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
The largest of the new Muira Packs, this pack is sized for climbers who want all their gear inside the bag. The bottom of this convertible pack is designed to stow the new Arcteryx Pali Rope bag, and there is plenty of space left over for a double rack of gear, a score of quickdraws and a fistful of shoulder slings, climbing shoes, hydration bladder, lunch and outerwear.
Also in this series (not featured here):
Muira 30, 2136 cu in.
Muira 20, 1221 cu in.
NEW Spring 2008