Get a lot of pack for a little money with the Manang. "I hauled more than 40 pounds on a 35-mile trip through the Wind River Range," said one tester, "and this top-loader performed way above its price range." How? The Manang's well-padded suspension includes shoulder straps with extra-cushy gel inserts, and the frame is plenty stiff for big loads, thanks to two aluminum stays and a rigid U-shaped tube.
The packbag is easy to load and organize, with a cavernous main compartment that has a vertical access zipper, lid and hipbelt pockets, and plenty of lashing options. Even more impressive: The mix of 840- and 420-denier fabric is bushwhack-durable, yet the pack is reasonably lightweight for the capacity. The catch? No sleeping-bag compartment, and the ladder-style, adjustable harness is not as stable as the best in this category. $180; 5,190 cu. in.; 5 lbs. 2 oz. Lafumausa.com
In hectic and hurried surroundings, rely on the organized assistance of the Blades to keep it all together. Thoughtfully designed for work and travel with side-load file and laptop compartments, a moulded grab handle and ballistic nylon toughness.
Padded laptop pocket (17 1/2"/44.5cm x 11"/28cm)
Dual density shoulder straps
One cell phone slot
One outside front pocket
One internal stash pocket
One top pocket
Side zippered access for files and laptops
Thermoformed back panel
Three pen holder pockets
Top and side grab handles
Two main compartments