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Mountain Laurel Designs Hell 27

The lightest backpack of 2021

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Our take Disregard the unfortunate name: This pack is as weightless as angel wings. Thanks to a stripped-down feature set and ultralight materials, the Hell clocks in at just 11.2 ounces for the 3-ounce DCF version (it also comes in 210-denier ripstop nylon for $40 less), making it the lightest in test for its volume. Better yet, our fastpacking tester found the Hell’s ounce-counting didn’t eat into his comfort during all-day hikes in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Dinosaur National Monument: “There’s no padded backpanel, but the shoulder straps are wide and padded enough to be comfy, and they did their job with 15 pounds on board.”

The details Testers appreciated the minimalist layout, comprised of a main packbag, two external mesh pockets, a webbing hipbelt, and a 10-millimeter webbing top strap that doubles as both compression and a lashing point for layers. “This thing makes all other daypacks seem overbuilt,” one tester reports. (Extra features, like hip pockets and shoulder pockets, can be purchased separately for $15 each.) We found the DCF weatherproof and plenty durable—one tester used the Hell as a seat in redrock country and took it off-trail exploring in high desert canyons and found only scuffs on the mesh. One ding: Like a lot of suspensionless packs, this one isn’t breathable; in summer, you’ll sweat like a snowball in … oh.

unisex S/M and L/XL

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