4.1 The 3-liter reservoir’s circular mouth and wide shape—which facilitate its comfy lower-lumbar positioning—make it more difficult to clean than the envelope-style bladders found on all other packs here except the Gregory. The drinking tube unclips from the bladder for easy refills.
4.9 This pack from Camelbak has the most robust suspension of any in the test. An aluminum perimeter wire adds rigid support, and a compartment at the bottom of the packbag holds the reservoir at your hips, easing strain on your back. “I carried 3 liters of water, a growler, and gear—about 20 pounds—up Oregon’s 10,358-foot South Sister,” says one tester. “My shoulders and hips never felt sore.” Tradeoff: It’s heavy.
3.0 A large, U-shaped zipper that accesses the interior sits above a 2.5-liter stuff pouch, and compression straps over the packbag cinch down low-volume loads. However, testers deemed the exterior too crowded with straps, buckles, and pockets.
4.2 A trampoline-style frame kept air circulating over testers’ backs, and its gentle curve didn’t cramp the main packbag. The mesh straps and hipbelt feature pea-size perforations.