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
For gear intensive day trips our smallest Bora is a master jack-of-all-trades, and is loaded with practical features such as a removable top lid, stowable water bottle holder, and wand pocket. Equally adept at skiing, hiking, cragging or hauling groceries the rugged Bora 35 does it all with comfort.
Double layered fabric bottom
Four external compression straps
Dual density shoulder straps
Hydration bladder pocket
Kangaroo pocket with drain hole
Laminated internal kangaroo pocket
Removable stowable lid
Thermoformed back panel
Two external daisy chains
Two ice axe loops and holders
One water bottle holder
One wand pocket
5cm/2" webbing hipbelt