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
Built for the motivated woman who enjoys long walkabouts to secluded backcountry valleys, the 100% waterproof Maia 75 offers cavernous volume and an unparalleled carrying experience. Building upon our incredible Monoframe and Load Transfer Disc suspension, we added the speedy GridLock shoulder strap adjustment system for a perfect fit and improved comfort with heavy loads. A large top lid and roomy kangaroo pocket provides easy access to necessities.
• Double re-curved shoulder straps designed for the female form
• Women's specific hipbelt, styling and ergonomics
• RollTop™ closure
• Fully seam sealed
• Hydration bladder pocket
• Laminated map pocket
• Laminated molded AC² Fusion Points™
• Load Transfer Disc
• Monoframe backpanel
• Pigment dyed WaterTight zippers
• Radially formed Binary™ hipbelt
• Radially formed shoulder straps
• Removable WaterTight top lid
• Side access kangaroo pocket
• Six external compression straps
• Waterproof Hydroport™
• 3D shaping
• Full length vertical side zipper
• Gridlock adjustable shoulder strap suspension system