Brand: Mystery Ranch
Model: Big Mountain Backpack
“This is the Harley of big packs,” says one tester. “It’s completely kitted out, and the ride is heaven.” An aluminum perimeter stay and two vertical fiberglass rods (on the sides of the plastic framesheet) transfer the load directly to the hipbelt; a single horizontal center stay prevents Goliath-size loads from barreling out and pushing into your back.
Four V-pull compression straps keep big payloads tight and cinch the pack down to day-trip size. “I toted the pack into a High Sierra basecamp for a week-long trip, and, after I unloaded, carried it on summit attempts,” says one tester. Only gripe: It’s heavy.
In addition to a cavernous top opening, a vertical, 30.5-inch center zipper splays open the entire front of the packbag for easy rummaging. You can remove the toplid to save 9 ounces.