Brand: Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)
“Size it, strap it on, tighten it, and forget about it. With this hauler, it’s as simple as that,” said one tester after carrying 40 pounds on a partially off-trail, 65-mile circuit in New York’s West Canada Lakes Wilderness. All testers found the 65-liter capacity conservative. “I could carry a week’s load easily,” says one who carried 47 pounds into Washington’s Goat Rock Wilderness. And he says the suspension—nothing fancy, just good load transfer and a well-padded hipbelt—was up to the task.
The foam backpanel slides vertically along two aluminum stays to fit torsos from 15 to 19 inches; it secures with large Velcro swatches that hold without a hint of slipping, eliminating the need to microadjust throughout the trip. The large torso range makes it ideal for growing teens, the pack’s target audience, but one 50+ tester called it his favorite pack ever, proving that great designs have no age limit. Organization is big-load friendly: A large exterior pocket swallows extra layers, two pockets in the lid keep small items from sloshing around, and a full-length waterproof side-zip enables easy access. The burly nylon packbag fabric never frayed despite getting dragged through dense stands of pines and up a class 4 drainage.
Ding: The mesh side pockets are too loose to hold water bottles securely. $149; 4 lbs. 9 oz.; 65 liters