Model: Duthie A.M. 15
4.5 The 3-liter bladder locks into place with two hooks, which we found easier to use than the usual webbing-and-buckle system. The bite valve has the best flow of any pack we tested, and the hose unclips.
4.0 Lightly padded hipbelt wings and foam shoulder straps support loads up to 15 pounds. “The pack was stable and comfortable, even when I was jumping over creeks and climbing over deadfall,” says a tester who hiked in Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Ding: The backpanel didn’t fit testers with torsos longer than 18 inches.
3.5 In addition to a zippered front pocket and stuff pouch, there’s a microfiber sunglasses pocket. The packbag has six segmented sleeves for gear and accessories. The Duthie is also the only pack with a raincover. Ding: The stuff pouch’s four fussy buckles hinder entry.
4.7 The Duthie’s mesh trampoline backpanel was the best of any we tested. It sets the packbag 2 inches from your back, so there’s always airflow, yet no drop in stability. “My back stayed sweat-free during a hot hike through Petra, Jordan,” says one tester. Tradeoff: The backpanel pinches off the packbag at the top.