear to exterior of pack, without excessive loose webbing flapping everywhere. Multiple lower pack haul loops facilitate sled hauling systems. Signature fold top main compartment closure allows effective use with top pocket removed (for even more weight savings with lighter loads).
For expedition climbers and guides needing a large capacity pack for long or seriously cold weather trips, guide groups with a need for big packs to provide as rentals to clients, winter backpackers intent on keeping it as simple and light as possible, and outdoor education programs looking for simple, performance oriented packs.