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
This sleek, women's specific AC² pack has all the features and carrying capacity needed for overnight trip, and the 100% waterproof 420ACT fabric protects gear from moisture. The Maia's entire suspension system is ergonomically shaped for the female anatomy, and the rotating Load Transfer Disc allows unprecedented hip mobility and pack stability while moving through uneven terrain.
Double re-curved shoulder straps designed for the female form
Women's specific hipbelt, styling and ergonomics
Fully seam sealed
Hydration bladder pocket
Laminated map pocket
Laminated molded AC² Fusion Points
Load Transfer Disc
Pigment dyed WaterTight zippers
Radially formed Binary hipbelt
Radially formed shoulder straps
Removable WaterTight top lid
Side access kangaroo pocket
Four external compression straps