Our tester loved the "load and go" simplicity of this single-compartment pack. After a heavily laden overnight on the south slopes of Longs Peak, he reported "no pack-flop at all when I jumped rocks and creeks," and credited the shallow, back-hugging pack shape and suspension, which consists of a dual-density framesheet, twin aluminum stays, and closed-cell foam bivy pad. The framesheet, stays, and pad are all removable, so testers could beef up support or shave ounces, depending on the trip.
The thin, soft-flexing, removable hipbelt did a decent job of transferring weight, but like most climbing packs, the emphasis is on freedom of motion, low bulk, and easy high-stepping. Stripping all frame and hipbelt components trims almost two pounds.
The narrow packbag proved tight for bulkier sleeping bags, but quick-release compression straps and a front bungee net compensate. The top lid extends for high stacking, plus you get the usual gear loops and tool attachments. Bummer: no hipbelt or bottle pockets–although a hydration sleeve located in the top lid makes refilling easy, even with the pack loaded. $249; 3,661 cu. in.; 4 lbs. 4 oz. Arcteryx.com
This super-clean, lightweight alpine pack is large enough to move a camp uphill, but compresses tightly for a low-profile leading pack. Trimmed down to bear only the essential alpine features, the Khazri 55 has a supportive and strippable suspension system, modular ice tool holders, removable/floating top lid, and a removable thermoformed hipbelt.
Top loading Large removable top lid Removable dual density framesheet Emergency bivouac insulation pad Twin removable aluminum stays
Composite horizontal frame members Four side compression straps Removable hipbelt with thermoformed hip pods Removable webbing hipbelt with two injection moulded reversible/removable gear loops Laminated shoulder straps Two Axio ice tool holders Two modular ice axe keepers Hypalon reinforced pick sleeve
V-frame suspension Glove friendly snow-shedding buckles Lid hydration bladder pocket and hose port