Why we like it
When fully loaded, this pack sticks to testers’ backs like a shadow.
This pack doesn’t compress down as small as others in the test, but the slim profile didn’t interfere with arm swing when one tester climbed Mt. Hood for an early-season splitboard ride off the summit. Ding: The fitted top hood is too small to fully cover overstuffed loads.
The 8.5-inch-tall collar opens the mouth of the packbag wide for easy loading of bulkier items like helmets and cookware, while the side zipper lets you grab extra layers from the bottom. Reinforced rubber on the side straps holds fat skis tight, and the big front compartment keeps quick-access items like rescue gear at the ready.
“Forty-five pounds was the sweet spot for this pack, though it performed well up to 55,” says a Utah tester who tallied 15 backcountry trips with the Rise Tour. Another tester noted that the pack was comfortable on just a baselayer—and chafe-free—even with heavy loads. We credit the stiff aluminum stays and firm hipbelt that moves with your body.
Eight palm-size foam pads—four on each side of the spine—help cushion heavy loads, but make for a swampy carry. “The raised pods create narrow channels, but my shirt still wetted out,” said a tester after splitboard touring on Washington’s Mt. Adams.