Brand: Mountain Hardwear
Dense, heavy climbing gear can easily overwhelm a pack’s suspension—but the top-loading Trad made even a 40-pound load feel stable and secure. “Its uncluttered, low-profile shape makes it great for scrambly approaches and leading ice on New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch,” says our tester, who deemed the Trad his favorite not just for rock and ice climbing, but also for backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and general backpacking (up to three days).
The proprietary HardWave framesheet (with horizontal ridges that let it bend vertically, to conform to your back, but remain torsionally rigid for outstanding load support), paired with an aluminum stay in the center, keeps heavy loads from sagging or rounding out the backpanel. Wide ski straps made of ballistic nylon on the sides secure skis and stand up to sharp edges. Nice: The top can be opened and closed with one hand thanks to a smartly integrated cordlock that’s sewn to the pack, not the drawcord. “That let me keep my gloves on during frigid weather on Mt. Washington’s summit,” says our tester. $130; 2,150 cu. in./40 liters; 3 lbs. 9 oz.; mountainhardwear.com
Removable HDPE framesheet with perimeter alloy shaping rod for stability, protection, and customizable shape. Signature fold top main compartment closure allows effective use with top pocket removed. Full wrap, hideaway compression straps create versatile solutions for strapping on a wide range of gear. Ski loops.
For technically oriented multi-sport users looking for one pack to do it all- hiking, skiing, climbing, trekking, traveling, and for day hikers carrying larger/heavier loads looking for comfort.