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
Multi-day trips into the backcountry require substantial amounts of food and gear, and the Bora 65's thermoformed suspension system comfortably shoulders the extra load. With a larger volume kangaroo pocket, sleeping bag compartment, and full-length WaterTight side zipper, loading and finding gear is quick and easy.
Hydration bladder pocket
Double layered fabric bottom
Four external compression straps
Full length side zip
Interchangeable dual density shoulder straps
Interchangeable thermoformed hipbelt
Kangaroo pocket with drain hole
Laminated internal pocket
Sleeping bag compartment
Thermoformed back panel
Two external daisy chains, ice axe holders and water bottle pockets