Brand: Mountain Hardwear
“Ideal for summer weekends or an ultralight week,” wrote one tester. “Very comfortable, light, and easy to live out of,” said another after toting high-mountain overnight loads in Rocky Mountain National Park. After stuffing it with bulky, pointy group gear that would jab your back through the flimsy materials of many lightweight packs, testers lauded the supportive protection from the shaped and padded backpanel, which is easily customizable with bendable aluminum stays.
The hipbelt has twin mesh pockets, and a large zippered front pocket is compartmentalized for toys like avalanche probes or climbing skins. The quick-release side compression straps convert to carry snowboards or snowshoes, a feature all multisport packs should have. The lid pocket and hipbelt are strippable and combine to make a fanny pack for side trips and dayhikes. GoLite makes several capacities in very similar packs, but the reasonably priced Pursuit is a perfect match of harness support and payload capacity (up to 35 pounds). $150; 3,100 cu. in.; 3 lbs. Golite.comRemovable thermoformed framesheet creates a flat backpanel, effectively resisting round out and allowing the pack to ride closer to the body for better stability and comfort. Removable EVA backpanel pad provides comfort and protection. Signature fold top closure allows effective use with top pocket removed. Pack weight with top pocket, framesheet, and backpanel removed is about 1.5 pounds and allows alternative, user provided suspension using the inner backpanel pocket to contain a sleeping pad.
For expedition climbers and guides needing a large capacity ultra-light pack for rapid ascents, weekend climbers bagging peaks and doing alpine routes in fast and light style, and ultra-light backpackers intent on keeping it as simple and light as possible.