High performance, low weight. If that’s what you covet, this is your pack. Testers loved this top-loader for big-load dayhikes or multiday outings with up to 35 pounds. When two of our crew participated in the 168-mile, 7-day Grand to Grand Ultra—a self-supported stage race in Arizona and Utah—they chose to carry the Helium. “It swallowed all of my gear at the outset, but with no big-pack weight penalty, so it felt light as a feather when my load dwindled,” says one. “The stiff framesheet efficiently transferred the load to the lightly padded hipbelt and shoulder straps. The suspension proved surprisingly comfortable for such a light pack, even during back-to-back 30-mile days.”
Tradeoff? To keep weight down while delivering the carrying performance and durability of a heavier pack, the Helium dispenses almost entirely with extraneous features. You get a clean, clutter-free design, with a spacious packbag, a full-length off-set zipper for easy access, a removable lid with plenty of space for maps and snacks—and nothing else. $199; 2 lbs. 6 oz.; 55 liters; 1 size each for men and women; bergans.com
Travel Pack sized to fit in modular spaces. Features: Full front panel load, Zip-away XACT Suspension, Central Lock Point secures bags main entry points with a single lock, detachable Rain Safe cover is waterproof for inclement weather and security, integrates with Pack-It. Modular Daypack: clipping system offers multiple carry options, Smart Travel Security organization with Secure-Zip toggle closure includes: Audio portal, fleece-lined electronics pocket, passport pocket, detachable key fob, pen slot. For city-to-city travel, train jumping and big adventures.