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
Keeping your gear dry with our Rolltop closure and revolutionary 420ACT material, the Maia 65 makes wet weather trekking more bearable. Designed for a woman's anatomy, the radially formed shoulder straps and binary hipbelt comfortably connect you to the pack, making big loads a breeze.
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
Six external compression straps
Gridlock adjustable shoulder strap suspension system