Profile Heading into tight spots? The elliptical shape of this Dakine Poacher daypack keeps the load close to your body. On a ski-mountaineering trip to the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, our tester credited this low profile, along with tuck-away straps and a streamlined aluminum frame, for his safe passage through grabby trees and narrow gullies. “The pack felt as secure as a turtle shell, with no shifting or strap flapping,” he says. Bonus: Despite the low-bulk design, the Poacher is airbag compatible.
Durability Here’s a neat trick: By twisting a hollow-core yarn instead of a solid one, fabric makers created a 500-denier nylon that actually weighs less than the typical 400-denier variety, but still has the higher tear and abrasion resistance. And with 630-denier nylon in the highest wear zones, “it was like armor against sharp ski edges and pole tips,” says one tester.
Organization The fleece-lined goggle pocket has a partition for storing extra lenses. Bigger stuff, like layers and avy gear, goes in the two large main compartments via U-shaped zippers. Bummer: Testers wished for a separate skin pocket. 26 liters; m’s and w’s